He suddenly gets up and pulls his pants up over his belly and goes to Marco)”. (Act 1, page 40) The way Eddie handles the newspaper reveals subtext and combines with the actions so show how he is feeling towards Rodolfo. He is frustrated and angered inside but is being nice to Rodolfo in speech on the outside. These dramatic devices (and others) are all used to create tension. This tension begins to get the audience thinking and making their own conclusions, and most likely taking one of the characters “sides”.
Miller doesn’t want the audience to get emotionally involved in the play. He wants the audience to overlook the play objectively so that’s they can understand why the recent events have happened. To do this, he uses Alfieri as a device which breaks up the action and confronts the audience, talking to them directly, to stopping them getting emotionally involved. “He was as good a man as he had to be in a life that was hard and even…And toward ten o’clock of that night, after they had eaten, the cousins came.” (Page 15) While talking to the audience, Alfieri spoke of fact – that the cousins had come – but also of personal opinion about Eddie.
Alfieri saying that Eddie is a good man is stopping the audience seeing him as bad (stopping them viewing him subjectively), and making them think, shaping their reactions throughout the play. This is the same thing that a politician would do nowadays to change people’s thoughts. Miller wants the audience to become like Alfieri, ‘A View from the Bridge’. This is very similar to the devices used in Greek theatre.
In Greek times there was always a tragic hero. For example, the myth of Prometheus (Aeschylus) who taught mankind to useful arts and craft such as fire, which was guarded by Zeus. For this Zeus cast him out of Olympus and had him fastened to a rock on the Caucasus, where by day an eagle (or vulture) fed on his liver, which grew again by night. After many thousands of years, the eagle was killed by Heracles, and Prometheus was set free. In most Greek plays and stories, the tragic hero (essentially) destroys them self. This is just like Eddie – the protagonist – in ‘A View from the Bridge’. His own choices and actions lead to his suffering and eventually his death. In Greek theatre, what was also used was a chorus; a group of actors that would come on stage and sing or talk about the play in-between scenes. They would normally explain what has just happened and also what will happen, with comments. This is basically what Alfieri does, but on his own as a narrator and a prophet.
Throughout the play, Alfieri plays many roles: Character, advisor, story teller, narrator, and prophet. Alfieri is a dramatic function. Using Alfieri in these various ways creates a good effect because he breaks down the play and in the end shows that how ever many ways he tried to help Eddie, it was impossible and the outcome was unavoidable. The main reason as to why Alfieri has all these roles is to break up the play and to make the audience see the play from ‘A View from the Bridge, making him Miller’s distancing technique.
The events that occurred during ‘A View from the Bridge’ could quite easily happen in today’s society, making the play relevant to today. I thought the play was really good as I can easily relate some of the events to my own life. I like it that the play has many moral messages and a lot of philosophical ideas amongst it, teaching us about life. “the law is nature. The law is only a word for what has a right to happen. When the law is wrong it’s because it’s unnatural” (Act 2, page 49)