The latter of the above two quotes backs up the idea that Alfieri still cares for Eddie as a friend. However, despite Alfieri’s last chance attempt to prevent Eddie from informing the Immigration Bureau about Marco and Rodolpho, that is exactly what Eddie does. The Immigration Bureau come and arrest Marco and Rodolpho, and on their way out, Marco, having guessed at what has happened, spits in Eddie’s face in public, which would have been a huge insult, and fuels the dramatic way in which the play finally ends. Marco and Rodolpho are taken to Alfieri’s Office, where he bails them out before his hearing:
“I can bail you out until your hearing comes up. ” This shows another sign of friendship between Alfieri and Eddie, since Alfieri is willing to bail two people out of jail, who are complete strangers to him, for Eddie’s sake. Alfieri (appearing yet again as a participant of the play,) refuses to let Marco go until Marco gives him his word that he will not go anywhere near Eddie, which Alfieri has to persuade him to do. This means that Alfieri is obviously used here as a device to let the story continue, since if Marco and Rodolpho were to remain in jail, the final dramatic scene would never happen.
Alfieri’s next and final appearance in the play is in the final scene, where despite having given Alfieri his word, Marco still goes looking for Eddie. Eddie, having had his face spat in by Marco, is furious and is determined to either make Marco apologise or have his revenge. When the two characters clash, and Marco refuses to apologise, Eddie draws a knife on Marco and tries to kill him. Marco however, manages to turn the knife around and stab Eddie, thus Eddie dies in Beatrice’s arms. Alfieri then appears as a narrator again, and closes the play with a final speech, similar to his first opening speech.
He says that sometimes it is better to settle for something you’re only part happy with, rather than try to be fully happy and risk losing everything: “… we settle for half and I like it better. ” “And yet, it is better to settle for half, it must be! ” This very same sentence was used in Alfieri’s opening speech, which the audience may recognize, and draw their own conclusions of the play from. Alfieri also finally confirms that he and Eddie were good friends, and does so in a moving speech that concludes and ends the play, but also hints that just because Eddie is now dead, life for the characters will not become much easier:
“I will love him more than all my sensible clients. ” “And so I mourn him – I admit it – with a certain… alarm. ” In conclusion, Arthur Miller uses the role of Alfieri to do many jobs in the play. First and foremost, Alfieri is a narrator, and explains the situations to the audience, to help them understand more of what is going on. He fills in missing pieces in the audience’s heads about the pasts of the characters, at the same time drops possible hints about the future of the characters and what will happen, thus keeping the audience hooked on the play, and wanting to know what we happen.
He is used as a device to speed time forward, as his narrations can easily end some scenes off, tie loose ends together and just as easily start others off at whatever period of time needs to be visited and told of. Finally, Alfieri also plays the role of an actual character and participant in the play on various occasions, where his actions and opinions affect those of the main characters, letting Alfieri affect how the story takes shape and progresses.
He can be used to say things other characters may think but don’t dare say, since his character is a friend to most others and they respect him. He gives them advice, and acts as a bridge between the lawful world of New York and the world of Red Hook, where the play is set and where law and order are not welcome, just like Brooklyn Bridge links the two. That is why Alfieri is such an important character to the play, and why Alfieri can be thought of as “The View From the Bridge. “