Character and plot Essay
Character and plot
Discuss the ways in which Arthur Miller uses the characters of Alfieri to highlight cultural differences and to develop the audience’s understanding of theme, character and plot. Arthur Millers ‘A View from The Bridge’ uses a character called Alfieri to introduce characters, the plot and theme of the story. Alfieri is an Italian American meaning he was born in Italy and immigrated to American to work. . He is a man of his 50’s and in this story, not only does he play the role of a character, but also a narrator.
He makes us aware of the cultural differences between American and Italian culture through his opinions. He works as a lawyer; from this we can immediately tell he is educated and very wise. The immigration law changed in 1921-1924. This law only allowed people from Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia to migrate to America. This resulted to illegal immigration. ‘A view from the Bridge’ is about the movement of immigrants migrating from Italy to America. They moved because of the ‘American Dream’s which was people from other countries going to America to start a new life and earn a good living full of opportunities.
The Italian migration happened mainly between 1820-1920. More than 4 million Italian people moved to America. Brooklyn Bridge and its surrounding areas are used as the setting of the play. The word Gullet is used by Alfieri to describe the place where they live. The word is a metaphor and it creates an atmosphere that is not very pleasant to live in. Alfieri’s first speech introduces the background information of Italians. Italians would hardly ask a lawyer for help because in Italian culture lawyers are not good news, they are considered to be connections to disasters.
The honest and trustworthy Italians can be quite revengeful. They solve their own situations by taking matters into their own hands. Although Italians are settling into America their two cultures remain diverse. Repetition of the words Distrust, Law and Justice by Alfieri signifies them and the even suggests that the plot is based on these words. Alfieri understands both Italian and American culture and can conclude in his last speech how he feels about Eddie and what he has done.
From the start Alfieri hinted that the ending of the play wasn’t going to be a happy one. He says “… and sat there as powerless as I, and watched it run its bloody course. ” From that, we can sense doom and that is why this play is a Greek tragedy. Eddie, Catherine, Marco use a lot of slang type sentences where as Alfieri uses long, well punctuated and sophisticated sentences. This linguistic technique makes the audience understand what is happened if they do not follow what Catherine, Eddie, Beatrice, Marco and Rodolpho are saying.
The use of short, simple sentences spoken by the other characters makes the situation more realistic, makes the audience awake because it is very fast and the characters speak more often. Arthur Miller also uses a lot of exclamation marks so that the sentences are more interesting and so that the actors know when to shout or act exaggerated, this is a very good technique. With the use of exclamation mark the sentence gets energy. There is more attention than if there were long sentences. In the play there are four main characters. Eddie (a protagonist), Catherine, Beatrice and Alfieri.
Eddie, a protagonist, meaning that he commits an offence without knowing it; he then learns his fault and usually results in death or suffering. He gains Alfieri’s sympathy towards the end of the play. Eddie loves Catherine not only as a niece but also as a daughter and a friend and Alfieri knows this. Eddie was over protective and loved Catherine too much which proved to be fatal. Alfieri knows that Eddie does not want to any one to take her away from him, but on the other hand, she does not belong to him. He says “And yet, it is better to settle for half, it must be!
” Marco kills Eddie in Act 2. We do not know if he intended to or if it was for self-protection but in a way, this is revenge. When he was talking to Alfieri, he says “In my country he would be dead by no. He would not live this long. ” Alfieri understands how he feels but tells him not to kill. He is in America right now and such a deed can result to a life sentence. He says “To promise not to kill is not dishonourable. ” Italians are not as civilised as Americans but this is one of the cultural differences between the two diverse cultures.
Arthur Miller includes many stage directions leaving the director making up more of their own directions. Alfieri plays the part of a character and a narrator making him “A view from the bridge” because he is looking and dealing with the situation and also telling the story as if it happened yesterday, this helps him to tell the story and give opinions making the audience aware, have a better understanding of the play, the characters and the plot. The moral of this story suggested by Alfieri is “we should be satisfied with half if not the whole amount. “