A View From the Bridge

by Arthur Miller
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How does Miller present the struggles that social class brings in A View From the Bridge?

Miller presents the struggles that social class brings in A View From the Bridge through Alfieri’s worldly commentary and Eddie’s primitive behavior.

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In A View From the Bridge, Arthur Miller presents the struggles that social class brings through Alfieri. A lawyer, Alfieri is not a member of the social class of Eddie, Beatrice, and Catherine. Alfieri’s higher social class is touched on when he talks about how his wife and friends...

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In A View From the Bridge, Arthur Miller presents the struggles that social class brings through Alfieri. A lawyer, Alfieri is not a member of the social class of Eddie, Beatrice, and Catherine. Alfieri’s higher social class is touched on when he talks about how his wife and friends have warned him that the people that he deals with are devoid of “glamour” and “elegance.” Alfieri substantiates their opinion when he talks about the cases that he generally takes on. These aren’t sensational, dramatic battles. They’re “family squabbles” or disputes related to compensation and eviction. In a sense, the lower social class endures struggles that people of higher classes perceive as petty or frivolous.

As Miller’s play unfolds, it becomes clear that the lower classes aren’t incapable of stirring up drama on their own. The struggles between Eddie, Catherine, Rodolpho, and so on are presented as a combination of factors. Based on their nonstandard English, one could claim that Miller is drawing a link between lower social classes and base communication. The inability to properly express themselves might be why Eddie has such a difficult time confronting his illicit feelings for Catherine. In addition to stunted emotions, there are struggles with money, living space, and relationships. For Eddie, these conflicts accumulate and conclude with a deadly encounter that is not at all like the situations that Alfieri typically experiences.

In the end, Alfieri implies that Eddie’s class status played a role in his lethal confrontation with Marco. His line about how, most of the time, people nowadays “settle for half” indicates that Eddie’s class might be why he didn’t espouse a pragmatic, logical course of action. Yet Alfieri can’t help but admire Eddie’s lower-class solution to his struggles. He depicts Eddie’s behavior as pure, which ultimately presents lower-class struggles in a rather romanticized light.

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