Justice In A View From The Bridge

1617 words - 6 pages

Justice in A View from the Bridge

Arthur Miller is now regarded as one of the world’s greatest
dramatists. In his plays he explores the struggles of the ordinary man
against authority and insurmountable odds.

Miller's own struggle therefore with this issue is present in ‘A View
from the Bridge’ as he, like the characters in his plays (such as
Eddie Carbone), was faced with the problem of choosing to be American
or not, specifically by naming names of people who were doing (what
were considered then) unlawful acts. Miller chose to write about a
community that accepted and protected unlawful people.

Miller spent two years in the shipyards of Brooklyn and was thus able
to study the social background of the lives of the dockworkers in that
area. Many of the immigrants were of illegal legacy and were being
exploited by the people who helped bring them to America and so
consequently he further advanced his knowledge of the community spirit
in the slum areas of New York and the beliefs and values of the
Sicilian community as a whole.

The law however, is everywhere, and this is the role played by
Alfieri in ‘A view from the Bridge’ and much of his speaking takes the
form of soliloquies. His description of the people within the play and
narration at the beginning of each scene helps to distinguish the
different sections of the play. Alfieri is fairly unimportant in the
action of the play in general, but he more importantly frames the play
as a form of a modern story.

The words justice and law are frequently heard in the play. Alfieri,
the lawyer for all intents and purposes is the view from the bridge.
He is the all-seeing, all-knowing, objective outsider looking in,
correctly predicting the forthcoming doom. His office is always
visible in the wings throughout the play, and by doing this; Miller is
showing the audience that the law is always there, but in the
sidelines sometimes powerless to stop impending tragedy. Although
Alfieri knows what will happen to Eddie, his function in the play
makes him 'so powerless to stop it'. His function doesn't allow him to
do more than observe.

Alfieri

establishes that justice and the law are going to be important in the
play in his opening speech. He sets the story that he is going to tell
us in the context of history, both ancient and modern. "In Sicily,
from where their fathers came, the law has not been a friendly idea
since the Greeks were beaten. I only came here when I was twenty-five.
In those days, Al Capone, the greatest Carthaginian of all, was
learning his trade on these pavements, and Frankie Yale himself was
cut precisely in half by a machine-gun on the corner of Union Street,
two blocks away."

The fact that Alfieri goes on to state that lawyers in ancient times,
as well as he in modern times, were unable to prevent a "complaint"
running a "bloody course" causes us to question the power and
influence of the law. In other words, although...

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