"A View from the Bridge" - Analytical Essay: the Roles of Law and Justice in Society

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SAC 3: ‘A View from the Bridge’ – Analytical Essay

In ‘A View from the Bridge’ by Arthur Miller, an average man named Eddie is portrayed as a tragic hero who is driven by a selfish and inappropriate obsession with his own niece Catherine, and is ultimately punished by the righteous hands of justice. The two-act play visually demonstrates that while justice is critical, it functions differently within the community to the law, as justice is concerned with what is fair, whereas “the law is only a word for what has a right to happen”. Certain characters in the play have different interpretations of both justice and the law. Eddie partially represents Redhook’s beliefs and unwritten laws which are underlined by moral principles, Alfieri believes in the law which is written and enforced by authorities, and the Sicilian community including Marco and Rodolpho operate on a more ancient set of laws, conducted through honour and respect.

Miller expresses his opinion that the commonly held beliefs and unwritten laws within a community are far more important to people than real laws. Loyalty to family is highly valued by the people within Redhook’s community, and if anyone is to betray a member of their own family, even if it is in accordance with the law, they would be robbed of their dignity and “even the ones who understand… [would] turn against” them: their own serve of justice. But “if everybody keeps his mouth shut, nothin’ can happen.” Miller reflects on his own past experiences with his former best friend Elia Kazan, when Eddie breaks Redhook’s code of family loyalty by dobbing the two “submarines” in to the Immigration Bureau. Kazan did the same; he betrayed his community’s beliefs by naming friends as communist sympathisers to the House Un-American Activities Committee during a ‘witch hunt’. Ironically, the audience is encouraged to feel horrified at Eddie’s betrayal of the illegal immigrants, even though he was just obeying the law, as everyone should....
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