By stating in his opening speech of the play ‘Justice is very important here,’ Alfieri opens the audiences minds to relate justice back to all the events in the book that occur. Throughout the play Arthur Miller shows the importance of justice mainly through Eddie and Marco’s behavior, building up to Eddies tragic death. Through Alfieri’s first speech, Miller allows the audience to acknowledge that in America they ‘settle for half. ’ This is explaining the way that Eddie sees justice, but also how Marco, who is from Sicily, would see justice and these differences.
This quotation is implying that whatever justice means to the Americans it means more to the Italians. This is foreshadowing the end of the play as it links to Marcos thirst for revenge on Eddie. At the end of Act One, Miller subtly suggests the idea of justice through Marcos defensiveness over his brother and also Eddie’s actions towards Rodolfo. After Eddie hits Rodolfo the audience gets the feeling that he feels this is justice for Rodolfo leading Catherine away from the life Eddie wanted her to have. This is emphasised by Eddie’s use of the word ‘Danish’ to describe Rodolfo.
By using this as a nickname Miller is trying to access the point that Eddie is trying to isolate Rodolfo from the Italian community and also their family. The true sense of justice in this scene however, comes from Marco who ‘raises the chair over his head’. This is a clear sense of warning implied by Marco, which is clearly registered by Eddie, ‘Eddies grin vanished. ’ This, to Marco, is a feeling of justice coming to Eddie for trying to make either him of his brother feel like they don’t belong. While also foreshadowing what will happen at the end of Act 2. Miller highlights justice as one of the most important things in Eddie’s life.
However, he leads the audience to enquire whether Eddie’s desires are truly ‘just’. What Eddie wants is his honour and his name but also Catherine. ‘Marcos got my name. ’ He also wants his respect back from Marco, which he has completely lost by the actions his inappropriate feelings for Catherine have caused him to take. In the structure of a Greek tragedy that Miller is trying to create Eddie plays the protagonist. It is his conflict between his good quality’s and the gradually rise of his bad ones that force the drama forwards with both Eddie and Marcos need for justice.
The importance of justice shown in the play comes to a drama filled end with Marco finally getting the justice he believes he deserves. The end of this play was foreshadowed when Marco stated, ‘all the law is not in a book. ’ By saying this Miller has implied to the audience that Marco believes it is his duty to bring Eddie’s life to an end, ‘in my country he would be dead by now. ’ He also brings in the claim felt by Marco of natural justice and how by disregarding the respect Marco feels for Rodolfo, ‘my brother, my blood,’ Eddie has lead himself in to the situation where he is nothing more than an ‘animal’ who deserves to die.
In conclusion, throughout the play Miller implies the theme of justice as the most prominent and important theme of the play. It is one of the only things Marco and Eddie have in common, in the way that they both search for it and in the end it finished with Eddie dead and Marco being sent back to Italy. In the final scene Miller shows the audience that though you may gain the justice you sought out for like Marco, ‘Eddie falls to his knees before Marco,’ it may be the thing that leads to a characters downfall, in which it did with both Eddie and Marco at the end of this play.