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The Significance of Theme of Justice in Miller's A View From The Bridge

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Justice is to be fair and reasonable, it is a legal and philosophical theory. No doubt justice is a prominent theme in the play, “A View from the Bridge”. Alfieri even says in his opening monologue “justice is very important here”. Since the narrator of the play (Alfieri) is a lawyer this gives another suggestion that justice and the law have an important part in the play. Most of the characters in the play are from Italy. In the 1950’s, when this play is set, Italy was a very poor country and breaking the law was considered more wide-spread, whilst keeping the law of the land was considered vital in America.

A lot of Italians illegally immigrated to America like Eddie’s family so they could have the “American Dream”, but were instead bribed to be longshoremen, unless they wanted to be turned in to the Immigration Bureau. The Carbone family end up in Brooklyn, which in the 1950’s was deprived and in poverty. Illegal immigration is one of the main ways in which the law is broken in the play. Justice was mentioned, when Eddie suspects Rodolfo’s motive of liking Catherine, just to get his passport. According to Eddie, there must be a law for an illegal immigrant to fall in love with a girl and to get marry and get his citizenship.

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This was illegal according to Eddie’s own set of law. Besides liking Catherine, Eddie thinks that the act of Rodolfo having his hands all over Catherine and snatching her away from him was illegal. He tried to force Alfieri to believe that there is a law against it, and something to go against it. This was something found in Eddie’s own set of law and justice. Alfieri tried to convince Eddie that there is nothing illegal here. He stated that the law is something which allows nature to take place, like Catherine growing up, falling in love and getting married. There was nothing unnatural about this. He tried to warn Eddie not to go against something natural and the outcome of breaking the family law. As the only illegal and lawful thing, was the way how the two brothers entered the country. Justice, as in the family law, is very important here as Eddie later decided to break the justice in the family law and go with the justice in the public law.

Another point in the play when justice is shown is when the two brothers got arrested. Marco mentioned that, “all the law not’s in the book” and this reflect back on the justice between the family and public law. To Marco, justice was not met as Eddie had turned his back against the family ties and had stolen him of the right to work in America and also the right for his children and wife to live.

Eddie’s case was similar to Vinny’s case, as to the public law, what Eddie did was justify and there was nothing wrong with it. The law and justice were highlighted again when Alfieri took Marco’s hands, and told him that those are not law but God is. At the beginning of the play and towards the end, Alfieri had mentioned about “settling for half”. These were all shown in the play. Many times, people took justice in their own hands like the two gangsters’ death mentioned in the beginning. Sometimes you have to be satisfied and settle for half, as there is a price to pay for many of the justice. And the price to pay for it, is not what everyone is able to pay. There is a set of law and justice in everything, even in the gangsters’ world. All these show how important justice is in the play and why people usually settled for half.


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