A View from the Bridge

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What does the Bridge in View From The Bridge symbolize? A View From The Bridge is a play written by the American playwright Arthur Miller, a prominent figure in American Theatre, this Greek tragedy adapted drama was written to emphasize on the themes of incestuous love, jealousy and betrayal. In simple geographical terms, the ‘bridge’ in the title of the play is the Brooklyn Bridge, the one that spans the East River, between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York. The title drew attention to both the subject matter and the structure of the play. The subject matter was the events that took place between Eddie, his family and Beatrice’s illegal immigrant cousins in the Sicilian-American Community of Red Hook. It is a neighborhood in which “Justice is very important”, not the formal justice of American law, but the Code of Honor and its loyalty that had its roots in the Italian background of this immigrant community. It is as if we are looking over the ‘bridge’ into these events. Therefore, in this essay I will be interpreting the possible symbolisms of the Bridge and how does it relate to the dramatic situations in the play. Initially, A View From the Bridge depicts a detached and an objective view from the top; it refers to the ideal vantage-point for the captain on a boat, we are made to think of a more panoramic view, we get a bigger perspective of the world, a view of all the little consequences taking place in the Red Hook community below, being joined together to form a puzzle of false values, spite and love. Mr. Alfieri, a wise lawyer could be referred to a ‘clairvoyant-powerless narrator’, he is one of the characters with a significant role in this Modern Greek Tragedy, Miller uses him to connect or ‘bridge’ the action of each scene, as well as serve as a ‘bridge’ between the audience and the characters and the events of the play. He is a ‘choric’ figure, doing a similar job to the Chorus in an Ancient Greek Tragedy. "I could see every step coming, step after step, like a dark figure walking down a hall towards a certain door." A statement by Alfieri manifested the inevitable end, as well as hinted its readers on what circumstances will arise in the upcoming scenes, thus representing a form of bond between the two. Alfieri is also the symbol of the person on the bridge looking down upon the Red Hook community able to process the events and see the greater societal and moral implications it has for the community as a whole or, perhaps, he is the bridge himself, allowing the people to cross into Manhattan and into a modern, intellectual American culture. He is a figurative link between the two communities of America and Italy with an attempt to unite the American laws with Italian cultural practices and negotiate a place in between the two. Alfieri, an Italian-American, is true to his ethnic identity, he is a well-educated man who studies and respects American law, but is still loyal to Italian customs. The play is told from the viewpoint of Alfieri, the view from the bridge between American Law and the Italian “Code of Honour “, basically meaning the code of silence where matters are settled privately rather than allowing outsiders to intrude. The Brooklyn Bridge is also a physical link between the Red Hook, Sicilian community, overshadowing it and the depicted utopia of fulfilling American Dreams, Manhattan Island. It is a pathway of opportunity for these Italian-American immigrants to achieve their goals and ambitions, the Brooklyn bridge, which is very close to the Red Hook community, is a constant reminder of the American opportunity and industry. The bridge is also a metaphorical relationship between the ambitious Italians and their trail towards the land of prosperity and desires, this can be seen when Rodolpho says, “I want to be an American.” portraying an American Dream mounting on Italian cultures. If we look deeply into the play and the events taking place, it seems to be that there is a ‘Bridge’...
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