A view from the bridge, Alfieri's opening prologue

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What do we learn from the opening stage directions and Alfieri’s prologue?

     The tragic play ‘A view from the bridge’ was written in 1956 by Arthur Miller and follows the lives of a common American household during the 1950’s.

                ‘A view from the bridge’ begins with a series of stage directions, setting the scene of the play to come. The stage directions hint to a death like setting, portrayed in the word ‘skeletal’.  By basing the starting the play with an already deathly tone, it creates an immediate tragic feeling as if it is hinting to a future death. Moreover, the ambiguity of the word ‘skeletal’ could also be showing the emptiness at the start of the play, of which is usually mirrored at the end of most tragic plays.  Moreover, the intimacy of the ‘living room –dining room’ set out in the stage directions tells the audience that this is a domestic tragedy. A domestic tragedy usually involves the loss of a name or something personally special to the character, rather than a loss of power or personal possessions as is in regular tragedies. The ‘flat, clean, sparse, homely’ setting gives a sense of family, showing how important it will become throughout the play. It also shows that this particular household is a simple working one and like family is very important, adding to the domestically themed setting. In contrast, the stage directions say there should be ‘ramps, representing the street’ along the stage. This contrast in setting shows the difference between the private life, and the public life of the street. Furthermore, we can see that the area in which Eddie’s family is placed, is a poor working class district with idle men ‘pitching coins’ as they are without work. This shows how poverty stricken the working class were at this particular time, and the style of living is very low. This is reinforced by a ‘distant foghorn’ blowing, symbolising work and the docks on which the family live next to. The discordant sound also sounds harsh and uncomforting, adding to the domestic tragedy feel.  The audience then met the character Alfieri. He is described as an experienced lawyer ‘in his fifties’. This gives the impression that he has had a long time to think over his story which he recites to the audience through a series of flashbacks. Moreover, he is said to be ‘portly and good-humoured’ giving him an appealing and

Comments

Kate Bolton

I meant to give this 4 out of five but accidentally clicked it wrong! Sorry! Useful though, thanks

Izzy Perrin

Lol! Good luck in your exams!!

Aparna

I have literally used so many of your resources! They are so useful and amazing. I can't thank you enough for uploading these. I'm a lazy kid so I have to look through loads of revision material before getting the motviation to starting my own.

Paul Dutton


A useful set of revision notes for the opening stage directions and the importance of the prologue. 

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