A View From The Bridge (AVFTB) 'How does Miller create an effective opening'

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Miller creates an effective opening because he establishes a sense of place in the opening of his play A view from the bridge. Miller starts this Greek tragedy with an exact description of the scene, with no room for any conceptualizing or abstraction of the set, this illustrates that this set is going to need to be exact and crucial. He creates a sense of place when he describes a ‘tenement building’ which was ‘skeletal’, the adjective ‘skeletal’ gives us as the reader the image of an unfed human or animal, which indicates what kind of economic situation the play is set. We are then alluded to a table at the centre of the stage, this is emphatically symbolic of the old Italian culture and especially of the concept of Omerta. This makes us as the audience realise that family would play a big role in how the characters will interact with each other. Then, on set is also a portrayal of a very monastic lifestyle in the home, certainly not by choice but monastic none the less, with a room which is a ‘workers flat, clean, sparse and homely’ it is here where we are also shown the type of area this working-class family is in. there is a ‘distant foghorn’ which indicated that it is set somewhere upon the coast somewhere, and it isn’t until Alfieri’s line ‘ slum that faces the bay on Seward side of Brooklyn Bridge’ and that the setting is the ‘gullet of New York, swallowing the tonnage of the world’ the verb ‘swallowing’ gives quite unpleasant connotations and really emphasis the current unpleasant situation of the dockworkers in the area.
Miller creates an effective opening by establishing a sense of time, three times in fact. He mentions the present and near present. In the present he talks about the atrocities of the world he lives in, with mention of notorious ‘Frankie Yale himself’ being ‘cut precisely in half by a machine gun’ ‘two blocks from here’. The preposition ‘here’ is also an indication of the dangerous setting, but the desensitisation of death and the blunt way Alfieri puts it is an allusion to the times in the near past; this refers to the first diaspora of the Italian people to America at the turn of the 18ce to 19ce. The line by Alfieri ‘and now we are quite civilized’ refers to modern Italian Americans being better than they were. The third tile zone is 300 years ago when Alfieri exclaims ‘theirs lie three thousand years of distrust’ which is a reference to the roots of these immigrants in Sicily, where the problems have not changed, only the people and weapons.
Miller has an effective opening with the immediate implication and implementation of the key themes that will be the veins of this Greek tragedy and carry the lifeblood of the plotline throughout the play. Miller quickly illustrates and symbolises the theme of Omerta and more specifically family with the round dining table at centre stage. Omerta is also referenced perfectly win the line where people were ‘justly shot by unjust men’ this is omerta in a nutshell, where there is a sense of vigilantism from the community; Alfieri’s line is emphasized by the preceding one of ‘justice is very important to us’. He uses the possessive plural pronoun of ‘us’ which illustrates that it is a whole community which abides by this theme of omerta. There is also a foreshadowing by the ‘telephone booth’ which remains on the stage throughout the play, which is a checkoffs gun, which then leads us to believe that someone will all it and tip off the police and eventually betray the ‘law of omerta’, with this foreshadowing on the stage it constantly reminds us of omerta throughout and keeps us as the audience tense as to when someone will call it.
The effective introduction is created by Miller in the exposition phase of the play, where we are shown some of the characters who will be playing crucial roles in the play. We are introduced to a reaction by two people on the dock side towards the lawyer Alfieri, this gives us a sense of community within the characters. This then exemplifies and emphatically illustrates a sense of omerta and community within the, even though deprived, no longer depraved community.

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