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A View from the Bridge Essay

A View from the Bridge Essay

Eddie Carbone, the protagonist of the play, is in many ways a tragic hero and like all tragic heroes has a fatal flaw. Eddie’s harmatia is his incestuous feelings for Catherine. Arthur Miller has used the character of Eddie as an everyman perhaps to show that any person can make mistakes with ones feelings. Through the character of Eddie we witness the downfall of a decent man who loses control of his actions. In the early stages of the play, we see Eddie over protective of Catherine but possibly in a paternal way when he says ‘I don’t like the looks they’re giving you…heads are turning like windmills’ although it is quite normal for a father to protect his daughter Eddie’s problem is really with how the men are looking at Catherine rather than her well beings.

The reader is also made aware that Eddie has made a lot of sacrifices for Catherine ‘I took out my own mouth to give it to her’ clearly when it comes to his family Eddie puts other people before himself this is also evident as he allows Marco and Rodolfo, people he has never met before, to stay illegally at his home.

Later in the play there are clues about his true feelings for example when Catherine lights Eddie’s cigar she does it eagerly saying ‘here! I’ll light it for you’ the cigar is a phallic image and hints Eddie’s subconscious desire for Catherine as it gives him unusual pleasure.

Eddie is unaware of his attraction to Catherine so his feelings are manifested in hatred towards Marco and Rodolfo. Eddie’s dislike for Rodolfo is displayed almost immediately after they arrive as ‘he is coming more and more addressed to Marco only’ this suggests that Eddie has no intentions of getting to know Rodolfo as he feels threatened by him. Miller builds up the aggressive nature of Eddie’s behaviour and also how quickly he establishes how volatile he can be. In the middle of Rodolfo’s song the playwright shows us how unsettled Eddie is when the stage directions indicate that ‘Eddie rises and moves upstage’.

When he interrupts Rodolfo he is very sharp. At no point does he use his name but instead calls him ‘kid’. Superficially it seems he is preventing him from singing for his own safety but already the reader is aware that there is something more bubbling under the surface, especially when Miller tells us that Eddie’s face is ‘puffed with trouble’. The shocking actions of Eddie when he kisses both Catherine and Rodolfo shows further evidence of their love for one another as Catherine screams ‘Eddie! Let go, ya hear me! I’ll kill you! Leggo of him’ here we can see that the love between Catherine and Rodolfo is much stronger than that of Eddie and Beatrice, and how it is taking over from Catherine’s affection for Eddie.

At the beginning of ‘A View from the Bridge’ Eddie and Beatrice are presented as having a loving and close relationship. It is when in Act 4 Eddie is waiting for outside his apartment for Catherine and Rodolfo to arrive home that Beatrice is blunt with him and says ‘when am I gonna be a wife again, Eddie’ it shows us she doesn’t feel like his wife because he is distracted by Catherine, it also suggests they don’t sleep together as husband and wife. Beatrice is a good woman and a good wife. She tries to warn Eddie against his feelings for Catherine but it shows us that he can’t do anything about them so therefore is basically doomed. At the end, there is reconciliation between Eddie and B when they come together and share their love with Eddie’s dying words ‘Then why – Oh, B!’ this is Eddies eventual realisation of his love for B.

Eddie’s betrayal not only comes a shock to the audience but is incredibly ironic as in his previous dialogue Eddie retold the story of Vinny Bolzano and said to Catherine ‘ you think I’m blowing steam here’ this shows that Eddie thinks its unimaginable for someone to betray their own family. He gives his opinion and says ‘Him? You’ll never see him no more a guy do a thing like that? How’s he gonna show his face? Here Eddie is disgusted even by the consideration of telling on a fellow Italian. It also shows that he feels strongly about the ‘Italian law’ which makes it more surprising when he goes against it as it suggests that his incestuous feelings for Catherine turned him into a complete different person.

Miller presents Eddie as a respectable image in the community, a husband and a guardian. Eddie feeling as a jealous lover leads him into conflict with his community. He placed his desires above family responsibilities. His respect and honour meant everything for him , but he was blinded by his love for Catherine, so everything else was forgotten. Eddie dies for, not that of the community values but for his own pride.