Friday, September 6, 2019
Arthur MillerÃ¢â¬â¢s, A View From The Bridge Essay Example for Free
Arthur MillerÃ¢â¬â¢s, A View From The Bridge Essay Arthur MillerÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬ËA View From The BridgeÃ¢â¬â¢ is a great play set in the run down area of Brooklyn, New York, a community in Red Hook, during the 1950s. It explores the themes of justice, unnatural love, codes of society and respect. The play focuses on the jealousy the protagonist, Eddie Carbone, exerts towards his wifeÃ¢â¬â¢s illegally immigrated Italian cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, due to his passionate feelings for his own niece, Catherine, consequently ending with his life. The key events of the play are all very reasonable and typical in reflection to the time it was written. The disastrous aftermath of World War Two and the Great Depression left people with one dream; the American dream. To escape their less economically developed country and lead a better life many travelled to America. Italians suffered most excruciatingly hence it is they who went through mass migration, but lead it a better life they did not. Confrontation with suspicious Americans and intense hardship only crippled their self-esteem and lead them to be more independent. In Ã¢â¬ËA View From The BridgeÃ¢â¬â¢ we witness how this period of time effected and shaped the behaviour of characters in the play. Arthur Miller uses Alfieri to make the play much easier to understand and enjoyable for us, the audience. In this essay I am going to analyse how exactly this has been done. Arthur Miller cleverly uses Alfieri in a number of ways. Alfieri is the narrator; Alfieri plays a character; and Alfieri is a good example of what some call a Greek Chorus. He is our narrator and plays the role of an Italian-American lawyer which makes us expect his words to be truthful. Alfieri also very effectively helps distinguish scenes, expand on characters and make the play more explicit, just as a Greek Chorus would do in old Greek tragedies. Doing this allows us to understand and follow up on the play, its themes and events. Ã¢â¬Å"Ã¢â¬ ¦In Sicily, from where their fathers came, the law has not been a friendly idea since the Greeks were beatenÃ¢â¬ ¦Justice is very important hereÃ¢â¬ : AlfieriÃ¢â¬â¢s opening monologue, Act 1; he is the Greek Chorus. Alfieri gives us some background information on Red Hook and its neighbourhood, allowing the audience to form an impression on the characters and their morals. Having knowledge on the circumstances explored in the play, what with the illegal immigration, this line in the monologue can infer one of two things: the Italians in Red Hook cannot turn to the law because they are illegal immigrants, or the Italians will not turn to the law due their lack of trust as a result of their Italian customs. Either way, since turning to the law is never going to be the answer, the obvious way to gain justice is for the law to be taken into the peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s hands. Knowing this helps us, the audience, understand why certain events take place later on in the play. We understand Marco is an immigrant and therefore understand why he uses violence to enforce justice against Eddie for his actions. The theme of justice is introduced here. Eddie CarboneÃ¢â¬â¢s death at the end of the play came as no surprise to us all. Alfieri had already told us from the beginning that he sat there and Ã¢â¬Å"watched it run its bloody courseÃ¢â¬ ¦this oneÃ¢â¬â¢s name was Eddie CarboneÃ¢â¬â¢Ã¢â¬â¢. Eddie Carbone will die, but in no ordinary way; he will be murdered which we can indicate from Alfieri mentioning Ã¢â¬Å"bloody courseÃ¢â¬ . Alfieri put great emphasis on the fact that the people of Red Hook take justice into their own hands in his opening monologue which, if we put two and two together, must mean that EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s blood will be spilt for oneÃ¢â¬â¢s justice. This time Arthur Miller uses Alfieri to really hook, and keep us hooked, in the play. Us knowing that Eddie will be murdered before it actually happens means that we, the audience, know more than the characters. Throughout the play, no matter what turn of event takes place, we know that EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s death is inevitable. This creates a very interesting and suspense atmosphere as we are eager to find out how exactly each characterÃ¢â¬â¢s action leads up to the death; how EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s own actions may have a huge impact on Marco feeling compelled to end his life. The theme of unnatural love is also first made clearer to us through the use of Alfieri and his unveiling of EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s true inner feeling for Catherine, although Eddie himself denies such possibility which is typical of longshoremen, or men generally, of the time; expressing your emotions just wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t a masculine thing to do. Alfieri claims that Eddie has Ã¢â¬Å"too much love for the nieceÃ¢â¬ , which makes EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s resentment towards Rodolpho understandable to us. Why Eddie opposed CatherineÃ¢â¬â¢s relationship with Rodolpho was at first quite inexplicit, with many of us assuming it was just the possessiveness of an uncle, but Arthur MillerÃ¢â¬â¢s use of AlfieriÃ¢â¬â¢s, again as a Greek chorus, makes the play more understandable, and not only that, it also enhances the dramatic factor of the play; we know Eddie will die at the end of the play and are now interested to know how his feelings for Catherine will play a part in his tragic death. In Act 1 Alfieri and Eddie both highlight the codes of the society of Red Hook, made due to the mistrust in the law. Eddie outlines the consequences of snitching on the immigrants whilst Alfieri explains to us that the immigrants will take the law into their own hands. When Eddie is on the verge to call the immigration Bureau later in Act 2 Alfieri tells him he Ã¢â¬Å"wonÃ¢â¬â¢t have a friend in the worldÃ¢â¬ , reminding Eddie and us that the society will destroy him if he informs because he is going against their codes of society. Here Alfieri, in spite of being a lawyer who should support the law, is trying to prevent Eddie from making a huge mistake. Alfieri is an American lawyer from an Italian background which is why he is aware that if Eddie goes along with his actions then he will have the society to answer to. We trust Alfieri, a lawyer to be a good judge of character and rational, because he is professionally detached. However, with Eddie he has a slight connection which he mentions in his opening monologue: I had represented his father in an accident case some years before, and I was acquainted with the family in a casual way. When Eddie did call the Immigration Bureau, Alfieri and the audience know that EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s actions were against the codes of society and citizens of the time would not abide by the law, no, they will enforce their justice though violence. However despite being aware of this, Alfieri offers a different opinion on the codes of society to Marco. Ã¢â¬Å"To promise not to kill is not dishonourableÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"Only God makes justiceÃ¢â¬ . This makes the play very much more dramatic because on one hand Alfieri goes against the law advising Eddie not to snitch, and on the other hand Alfieri goes against the codes of society by telling Marco not to kill Eddie. This adds to the dramatics because we know that AlfieriÃ¢â¬â¢s attempts to prevent EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s death will fail, he himself mentioned being Ã¢â¬Å"powerlessÃ¢â¬ , so we continue to watch whether Marco listens to Alfieri or does go out to kill, sticking by his Italian customs. In addition, I think that Arthur Miller has decided to make one character go against the law and the other by the law to show that both the law and a personÃ¢â¬â¢s morale can be wrong Ã¢â¬â the law is not always correct and neither is a personÃ¢â¬â¢s judgement of what is right and wrong. This too makes it dramatic as the audience can now question themselves whether the steps taken by each character was right or wrong. The portrayal of Eddie Carbone in the play is, without a doubt, negative. His unnatural feeling for Catherine, his horrible behaviour towards Rodolpho and his betrayal to the cousins forces us to dislike his character. However, to conclude the play, Arthur Miller decides to express AlfieriÃ¢â¬â¢s sympathy for Eddie to shape our final impression of him, leaving us confused as to whether Eddie was a heroic character or a villain. Ã¢â¬ ¦even as I know how wrong he was, and his death useless, I trembleÃ¢â¬ ¦something perversely pure calls to me from his memoryÃ¢â¬ ¦for he allowed himself to be wholly known and for that I think I will love him more then all my sensible clientsÃ¢â¬ . Alfieri does not stop liking Eddie because he understands what he was like. He is suggesting to us that although we recognise EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s actions as immoral and wrong, perhaps we should delve deeper into what provoked Eddie to commit the crimes he did. His love for Catherine, while wrong, is pure, so should he have been punished by death? But maybe if he had listened to Alfieri and compromised with Catherine and RodolphoÃ¢â¬â¢s relationship none of this would have happened. Alfieri had repeated many times, as well as in his closing monologue, that it is Ã¢â¬Å"better to settle for halfÃ¢â¬ ; making compromises is best. This is the very meaningful message Arthur Miller portrays to us through Alfieri throughout the play. To conclude, I believe Alfieri, despite not taking much part in the action, has a very vital part in the play. He is, metaphorically speaking, the bridge in the play, who has been distinctively used as a viewpoint of the story. Without him we would have been left clueless after watching the play as it is he who fills in all the gaps and answers all the unanswered questions lingering in our minds. He also raises suspense in the play like no other, enhancing our enjoyment. When Eddie is on the