Arthur Miller presents Eddie Carbone as a tragic hero Essay
Arthur Miller presents Eddie Carbone as a tragic hero
The next major event in this scene is where Rodolfo and Catherine have been dancing to “Paper doll” The words “Paper doll” could represent Catherine, as Eddie is implying that Rodolfo only wants Catherine for his papers; his passport to the country. During this scene Eddie’s anger has been rising and he then makes an attempt to dishonour Rodolfo by making him look foolish and unmanly, “I mean like me . . . would be like in a dress store. ”
During this point Catherine and Rodolfo have stopped dancing and turned off the phonograph, showing that Rodolfo has taken notice of this remark and his pent up anger is shown when he unconsciously tears the newspaper in half. Eddie’s jealousy and anger has been rising throughout this scene and in another attempt to make Rodolfo look unmanly and foolish Eddie asks him for a sparring match. Eddie hurts Rodolfo by punching him, “He feints with his left . . . staggers Rodolfo. Marco rises”
He does this to illustrate his power over him and show to Catherine that he is weak and also to warn him this kind of behaviour is shown in animals where males fight each other for the right to mate. Marco has realised what is going on so he “rises” to have his presence felt by Eddie and to show him that he will back Rodolfo up. During this scene Miller has been building up tension through Eddie’s controversial joke to the sparring match as what seems to be “comradeship” and jokes, is really a way to get back at the two brothers.
At the end of this scene Marco and Eddie have a challenge to see who can lift a chair from one leg to above their heads. Eddie tries and tries but to no success the chair just, “leans over to the floor”. When Marco attempts this he raises the chair as if like a “weapon over Eddie’s head” this action is symbolic of Eddie’s fate as he dies because of Marco in the end. It is a gesture that foreshadows the future events yet to occur after this incident.
This challenge of strength was also a more blatant warning to Eddie by Marco to show that he could out power and even defeat him in a fight, we know this because of the stage directions, ” . . glare of warning into a smile of triumph” These show Marco’s facial expressions. He is smiling because he knows Eddie is no match for him, Eddie also knows this as his, “grin vanishes” ending the scene and act with a dramatic climax. Eddie cannot defeat Rodolfo and Marco by being “more of a man” so he is left with one option, betrayal, which brings on his downfall.
The next time Eddie encounters Alfieri is his final meeting with him. Eddie comes to him desperate to do something about Rodolfo and Marco as he is immersed by his jealousy after seeing Catherine come out of the same bedroom as Rodolfo in the previous scene. In this scene Alfieri again describes Eddie’s eyes as “tunnels” this repeated use of the word “tunnels” suggests that his fate is inevitable as a tunnel has only one way out and so does Eddie’s fate. In fact in this paragraph there are numerous phrases and words that suggest the downfall of Eddie is inevitable such as, “On December twenty-seventh I saw him next.
I normally . . . sat around looking out my window at the bay” It seems unusual for Alfieri to break from his routine by staying in his office as he is a busy man and staying just “looking out” the window is an illogical way to spend time, suggesting to me it was fate that made him stay in his office that day. Also the word “transfixed” shows the downfall of Eddie, the meaning of the word transfixed is to be fixed to the spot through fear. Alfieri is scared as he knows what is going to happen next and he is powerless to stop it from happening repeating this idea of inevitability.
Eddie uses the same excuses that Rodolfo is homosexual and that he is using Catherine as a way to stay in America. Alfieri tells him as he told him before, “you cannot stop it” but Eddie’s desperation drives him on. Alfieri warns him, “the law is only . . . drown you if you buck it now” Alfieri is trying to warn him about the implications that would arise if he was to go against the marriage of Catherine and Rodolfo when he says “law” he is also talking about the marriage however his warnings are futile as he “starts turning around” and goes to the phone booth.
Eddie knows now that there is nothing more he can do than to call the immigration bureau, his hastiness and desperation impairing his morals, making him go against the things he stands for. In the last scenes we see that Eddie has lost everything, as all of the community turn their backs on Eddie, “Lipari, the butcher, turns and starts up left”. He has informed the immigration about Marco and Rodolfo which is considered to be the most dishonourable thing a Sicilian man could do and so they have lost all respect they had for him.
Eddie still maintains his innocence as he never gave up fighting for his niece till he died and he stuck to his ways. Eddie is a tragic hero as he died because of his fatal flaw; his over possessive love of his niece Catherine. We see that he realises his mistake at the end as his last words are, “My B.! ” this suggests that Eddie has now understood that his loyalties should have stayed with Beatrice his wife. It is Alfieri that recognises that the death of Eddie should persuade you to think that, “it is better to settle for half”.
Alfieri also says that even though he knew that what Eddie did was bad there was still something in him that made him good, “something perversely pure calls to me from his memory” This conveys that Alfieri still thinks that Eddie is the “good guy” at the end of the play, as what he did was out of love a passion for his family, even though inevitably this would lead to his downfall and this was the reason why he died the way he did. At the end of the play we agree with Alfieri as the audience considers Eddie to have been hero in his own way.