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I think what is meant by this is that the people who were “justly shot” deserved to be so, but were shot “by unjustly men”, men other than the law who would not be in a position to carry out this justice in America. He says that the American way is more “civilised”, they now “settle for half” conveying that the law in America is more compromising, eradicating the violence in justice. This shows how a concept is treated differently by two cultures.
In the soliloquy he also talks about inevitability,
“every few years there is still a case . . . powerless as I, and watched it run its bloody course” The use of figurative language in this passage shows he is “powerless” to stop anything that will happen and he knows it will end in death. It sets us up for the leading events that occur in the play. It also shows that this has happened many times before “every few years” which emphasises the inevitability, provoking the audience to empathise with Alfieri and his powerlessness.
The first step in the chain of events that leads to Eddie’s downfall is when Catherine gets offered a job as a stenographer, the audience can see that Eddie doesn’t like this idea of Catherine getting a job, as he is not too keen on the neighbourhood in which she will be working in, “I don’t like the neighbourhood over there. ” This shows his over protectiveness of Catherine, as she takes her first step of independence.
He doesn’t want her to do so as he wants her to stay his “baby”.
Catherine is disheartened by Eddie’s disapproval which is shown in the stage directions, “CATHERINE enters with food, which she silently sets on the table” and also, “She doesn’t look at him, but continues ladling out food onto the plates”, This type of behaviour is mainly shown by younger children when they do something to displease their parents and illustrates how strong the bond between Eddie and Catherine is. Eddie is trying to stop Catherine from growing up which is impossible, he is fighting the inevitable and this will only end in misery.
On the other hand, Beatrice is keen for Catherine to start work as it will give her many new experiences and she knows that Catherine has grown up, “she’s no baby no more” and sooner or later will have to be married. With the arrival of Marco and Rodolpho, Eddie’s reputation as the head of the family begins to diminish and so does his respect; Catherine often disregards him at times, for example when Eddie asks Catherine for some coffee she doesn’t get up till she has been asked twice. In the Sicilian culture this is seen as being disrespectful. He then tries the destroy the reputation of Rodolpho in Catherine’s eyes,
“That’s right, He marries you he’s got the right to be an American citizen . . . lookin’ for his break, that’s all he’s lookin’ for” At first it seems that Eddie is just looking out for Catherine, trying to protect her, but as we know, his over protectiveness of Catherine is his fatal flaw, this can be seen as the beginning of Eddie’s journey towards his downfall. It also conveys that Eddie sees Rodolpho as a threat who will take Catherine away from him, the audience understands that Eddie acts in this manner for his love of Catherine and they sympathise for him.
The next scene is the first meeting Eddie has with Alfieri in the play. Alfieri is sitting alone in his office. When Eddie enters the room Alfieri describes his eyes as “tunnels”. This could show that he can only see one way out for Eddie’s situation, again repeating the idea of inevitability of Eddie’s fate. When Eddie sits he sits, “cap in hand” This shows that Eddie is a respectful man in front of authority following a hierarchy. In the conversation Eddie tries to justify his views by implying that Rodolfo is a homosexual.
Before he says this he “glances briefly over each shoulder”, which suggests to me that Eddie knows what he is saying is wrong, it also seems that he is scared as they are both are alone and no one would hear what they are saying, conveying to me that Eddie is cautious and distrustful of everyone. Throughout the conversation Eddie cuts in when Alfieri is talking, showing he is desperate to find a way to get rid of Rodolfo for good, but to no avail we begin to sympathise for Eddie as we know he hasn’t got any other way.
In the conversation Alfieri seems to be able to talk more openly about the situation arising in Eddie’s life, he gets to the point where he can clearly see what is happening, “She wants to get married, Eddie. She can’t marry you, can she? ” Being an intelligent man Alfieri can understand Eddie’s predicament and empathises with him, but he can also see that the love he feels for his niece is too strong and he feels that he should get over the fact that Catherine is growing up.
However, he is also aware that any advice he offers will be discarded, as Eddie is set on his fate. After Marco and Rodolfo have settled into the Carbone’s residence, the situation becomes tense between Rodolfo and Eddie. Eddie has become intolerant of Rodolfo and Marco at this point as he has expressed to the other characters that Rodolfo is using Catherine as a passport to America. However, the audience know that he really doesn’t believe this but is just finding an excuse. To get back at them Eddie makes a joke about Marco’s family,
“I mean, you know – they count the kids and there’s a couple extra than when they left? ” This comment made by Eddie sound like it would have been made by a woman, it shows us that Eddie is going against the Sicilian characteristics of being a man on the other hand Marco is quite the opposite at this moment, “No – no . . . The women wait, Eddie. Most. Most. Very few surprises. ” Marco is quick to guard the reputation of his wife which any respectable Sicilian man would do in this situation.
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