A View from the Bridge – the image of law

'Justice is very important here' is spoken by Alfieri in his opening speech. Alfieri is a lawyer representing the official legal system of America. He also acts as a narrator, commentator who is almost like a bystander watching the events but remains powerless to have any impact on them. This is very similar to the chorus, featured in tragedies from ancient Greek playwright, who are a group of on lookers watching and commenting on events but are unable to act upon any of the incidents. Alfieri describes his neighbourhood of Red Hook as a 'slum' area of Brooklyn inhabited by Italians, who bring to America their own sense of justice which they find outside the law.

This is because the law can not dispense total justice. Justice is one of the main themes in the play because all the characters feel some sense of injustice for one reason or another for example Eddie, the main character endures the greatest sense of injustice none of which can be solved by the law. Most characters in 'A View from the Bridge' are poor and have to struggle which in itself is a form of social injustice which radiates unfair exploitation of dock workers.

They all have an innate sense of injustice. Each house hold has only one of everything for example the 'tablecloth' mentioned at the beginning of Act I, Beatrice wanted the house to be perfect for when the guests arrived and she needed a new table cloth. All the shops where closed so Catherine suggested 'Mrs Dondero upstairs' may be able to lend them hers but it was obvious from Beatrice's reply that it had seen better days. It becomes apparent their poverty stricken neighbourhood was located near the docks when Beatrice said 'I smelled coffee all day today. You unloadin' coffee today?'

'Yeah a Brazil ship'. It shows that the house was so close the scent of the coffee from the docks could reach them. Many characters in the play find themselves in a situation where they feel life is not fair and the official legal system can not help them. Within this essay I will analyse and discuss the ways in which justice is established. Eddie Carbone is the main character and protagonist although to give him the 'hero' title is questionable. He has had the most encounters with justice whether it be gaining it or seeking it. Eddie was once a much respected man in the neighbourhood, but he is very ignorant. His authority is obvious as he lays down the rules and they are followed by Catherine and Beatrice, if they ever wanted to go astray from these rules they would have to see to him first.

Eddie's obsession toward Catherine is reason for the large scale climax. He is very over protective and would not let Catherine have any contact with any men, even his own friends. It is very early on in the play when Catherine gets annoyed at this and tells Eddie she wishes 'there was one guy [he] couldn't tell [her] things about!' this showed that he would portray most other men as inappropriate in the hope that she will see him as perfect and feel the way he does for her. Once Marco and Rodolfo arrive Eddie becomes uneasy, Catherine is amazed by Rodolfo's appearance as he is so light compared to Marco, Eddie interrupts the conversation on this as he does not like where it is going. As the play goes on Catherine and Rodolfo start to go out, Eddie feels his territory is being taken from him and so he goes to see Alfieri whom he knew from the time his father had Alfieri represent him in an accident case. Eddie's desperation drove him to a point where he turned to see what the law could do.

He accused Rodolfo of only wanting to marry Catherine 'to get his papers' but Alfieri explains that there is no law stopping a girl falling for an immigrant. Eddie can not accept this so he goes on to explain how Rodolfo is effeminate as he makes dresses, sings and cooks he implies that he is a homosexual and this is breaking one of the codes. The only way to rid of Rodolfo is 'the manner in which he came' but Eddie will have nothing to do with that, it would be breaking the codes of honour and would be betrayal, a large injustice. The outcome would be the same as Vinny Bolzano mentioned earlier, who 'snitched to the immigration' about his uncle that was staying with the family. The result of this was that his family disowned him and he was forced to leave town. This was not the path Eddie wanted to follow. The fact that he can not seek refuge in the law frustrates Eddie; he can not understand why the law does not cater for these situations and as a result he is not getting the justice he wants. Blind to all the injustice he will cause to others he impetuously calls immigration. This is very ironic because of the reaction Eddie had to Vinny Bolzano, he broke the unspoken code which even Alfieri a representative of the law was not willing to break. As the officers arrive Eddie realises what he has done was wrong and tries to get them out but it is too late the damage has already been done. Marco accuses Eddie of killing his children and spits at Eddie as he is dragged out. Eddie shouts 'I'll kill you' after them, this could have been literally because this was a way to gain justice, but it was his own justice.

His friends and neighbours all disown him as he broke the codes which all Italians within that area live by. They feel he is no longer worthy of worthy of their respect or friendship. This is evident from the stage directions "Lapari, the butcher, turns and starts up left with his around his wife"; Eddie calls after Lapari and explains how he gave them "the blankets" off his bed. Lapari does not listen and leaves. Eddie then goes to speak to Louis but he "barely turns, than walks off and exits with mike. People no longer want to know him he disgraced Italians and deserved all the punishment thrown at him.

Eddie 'killed' a family and lost his name, nobody had time for him anymore his on friend turned away from him, he had broken the codes. Eddie comes to find that there is a prise to pay for total justice a price that most people, most of the time are unwilling to pay