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What Role does Alfieri play in A View From the Bridge?
Alfieri serves not only one, but two roles. He is responsible as the narrator, carrying the story along and talking about what has happened, he is then also a character, a lawyer bound to his work but torn between the law and the essence of Sicilian justice. In both cases we see a man who is more knowledgeable and educated, a man who demands respect, whether it is when he breaks the fourth wall and corresponds directly with the audience, or as a character where the people “uneasily nod” to him.
Alfieri’s largest role is that of narrator. In fact, he is less of a narrator but more of a chorus such as the ones found in Greek tragedies. As the chorus, Alfieri is a constant provider of tragic inevitability and knowledge. When Eddie first seeks out Alfieri, Alfieri talks about how he “could’ve stopped it there and then…I could see every step coming”, yet when he switches to his role as a character, he does nothing. This indicates that the chorus is speaking from the future. Not only do we know that he speaks from the future due to his use of language, but also due to the dramatic effects. When writing the play, Arthur Miller had a clear idea of what was to be where and what lighting was to be used. Whenever we here Alfieri as the chorus, everything else is covered in darkness and only he is illuminated: “As lights go out on Alfieri, they rise…” whereas when he speaks as a character, the whole stage is lit up. Already we have a relationship between Alfieri, and the title. When Alfieri talks as the chorus he creates a connection - breaking the fourth wall - the audience is given a view from a bridge, they can see what has happened and what lies ahead, hence Alfieri provides the View From the Bridge.
As a character and as the chorus, Alfieri discusses and debates with himself the roles of justice and law. This is first made obvious when Eddie comes to him to see if there is anything he can do about Rodolfo....