A View From the Bridge

by Arthur Miller

Start Free Trial

Alfieri tells us in the opening sequence of the play that events will run “their bloody course.” How does Miller use language, form, and structure to present the outcome of A View from the Bridge as inevitable?

In A View from the Bridge, Miller presents the outcome as inevitable by using Alfieri to provide a framing structure and fulfill the function of a chorus. Eddie and Marcos’s conflict involving physical strength foreshadows their final confrontation. Alternation between poetic, formal speech and prose in the Brooklyn vernacular emphasizes Alfieri’s separation from the other characters.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Arthur Miller structured A View from the Bridge with many similarities to a classical Greek tragedy. Structural and formal elements, often employing the attorney Alfieri, support the idea that the outcome of the plot is inevitable. Drawing on the tragedy format in itself suggests that at least one main character will die, and that important familial relationships will be destroyed. One structural element is the frame, which sets off the beginning and end from the story developed between them. In having Alfieri voice both the opening and closing monologues, Miller establishes the lawyer in the position that the chorus occupied in Greek drama. This function is emphasized by his appearances and commentary at other strategic points.

Other significant forma elements include foreshadowing. In particular, the role of Marco as the physically stronger brother who protects Rodolpho is established. In one key scene, it becomes apparent that he is physically stronger than Eddie and that he resents the older man’s attempts to belittle Rodolpho. The stage is clearly set for a final confrontation—one that ends in Eddie’s death.

Miller uses language to set Alfieri apart from the other characters. The poetic form of the monologues and Alfieri’s formal speech patterns are contrasted with the prose in most of the text. As a middle-class professional, Alfieri also speaks more formal, grammatically correct English, while the other characters use working-class, Brooklyn vernacular.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team