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English Literature

Character

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Alfieri

  • He is a lawyer, born in Italy, who has been working in Brooklyn for 25 years. He is part of the same immigrant Italian community as Eddie.
  • He acts as a commentator on the action: he sets the scene and introduces the characters. He is telling us the story of the play in flashback [flashback: A scene enacting something that happened in the past; the enactment of a character's memory of a past event. ]: right from the start we know that it is going to run a bloody course. Do you feel that he needs to tell us about what he has seen?
  • He is compassionate. He tries to save Eddie and, later, Marco, from the fatal course that they have set out on.
  • When Eddie first goes to see him, Alfieri warns, there is too much love for the daughter, there is too much love for the niece. Do you understand what I'm saying to you?
  • When Eddie visits him the second time to try to prevent Catherine and Rodolpho's wedding, Alfieri's warning is more explicit: You won't have a friend in the world, Eddie!
  • He tells Marco, Only God makes justice, trying to prevent Marco from taking the law into his own hands.
  • However, really he is powerless to change what he knows is inevitable. Even though he can explain the law to Eddie and Marco, he knows deep down that they will do what their code of honour requires. He is like the chorus [chorus: A group of characters in classical Greek drama who comment on the action but don't take part in it. In a song, the chorus is a section that is regularly repeated. ] in a Greek tragedy, commenting on the action and explaining it to the audience, but unable to alter it.

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