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Discuss the function of Alfieri in A View from the Bridge. 

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ruby1 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 22, 2009 at 2:15 AM via web

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Discuss the function of Alfieri in A View from the Bridge

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sherif1993 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted May 18, 2009 at 3:25 AM (Answer #1)

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After Eddie, Alfieriis the most important character in the play. His role is similar to that of the chorus of the Greek tragedies as he narrates, comments, and sometimes participates in the play. Although he is wise but he was unable to prevent Eddie's Betrayal to his family. He had said so,"being an intelligent man, he was so powerless to stop the tragedy". He is the first who opens the play by discussing how law is important in America. In Italy, there was no law to protect them therefore they took their revenge with there own hands.

Alfiere is a good lawyer as well as a rational judge of people. And professionaly detached himself (Emotionally as his family had advised him), and views situations from the bridge. He advises Eddie many times to settle for half and let Catherine go, all Eddie can do is "bless her".

He gives details on time, date, and place thus filling gaps between scenes. He skillfully weaves his opinions while throwing in a description on characters. It is obvious that he knows Eddie from before as he "presented his father in an accident case some years before" thus having some acquaintance with the family.

Alfieri is the voice of reason as he warned Eddie that he better settle for half or he wouldn't have a friend in the world. He is Arthur Millers Mouthpiece therfore he makes us understand, Condemn, Admire and Forgive Eddie on what he had put himself into due to his oversexuality that he had no control over.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 17, 2012 at 4:52 PM (Answer #2)

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Alfieri functions as the chorus of the play, commenting on the action and the characters carrying out the action, but ultimately set apart and serving as a medium between the audience and the action of the play. 

...it is Alfieri’s view that defines the action of the play and its unfolding.

Alfieri opens and closes the play with a poetic monologue that functions as a frame story. Within the context of the play, he narrates certain sections to show that time has moved on and also serves as a moral sounding board (almost like an oracle) when Eddie finds himself as a moral crossroads. 

Though Alfieri is unable to change the course of Eddie's behavior, it is his role to explicate this behavior, communicating the meaning of the play's tragedy to the audience. 

Alfieri serves as spokesperson for all as he delivers the final monologue, bringing the tragic tale to a close.

Without Alfieri, the play's thematic and formal connections to the plays of ancient Greece would not be clearly articulated. Alfieri then functions as a chorus, a narrator, and a formal link between Miller's inspiration and his own work.  

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