A View from the Bridge

Alfieri Character Analysis

An Italian-American lawyer and a sort of narrator for the play, who guides the audience through the story. Eddie visits Alfieri to see if there is any legal action he can take to keep Catherine and Rodolpho apart, but Alfieri advises him to let Catherine make her own decisions. Alfieri tells Eddie that Rodolpho has not broken any law, so there is nothing that Eddie can do. Near the end of the play, he helps bail Marco out of prison and tries to convince Marco not to seek revenge on Eddie, as this would be against the law. Through Alfieri’s advice about the extent and limitations of the law, we see that what is legal is not always what is just, and what is illegal is not always what is unjust.

Alfieri Quotes in A View from the Bridge

The A View from the Bridge quotes below are all either spoken by Alfieri or refer to Alfieri. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of A View from the Bridge published in 2009.
Act 1 Quotes

But this is Red Hook, not Sicily. This is the slum that faces the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge. This is the gullet of New York swallowing the tonnage of the world. And now we are quite civilized, quite American.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Brooklyn Bridge
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Alfieri:
Is there a question of law somewhere?

Eddie:
That’s what I want to ask you.

Alfieri:
Because there’s nothing illegal about a girl falling in love with an immigrant.

Related Characters: Eddie Carbone (speaker), Alfieri (speaker), Catherine, Rodolpho
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

We all love somebody, the wife, the kids—every man’s got somebody that he loves, heh? But sometimes . . . there’s too much. You know? There’s too much, and it goes where it mustn’t. A man works hard, he brings up a child, sometimes it’s a niece, sometimes even a daughter, and he never realizes it, but through the years—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?

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Eddie Carbone, Catherine
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 2 Quotes

This is my last word, Eddie, take it or not, that’s your business. Morally and legally you have no rights, you cannot stop it; she is a free agent.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Eddie Carbone, Catherine
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

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The law is only a word for what has a right to happen. When the law is wrong it’s because it’s unnatural, but in this case it is natural and a river will drown you if you buck it now. Let her go. And bless her.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Eddie Carbone, Catherine
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

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Alfieri:
To promise not to kill is not dishonorable.

Marco:
No?

Alfieri:
No.

Marco:
Then what is done with such a man.

Alfieri:
Nothing. If he obeys the law, he lives. That’s all.

Marco:
The law? All the law is not in a book.

Alfieri:
Yes. In a book. There is no other law.

Marco:
He degraded my brother. My blood. He robbed my children, he mocks my work. I work to come here, mister!

Alfieri:
I know, Marco—

Marco:
There is no law for that? Where is the law for that?

Alfieri:
There is none.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Marco (speaker), Eddie Carbone, Rodolpho
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

This is not God, Marco. You hear? Only God makes justice.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Marco
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

I confess that something perversely pure calls to me from his memory—not purely good, but himself purely, for he allowed himself to be wholly known and for that I think I will love him more than all my sensible clients. And yet, it is better to settle for half, it must be! And so I mourn him—I admit it—with a certain . . . alarm.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Eddie Carbone
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Alfieri Character Timeline in A View from the Bridge

The timeline below shows where the character Alfieri appears in A View from the Bridge. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...the 1950s, near the small apartment of a man named Eddie. A middle-aged lawyer named Alfieri comes on stage and addresses the audience directly. He says that the people of this... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Alfieri says that he has mostly dealt with simple, petty cases during his career, but occasionally... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
...he is the one who is mad. As this dinner scene comes to an end, Alfieri comes on stage and tells the audience that Eddie was a good, hard-working man. He... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
As this scene comes to a close, Alfieri comes on stage and says that, ‘as the weeks passed . . . there was... (full context)
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Alfieri comes on stage and tells the audience that around this time, Eddie first came to... (full context)
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...that Rodolpho is only interested in Catherine in order to become an American citizen, but Alfieri says there is no proof of this. Eddie says that Rodolpho isn’t saving his money... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Eddie then tells Alfieri that Rodolpho “ain’t right.” Alfieri tries to get Eddie to be more specific, and Eddie... (full context)
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...that people on the docks call Rodolpho “Paper Doll” and “Blondie,” and laugh at him. Alfieri again tells Eddie that there is no legal action he can take. Eddie reiterates that... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Alfieri tells Eddie that sometimes there’s simply too much love in a man’s life and “it... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
...hands on her like a goddam thief!” He shouts that Rodolpho is stealing from him. Alfieri tells Eddie that Catherine wants to get married, and says she can’t marry Eddie. Eddie... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Eddie leaves, and Alfieri tells the audience that he knew then what would happen, but was powerless to stop... (full context)
Act 2
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Alfieri says that it is now the 23rd of December. Marco and Eddie are working, and... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Alfieri comes on stage and says that he next saw Eddie on the 27th. Eddie came... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Eddie says that Rodolpho “didn’t give me the right kind of fight,” and tells Alfieri that he kissed Rodolpho so Catherine would see what Rodolpho really is. Eddie asks what... (full context)
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Alfieri tells Eddie that someone was going to marry Catherine eventually, and says he should let... (full context)
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Later, at a prison, Alfieri and Catherine visit Marco and Rodolpho. Alfieri says that Marco can be bailed out until... (full context)
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Marco says he cannot promise not to kill Eddie, as this would be dishonorable. Alfieri says that as long as Eddie obeys the law, “he lives,” and tells Marco, “To... (full context)
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...out for Beatrice, and Beatrice and Catherine hold Eddie up. He dies in Beatrice’s arms. Alfieri comes forward and addresses the audience. He says that even though Eddie behaved wrongly, he... (full context)