Referring to the social and cultural context of the play, explore the significance of law and justice in A view from the bridge In this essay I am going to discuss the importance of law and order in the play A View from the Bridge I will do this by looking at the cultural setting of the play, the period of time in which the play was set and the attitude towards community law and traditional law. Furthermore I will discuss the difference between law and justice and the attitude towards them both presented in the play.
I will also discuss the representations of the law and justice through the characters and events in the play. Additionally I will be examining what Arthur Miller is saying about law and justice through the medium of the play and consider whether or not he is making a social comment. The idea of law is important because there are two types of law explored in the play. The community law is the law we assume has been introduced by the Italian immigrants coming into America. The law consists of being loyal to your family, not tell the police of any crimes and looking out for yourself.
The real law is the complete opposite in the eyes of the people who follow the community law. Murder is considered to be a far lesser crime in the eyes of this community than Informing on a relative to the police. The play is set in New York where family loyalty in America was originated because it was an easy place for immigrants emigrate to without getting caught. As the immigrants did this they bought their cultures with them, Beatrice clearly has Italian decedents because she has two relatives Marco and Rodolpho that come to stay with her.
In the opening scenes of the play we find out that the area in which the play is set in Brooklyn, New York. The main character called Eddie lives in a shared tenement block with his wife Beatrice and his Wife's niece Catherine. In the first scene of the play Eddie tells story of community law about a character called Vinny Bolzano. We are told that he snitched on his uncle to the immigration services and he got beaten up by his brothers and his dad, Thrown out on to the street then spat on. We can tell that people were distressed and scared by this because Beatrice says "Oh, yeah.
God forbid" and "The whole neighbourhood was cryin'. " When someone is spat on this symbolises their injustice and downfall as this is what happens to Eddie in the final part of the play. After Marco has spat on him it is like Eddie is already dead because Eddie is already calling for his name back. It is also clear by what happened to Vinny that community law rules supreme over the actual law otherwise they would not have beaten him up and got away with it, this proves that betraying your family is the worst thing you can do. Ryan Andrew
In the play all the main characters commit various sins that contribute to the tragedy that happens in the end. Eddie cares too much for Catherine and goes against his word of community law by telling Catherine to stick to the community law rather than the actual law thus contradicting himself in the later parts of the play, his jealousy also gets the better of him. Catherine led Eddie on and acted very childish around him by"walking in the slip" in front of him and "acting like a baby" around him, which led him to call the authorities to take away the Immigrants.
However she did not make him do it, his jealousy for Rodolpho did. Beatrice bought the immigrants to the country and Marco killed Eddie, these entire incidents break laws whether they are communal or the law of the state. Alfieri is a lawyer who is seen in the community as someone who cannot totally be trusted, because he has a career in Law. He also mentions in the play to Eddie to "Settle for Half", claiming that not having everything your own way is better for everyone. In the scene where Eddie makes the phone call to Alfieri he is desperate to find a way in which he can stop the marriage of Rodolpho and Catherine.
Alfieri says the only way he can do this is by calling immigration but warns him that "Even those who understand will turn against you, even the ones who feel the same will despise you! Put it out of your mind Eddie! " this is the case because later on the in the play before He dies he loses all his respect and every relationship he has worked for. Alfieri tries to sop Eddie calling immigration by telling him to "Let her go and bless her". Throughout the play Law is mentioned a lot. This might be because Miller is trying to make a point; he is saying that if you snitch on some one there would be repercussions.
This is shown by what happened to Eddie in the final parts of the play. He indicates at the start of the play that if you haven't done anything wrong nothing bad will happen to you, We know this by the way Alfieri says" I no longer have to keep a pistol in my drawer". In my opinion the law which rules supreme in this play is the community law not the law of the state. I think this because even though Eddie did not break the law in calling immigration he broke the street law which was far worse for him: if he had committed an actual crime because he would still have his respect and his life.