Alfieri is a middle-aged lawyer, who came to America as a young man seeking “The American dream”: freedom and wealth. He is very well respected in his neighbourhood, however people do keep their distance from him, as they tend to associate the law with disasters: “We’re only thought in connection with disasters, and they’d rather not get too close” Alfieri is both narrator and character in “A View From the Bridge”. He enters at the beginning of most scenes. Alfieri’s soliloquy in the first scene of the play is very important. He plays the role of the chorus in “A View From the Bridge”, as he prepares the audience for what is about to happen.
When he walks into the darkness, it is a symbol of the negativity and tragedy that is about to take place. He, like the chorus in “Romeo and Juliet” is informing the audience of the inevitable, and conveying a sense of danger. He explains the themes of the story. For instance, in Act 1 Scene 1, he says, “Now we settle for half and I like it better”. It is this issue of compromise that is one of the main themes in “A View From the Bridge”, and the consequences that ensue when characters refuse to “settle for half”. Alfieri does not have only one role in this story.
On one hand, he is an onlooker: he oversees what happens during every scene and is powerless to prevent the final outcome of the play, for he already knows what is going to take place. The issue of his powerlessness is a main theme of the play. On the other hand, he is a main character in the story and tries to do all he can in order to help Eddie. Alfieri’s role as an onlooker is also vital in ensuring that Miller’s message is clearly put across: he is seeing the action from a distance. Miller voices his thoughts through Alfieri, especially in the introduction, when Alfieri speaks about the issues of law and justice.
Alfieri also voices Miller’s thoughts in the final soliloquy, where he states the moral of the story and speaks about settling for half and compromising: “it is better to settle for half”. He is the bridge between the audience and the characters, as he is the narrator. Alfieri is also the bridge between the Italian culture and American culture, as he considers himself to be American but not having forgotten his Sicilian roots. Finally, Alfieri is also the bridge between the people and the law, and it is his duty to make sure that justice is served.
Throughout the play, Alfieri is taking a detached view of what is happening: he is taking “A View From the Bridge”. He expands on the characters, for instance when he talks about and introduces Eddie toward the end of his soliloquy: He describes him as being a “Husky, slightly overweight longshoreman”. He also gives background information about the time and place of where the story is set: “But this is Red Hook, not Sicily. This is the slum that faces the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge. This is the gullet of New York swallowing the tonnage of the world. “