Miller shows that Alfieri is a good advisor and can see different points of view without bias or ignorance, so that his role guides the characters through many difficult times. When Alfieri is giving Eddie his advice, he does not mean to be unhelpful or negligent but he knows that the law cannot do anything to solve Eddie’s personal family problem of Catherine and Rodolpho having a relationship. This shows Eddie and the audience the idea that human emotion is much stronger than the law.
He gives Eddie three pieces of advice. As a lawyer, he is compelled to mention “one legal question” which is “the manner in which they (meaning the immigrants) entered the country” but as a friend gives him practical and helpful advice which is that “God mixes up the people. We all love somebody, the wife, the kids – every man’s got somebody that he loves”… “Sometimes… there’s too much… and it goes where it mustn’t” “The child has to grow up and go away.
” The last piece of advice that is given and explained is that “she’s a woman now,” which is also the echoing words of his wife Beatrice. He tries to evaluate Eddie’s situation carefully, but Eddie is furious that there is nothing that can be done legally to stop the relationship between Catherine and Rodolpho from taking place. His frustration is shown towards Alfieri in his speech and also his actions, but is not directed at him: ‘(furiously) What’re you talking about, marry me! I don’t know what the hell your talkin’ about!
(pause)… (Eddie gathers himself. A pause) Well, thanks. Thanks very much – it’s breakin’ my heart y’know. ‘ It is Alfieri’s role as advisor that acts as a continuous link throughout the tragedy of the play guiding others around him along different paths. Alfieri’s relationships with the characters especially with Eddie, grows throughout the play as the thoughts and feelings between the characters becomes more complex. Miller uses Alfieri to develop the other characters and give the reader a view of their faults and strengths.
He knows that his role as a lawyer is that “it means law” and nothing else but can’t help getting emotionally involved as a human being, with the depth of human feelings and emotions. He ” knew where he was going to end” after his meeting with Eddie that afternoon, although he knew he was “an intelligent man” he was ” so powerless to stop it. ” Alfieri finds it difficult to comprehend, understand and decide what advice to give Eddie to stop the possible “bloody course” that could arise in the future.
His only sanctuary and advice that he receives comes from a “wise old woman” who can only tell him to “Pray for him. ” This brings back the idea that human emotion is much stronger than the law. Any lawyer or priest would give the opinion that what they have been taught is correct. However, no practical or human advice would have been given to Alfieri, to help him guide Eddie through his family situation and issues. Despite his faults, Alfieri portrays Eddie as a normal man with normal problems, “A man works, raises a family, goes bowling, eats gets old and then he dies.
” He describes him as a ” good man” and the audience learns to appreciate this so they can form their own opinions on Eddie as the play continues. The interaction with the audience and increases as the play continues further, along with the trust and respect that is given by the audience to Alfieri. This is mainly because he has a respectable role in society and therefore is a reliable source. His role as a lawyer is changing and as a person he understands situations, emotions and relationships better.
He becomes a controlled balance between all that is happening and occurring from the “view” below him. Within the play this makes his role as a chorus and character become more powerful especially in Act 2. He develops the action by moving time forward through each act and has the audience metamorphically reaching for a calendar ” On the twenty-third of that December a case of Scotch whisky is inclined to do on the twenty-third of December on Pier Forty-one. ”
Alfieri represents the source of guidance for people seeking reassurance and security. In some cases, this causes the action that follows and leads the plot to become more intense. Eddie is devastated by the resulting advice given by Alfieri, and cannot control his anger or feelings towards Rodolpho. Eddie is confused and delusional, not only because of his thoughts but also because of his binge drinking. This causes irrational threatening actions and speech towards both Catherine and Rodolpho.
This is especially the case when Eddie not only kisses Catherine but also Rodolpho mocking him, as some kind of gay man that only wants Catherine for marriage so he can become legally entitled to citizenship. He tells Catherine not to provoke him, but his threat uttered by Eddie is too powerful to be ignored. ” Don’t make me do nuttin’, Catherine. Watch your step, submarine. By rights they oughta throw you back in the water. But I got pity for you”. This incident was a consequence of the reaction Eddie had to Alfieri’s advice.