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This play is one that portrays real life people in real life areas. It is set in a street in the town of Red Hook, a tenement building with a skeletal look to it is the main acting area, showing only the living and dining room which are sparse but still homely. “There is a rocker front; a round dining table at centre, with chairs; and a portable phonograph”. This room also contains a bedroom door and an opening to the kitchen, but neither interior’s are seen. This ‘setting is a typical kind of society in Red Hook in the 1950’s. The main plot of the play is that Beatrice’s cousins are being illegally emigrated from Sicily.
Everyone has to keep quiet for this to work, however it goes wrong when Eddie is jealous of Rodolfo, one of the cousins, and does something he lied about to his very last breath. Red Hook is portrayed as a dangerous place by Alfieri, the narrator. I noticed this when he refers to a story that he tells the audience, “Frankee Yale himself was cut precisely in half by a machine gun on the corner of Union Street, just two blocks away”. The image portrayed from this quote, is one of violence and danger, where the law was created by gangs, the main issues being law, immigration, justice and injustice.
The community of Red Hook are very close; the people stick together as if they are a huge family. I know this from the story that is told about ‘the boy that snitched on his own uncle’. He was disowned by the whole community of Red Hook who, “spit on him” as he walks past them in the street. People immigrate to Red Hook hoping for a better life, but they find that it is better known as, “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.
” This doesn’t sound like the glamorous lifestyle they were hoping for but they still, “settle for half” and like it better. The idea of living the ‘American Dream’ is quite involved in this play. To live the American Dream is to be rich and famous and live a life of luxury. Also, you are working to provide for your family, living for your country and being young with freedom. Rodolfo, more than Marco, Beatrice’s cousins, want to live the American Dream. Marco wants to be able to provide for his family back home, but Rodolfo is more of the dreamer, he wants to live like the celebrities.
For them, America is a massive place of opportunity and chance. Everyone had a right to live the American Dream, and like most Italian immigrants they feel they had such a hard life in Italy, it is their chance to live this dream and become American citizens. Eddie Carbone is the masculine character at the start of the play. He emigrated from Italy and became an American citizen; living the way average Americans live. He was, “a longshoreman working the docks from Brooklyn Bridge to the breakwater where the open sea begins.
” Not the most famous and glamorous way to earn a living, but he still carries on providing for his family in this way; like he has done for many years, a sign of his masculinity. To be known as masculine, you need to be able to keep yourself together and not show your emotions, Eddie encompasses his emotion and aggression the most in the play. When Eddie says to Catherine, “listen, you’ve been giving me the willies,” here he is telling the audience that when Catherine walks around he gets this strange feeling inside of him, he is telling everyone the emotions he is going through when she is around, making him appear to be not as masculine.
However, I feel that Eddie has a lot of masculine features and also an aggressive personality. Eddie is the head of the house, the provider of the money, as he is the only working person in the house, “I’ll buy the tickets. “, “This is my house. ” He expects women to do everything for him and is very much a chauvinist, “bring in the supper. (Catherine goes out)” he is a physical labourer, you can see by his job, and he is the protector of the house.
He shows his aggression when he says, “now don’t aggravate me,” to Catherine and, “Now Don’t Get Me Mad” these show that Eddie is loosing his temper and is causing tension without realising it is him who is causing it all. Eddie Carbone’s ideas of what makes a man manly are that they have to like to fight; they have to act as though they are in charge and can take anything you throw at them, “put sump’m behind it, you can’t hurt me. ” He also does stereotypical manly things like; “He suddenly gets up and pulls his pants up over his belly” These are all signs of Eddie being manly. This then leads to aggression.
The stage directions show a lot of this aggression of Eddies, firstly, “He has been unconsciously twisting the newspaper into a tight roll. ” Secondly, “He strides over to Marco. ” The word stride shows a forceful motion, and thirdly, “He is weirdly elated, rubbing his fists in his palms. ” All of these actions or motions show aggression, the audience have probably noticed this too. At the beginning of the play, where these quotes were taken, the aggression is on quite a small scale, but as we go on to the end of the play, all this aggression causes conflict, “Eddie : You lied about me, Marco.
Now say it. Come on now, say it! ” , “Marco : Anima-a-a-l! Eddie lunges with the knife. Marco grabs his arm, turning the blade inward and pressing it home as the women and Louis and Mike rush in and separate them, and Eddie, the knife still in his hand, falls to his knees before Marco. ” This aggression finally ends in Eddie’s own death. This seen shows that Eddie wasn’t as masculine as he made out he was. Marco was able to twist a knife that was in Eddie’s hand and manage to over power Eddie. This makes Eddie’s death look pathetic and not masculine at all.