urge of calling the Immigration Bureau Alfieri, despite being a lawyer who should support the law, discourages Eddie from proceeding with the call. You wonÃ¢â¬â¢t have a friend in the world, Eddie! Even those who understand will turn against you, even those who feel the same will despise you! Ã¢â¬ He reminds Eddie and the audience that the society will destroy him if he informs because he is going against the codes of society. Alfieri is knowledgeable on these codes of so opposes the law as he does not want Addie to make this mistake probably because he is becoming too attached to EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s story as he offers a different opinion on the codes of society to Marco. To promise not to kill is not dishonourableÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"Only God makes justiceÃ¢â¬ . Both Alfieri and the audience know that EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s act was against the codes of society and in the society of the time Eddie will be punished though violence as this is the only way Marco, an Italian immigrant, will obtain his justice, based on the fact that the Italians did not trust the law. But yet Alfieri went against the codes of society by telling Marco not to kill Eddie, whilst on the other hand he goes against the law advising Eddie not to inform. This make the play more dramatic because the audience know that AlfieriÃ¢â¬â¢s attempts to try and prevent EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s death will not have worked, reinforcing that he is powerless, so they continue to see how Eddie dies. Also I think that Arthur Miller has decided to make one character go against the law and the other by the law to show that both the law and a personÃ¢â¬â¢s morale can be wrong Ã¢â¬â the law is not always correct and neither is a personÃ¢â¬â¢s judgement of what is right and wrong. This too makes it dramatic as the audience can now question themselves whetehr the steps taken by each character was right or wrong. He doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t stop liking Eddie, because he understands what he was like. He mourns Eddie, but with alarm, because he knows it will happen again. Alfieri is the voice of reason amongst great chaos, but chaos wins, probably because of the tense situation. I confess that something perversely pure calls to me from his memory. To what extent is it possible to feel sympathy for Eddie? Consider in your answer the part played by the Italian community in his behaviour. When Alfieri concludes his feelings at the end of the play, he is suggesting to the audience that although we recognize Eddies actions as immoral and wrong, perhaps we may still be able to sympathise with him. In order to answer this, we have to delve deeper into what provoked Eddie to commit the crimes he did, which ended eventually in his own death. At the beginning of the play, Miller wants us to recognise just how good a man Eddie can be. With his Arthur Miller ends the play in a dramatic and thought provoking way. The audience question whether Eddie deserved to die or not. All Eddie had done is fallen in love, perhaps with the wrong person, but love is a pure emotion that cannot be controlled. EddieÃ¢â¬â¢s feelings lead him to call the immigration Bureau but he was not in the right state of mind as he himself was confused about his feelings for Catherine co should he have been punished by death? Arthur Miller uses Alfieri to close the play portraying a meaningful message, a phrase which he repeats many times; Ã¢â¬Å"And yet it is better to settle for halfÃ¢â¬ . Making compromises is best. Being greedy can be regretful so it is better to be happy with what youÃ¢â¬â¢ve got than risk your life for more. Although Alfiieri does not take much part in the action, he has a vital role in the play. He is the narrator, the lawyer and the mediator (he tries to keep the peace). He is, metaphorically speaking, the bridge in the title. He is separate from the main action so could be described as looking down on it. He also links the Italian American community with America itself in terms of its laws which do not necessarily reflect traditional Italian views on justice. Significantly by the title Ã¢â¬Å"A view from the bridgeÃ¢â¬ , this is indeed exactly the role of AlfieriÃ¢â¬â¢s character. Miller uses distinctively the character of Alfieri as a viewpoint of the story , something he does in a very elegant and dynamic way. In conclusion, AlfieriÃ¢â¬â¢s role within this play makes it entertaining, enjoyable and easier to understand for the audience. I believe that without Alfieri the play would not have binded well therefore the audience would not have had a good understanding. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s like having a building without its foundation. Arthur MillerÃ¢â¬â¢s use of Alfieri managed to draw in the audienceÃ¢â¬â¢s attention, build up suspense at the beginning of the play, make it clear why certain events took place and why characters behave the way they do, so I think that without Alfieri, Ã¢â¬ËA View From The BridgeÃ¢â¬â¢ will be meaningless and confusing to watch.