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A View From The Bridge: To What Extent Can The Play Be Said To Be About Competing Notions Of Justice?

1356 words - 5 pages

A View from the BridgeArthur Miller creates a contrast between the different values and attitudes of all characters in A View from the Bridge. They are two competitive notions of justice. Justice can be defined as: ‘fair treatment, being just. A legal proceeding’. A View from the bridge was originally produced in 1955. The play was set in the 1950’s, and focuses on a family in Red Hook, Brooklyn. This area is a Sicilian niche and everybody knows everybody.The main character is Eddie Carbone, an Italian-American longshoreman who loves with his wife, Beatrice and his niece Catherine. Marco and Roldolpho: Beatrice’s two cousins who enter the country illegally from Sicily, stay with them for a good majority of the play. Roldolpho is young, good looking and single. He sings, dances, and is very charming. Catherine instantly falls for him. This move by the two characters causes the conflicting feelings inside Eddie to emerge. He is selfish, and goes against his own beliefs, pursuing an incestuous desire.Alfieri, the narrator of the play, and a family friend of the Carbones, is a wise attorney who dispenses legal advice to Eddie. He is the opposing argument to the Sicilian morals, and tries to warn Eddie of his hasty decisions. Each time a character sets foot inside his office, a conflict can be seen between the two different forms of justice.The moral Sicilian values are a strong part of the Italian culture that the migrants bought with them to America. These laws are strongly abided by, yet they remain unwritten. The laws encapsulate one main value- loyalty. Loyalty to your family most importantly, and being truthful. Keeping strong family ties is also important. Family is always put first, and if their trust is betrayed in any way, there is turmoil. The punishment was usually physical, very violent- with no holding back. Personal vendettas are good enough reasons for people to lose their lives.Of course, this behavior is condoned by no law no, or in the 1960’s. The police do not take into account emotions; they work on equality and democracy. Vengeance is simply no excuse for physically abusing someone. For example, when a boy betrays his family by ‘snitching’ to the authorities about his uncle, Beatrice tells Catherine the story. ‘They grabbed him and pulled him down the stairs- Three flights his head bouncin’ like a coconut. And they spit on him in the street- his brothers and father.’ This shows the laws enforced by the Sicilian values come above that of the American laws.Miller constructs the main character Eddie, as the main source of conflict between the two forms of discipline. He demonstrates many sincere personal attributes, such as helping raise his niece Catherine. Eddie gives up his house to accommodate his in-law relatives he has never met before. Marco and Roldolpho are both very gracious and thank him dearly. ‘I would be honored to lend a place [For the immigrants Marco and...

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