The writer creates a tense, aggressive and misleading atmosphere. Miller creates a tense atmosphere as Eddie is attacking Rodolfo with sneery comments to lower his self esteem and make Rodolfo look bad in Catherine’s eyes. The quote ‘that’s why the water front is no place for him (Rodolfo)’ Eddie is making Rodolfo feel unwanted and like this place is no place for you. Also this could imply that Catherine also no place for him and he needs to back off.
In the stage direction Miller make the atmosphere tense by I quote ‘(has has been unconsciously twisting the newspaper into a tight role)’ and everyone is looking at him and acknowledging him knowing how much Rodolfo annoys him. Then miller writes in the stage direction about the paper ‘suddenly tears in two’ this doesn’t only show eddies frustration and strength but also could symbolise Eddie and Catherine’s relationship, it shows if Eddie keeps on pushing her and twisting their relationship and eventually it will break and Catherine will have to make a decision and that is exactly what happens later on in the play when Catherine has to chose between staying with Eddie or going with Rodolfo and she finally feels she needs to stand up for herself and grow up so goes with Rodolfo.
Eddie then moves on to how Marco and him should go see a fight together, and constantly addressing Marco showing he feels Marco as the only person who can put Rodolfo down a peg or two, he loves the dominance over Rodolfo so then takes advantage of this by always asking for Marco’s approval on matters on how Rodolfo has done bad, like when Catherine and Rodolfo were out late at the picture’s and Eddie states about how Rodolfo might get picked up if he’s out that late and how he ‘dragged’ Catherine off and shouldn’t be out so late with her. Marco asks Eddie what has he done and Eddie tells him about being late In and Marco say to Rodolfo ‘you come home early now’ Eddie loves how Marco can embarrass and be dominant over Rodolfo.
When Eddie is talking about fighting Marco is uneasy because he can see that it’s not a good idea, but Eddie is making the atmosphere so misleading he is being nice and saying things like you want to come and I treat you and he says ‘I’ll buy the tickets’ at this point the reader is not sure of what is going to happen but we have this thought at the back of our head that its not a good idea and foreshadowing danger.
Then the atmosphere turns violent and tense, it starts out Eddie saying about how he could teach Marco how to box, then he turns to Rodolfo and then states ‘well come on, I’ll teach you’ instantly this seems an innocent gesture from anyone else but not Eddie, he knows what he is doing and just wants to get back at Rodolfo. He is saying ‘I’ll show you a couple a passes’ these are all excuses he just wants a chance to inflict pain on Rodolfo. Boxing is another manly sport that feminine Rodolfo can’t do, and Eddie knows this so takes advantage of this weakness knowing he won’t be able to defend himself so expects Rodolfo to be weak.
It then turns out that Rodolfo is very good and both Eddie and Marco are praising him so this all seems like a bit of fun but then Eddie is egging him on to do worse and saying ‘don’t pity on me…throw it’ we then get this superstition that its not going to turn out well. Eddie then states ‘you cant hurt me’ but we know this is not true because Rodolfo has already hurt him but through Catherine instead, Eddie knows this and takes advantage of this all the time making the atmosphere tense and aggressive, Eddie knows he has sort of lost Catherine to Rodolfo and is determined not to lose to Rodolfo at something Eddie is good at.
Catherine then becomes scared and is the only one sensing trouble so asks ‘what are they doin?’ and Beatrice doesn’t think anything of it and is happy they are finally getting on and can’t see the trouble behind it. Eddie seems fine and happy then all of a sudden fakes a punch and lands his right on Rodolfo, Rodolfo staggers. Marco then rises this shows that Marco is not afraid to stand up for his family and is kind of warning to Eddie.
Then Catherine ‘rushes to Rodolfo’ this will seriously anger Eddie as it seems Catherine has already made the decision to go with Rodolfo instead. Eddie senses Catherine is angry with him so instantly comments on how Rodolfo is fine and saying ‘did I hurt you kid?’ he is trying to keep the atmosphere neutral and not get on the bad side of Catherine. Beatrice then puts and end to it and says ‘that’s enough’ to Eddie. He then says to Marco ‘I’ll teach him again’ and in the stage directions It states ‘Marco nods dubiously’ this shows that Marco weary of this. Eddie is made out to be a bully and Rodolfo seems even better in the eyes of Catherine for being so good at boxing and not fighting back to Eddie’s punch.
After the boxing the atmosphere becomes tense again Rodolfo puts on the record paper doll and we know that this record has created quite a tense atmosphere in the past because the lyrics symbolises the love triangle between Eddie, Catherine and Rodolfo. The lyrics state about how Catherine is Rodolfo’s girl and not Eddie’s anymore and ‘It’s tough to love a doll that’s not your own’ and that’s how Eddie feels. We know that this was not a good idea for Rodolfo to do then he asks Catherine to dance.
Marco can see that Eddie is uncomfortable with this, so Marco sets him a challenge he places a chair in front of him and asks him to lift the chair by one leg and with one arm behind your back, Marco only demonstrates this though, this may imply that Marco wants to be the dominant one and show Eddie how it’s done after Eddie’s pathetic attempt to do it, Eddie then proceeds to accept the challenge it.
Eddie can’t do it and never faults himself and how it’s because the chair is on an angle not because he isn’t strong enough. This could also symbolise about how Eddie feels his judgments are right about Rodolfo and now Marco needs to show Eddie some dominance and prove Eddie is wrong. Marco then raises the chair exactly how he showed Eddie and he carries on hiring the chair all the way above his head and holding it there. The stage directions state ‘Marco gives of a glare of warning’ to Eddie all the while still holding the chair over his head, he is stating to Eddie to back off and leave Rodolfo alone before he does something his regrets. His glare then turns into a ‘smile of triumph’ this shows that he has dominance over Eddie and control. Marco ends the scene as the most powerful man.
All the while the atmosphere has a constant theme of tension and aggressiveness. In this extract there is pathos which means you feel sympathy for a someone and this particular person is Eddie. He never seems to get what he wants and has been seen as a bully and not a nice person in everyone’s eyes. We feel pity for him as Catherine has shown she has chosen Rodolfo over Eddie and now Eddie seems powerless and not the man of the house when Marco shows his act of dominance.