The Role of Alfieri in A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller

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The Role of Alfieri in A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller

In Miller’s ‘A View From The Bridge’, Alfieri holds a vital role. He opens and closes the play, distinguishes between the two acts and in general keeps the audience up to date with the play’s swift pace, providing us with an inside understanding of the events which take place. What is interesting about Alfieri’s role is that he acts not only as a chorus for the play, but that he also partakes in the proceedings as a character within the performance.

There are clear biographical links between the playwright, Arthur Miller’s life and ‘A View From The Bridge.’ Miller himself was the son of immigrants living in New York in 1915. For
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This is added to by Alfieri who informs the audience of the play’s tragic outcome at the very start and mentions how “powerless” he felt to watch it “run its bloody course”. The result of this is a feeling of catharsis – as an audience we are moved to pity by the death of one of the characters. For the audience it is very easy to relate to Eddie and feel sympathy for him because Miller portrays him as a normal, sincere, working-class man facing the same everyday struggles as most people. He comes across as very genuine and not afraid to let himself be “wholly known”; people are able to feel pity for him rather than considering him a sick pervert because it is clear throughout the play that although Eddie undoubtedly has an unhealthy obsession with his niece Catherine, he cannot see how it appears to other people. He truly thinks that he is doing the right thing and simply looking out for his niece as any father would, he is appalled when anyone suggests to him that his fixation with Catherine is not normal, he genuinely doesn’t “know what” Alfieri is “talkin’ about” when Alfieri hints at Eddie’s infatuation.

What links ‘A View From The Bridge’ specifically to traditional Greek tragedies is the use of Alfieri as a chorus. In ancient Greek tragedies a chorus was extremely common – a narrator who foresaw
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