Eddie Carbone from ‘A View From The Bridge’ is a creation of Arthur Miller, ‘A View From The Bridge’ evolves around Eddie Carbone’s personality, everything and anything he does causes a consequence. He is used as a means of raising several themes all closely relating to attachment and relationships.
Eddie represents how one may react in various demanding scenarios.
Eddie Carbone is introduced by Alfieri in his first opening scene as an Italian lower-class worker living in New York a “forty – a husky, slightly overweight longshoreman”; a longshore worker is one who works on a dock loading and unloading goods.
The word husky creates a sturdy, dominant and possibly worn sculpture of Eddie, this is probably due to this career.
Alfieri and Eddie have a unique bridge throughout the play; Alfieri comes from a ‘upper-class’ background, this can bee seen from his job as a “lawyer” whereas Eddie lives amounts the ‘lower-class’; this within the time the play was produced, the ‘lower-class’ were treaded more as second-class human beings with less opportunities to make it up the social ranks; therefore to see these to bond in such a strong manner is a very rare sight.
Alfieri, a hardworking lawyer, is seen to be the narrator through the play, judging and summing-up each characters personality and appearance as well as introducing their roles and status, During ‘Act One’ Alfieri is the first character to take the light, he starts his opening speech by saying “You wouldn’t of known it, but something amusing has just happened.
You see how uneasily they nod to me?” this rhetorical question refers to the action beforehand were “The two pitchers nod to him as he passes,” this tells the reader Alfieri is quite presumptuous of the readers communicational knowledge, giving reason to assume Alfieri lives alongside wealthier individuals where ‘street knowledge’ isn’t as recognized; he continues to explain stating “I often think that behind that suspicious little nod of theirs lie three thousand years of distrust.”
By three thousand years of distrust Alfieri is reminding the reader about the Battle of Marathon 490 BC in which the “pichters” relations had fort and lost. Just by the opening scene the themes of betrayal and dishonesty are unveiled and continue to emerge throughout the play and at the end of the play have an inexcusable consequence resulting in Eddies death.
Alfieri describes Eddie saying “His eyes were like tunnels: I saw that it was only a passion that had moved into his body like a stranger.” This quote uses figurative imagery to describe his eyes to be like tunnels, through a metaphoric perspective this shows Eddie may have seen a diverse range of people just like car through a tunnel; some good, some bad; this also gives Eddie a reason to be so protective over Catherine.
From the beginning of the play Eddie’s status in his neighborhood towers above the rest,
even though he neglects his wife and miscommunicates with Catherine he shows a significant value to them not just as a provider.
Eddie, as the head of the house feels he cannot show any sencitive emtion, this is showns during the opening scence of the Carbone house when Cathrine says “Hi Eddie!” Eddie’s stage directions then tell us “Eddie is please and therefore about it; he hangs up his cap and jacket” here he is hiding his true emotions and playing the role of the ‘Macho male.
Marco and Rodolfo arrive early into the play but from the first few pages it is easy to tell they swing the tone of the home; once the two arrive Eddie’s stage directions tell us “(he is sizing up Rodolfo and there is a concealed suspicion)” Eddie here has detected a new macho presence, he decides later to ‘test’ the two, for Rodolfo he questions his strength, he teaches Rodolfo how to box and ‘accidentally’ hits him with his might, this doesn’t effect Rodolfo only startling him causing Eddie to realize he no longer physically is in control resulting in Eddie feeling he has lost his unique presence.
He also tests Marco asking him to raise a chair by the leg over his head, Eddie attempts the task whilst looking as if it isn’t bothering him and ends up failing miserably; when Marco takes to the challenge the stage directions tell us “a strained tension gripping his eyes and jaw; his neck stiff, the chair raised like a weapon over Eddie’s head” this shows major concentration, unveiling a strong comparison over both characters determination and will, in addition to this, the word “Weapon” is used as Marco succeeds, as a metaphor this represents threat and danger toward Eddie; also Eddie’s stage directions (“Eddie’s grin vanishes as he absorbs his look”) tell us he understands that the gesture is a veiled threat, causing Eddie once again to seem powerless and feels that Marco and Rodolfo are no longer subordinate to him.
From the beginning there is a blatancy Eddie maintains a blind compassion for Catherine, he tells Catherine in a heated conversation “I promised your mother on her deathbed” which tells the reader he is a father figure in Catherine’s life, therefore at a fundamental value to her; this supplementary love from Catherine may have been misinterpreted by Eddie causing him to ardor her beyond the norm.
As the play progresses Catherine feels the need to conform with other girls her age, although Eddie strongly disagrees and looks brawny out for her; when Eddie comments on Catherine’s posture Catherine replies “Those guys look at all the girls”
Eddie responds “you a’int all the girls'” from this quote you can see Eddie puts Catherine on a pedestal above other girls, this hints Eddie is too controlling and possibly guiding her away from what she wants in life; although, on the other hand it may be that Eddie is in love with Catherine which is causing his protectiveness over her.
During the play Catherine is morphing into a more independent woman in comparison to the elder generation of her time who relied solely on men; further through the play Catherine slowly begins questioning her old convicted identity, Eddie attempts to haul back her new found confidence but fails with every effort. Catherine’s confidence is boosted gradually by Rodolfo who tells Catherine “to hell with Eddie,” physiologically Catherine is shocked by this comment after years of never thinking of herself and entirely about Eddie, this newly unearthed confidence found by Rodolfo causes Eddie to become jealous and seek revenge.
Eddies dialogue throughout the play is very old-fashioned, his vocabulary is very limited showing a sparse education, possibly giving reason for his beliefs on superabundance when encouraging Catherine to continue with her studies in further education.
“Yiz ever work on the piers in Italy?” he also uses colloquial slang such as “Yiz” an abbreviation for “You” which shows his community understanding and implies a lack of grammatical knowledge.
His views on women also link with his traditional values on how women’s roles are carried and how ‘the man’ should be in control, this interlinks with the time period in when the play is set. During the 1940s the roles of men and women were very set out, boundaries were socially allot more obvious and for a man to not be dominant in a relationship was pretty much a taboo; in the year 2009 women and men are allot more balanced in hierarchy, both men and women are now seen as one and set-out relationships and arranged marriages are a lot less popular due to social advances.
The theme of identity is also introduced by Eddie, once Beatrice’s cousins join the family picture, Eddie feels his reputation is slowly eroding and repeats “I want my name” and also “I want my respect” during arguments mainly with Beatrice; Auther Miller uses Eddie here to present respect and how Eddie as an Alfa male cannot cope with extra competition giving him a ‘new’ position as less of a authoritative figure, this loss of power brings Eddie major consequences.
Eddie tells Catherine that “he don’t bless me, Katie” Eddie is becoming aware of the situation between Rodolfo and Catherine and is hasty to express his judgment; this somewhat is true as throughout the play Rodolfo gradually manipulates Catherine’s bearings in love as-well as in life; building Catherine’s self-esteem but on the other hand destroying her bridge between her and Eddie.
Jealousy and envy gradually get the best of Eddie and he gives in and calls the immigration office, this raises the issue of betrayal as Marco and Rodolfo laid their trust with in Eddie; additionally the bridge I once described between Alfieri and Eddie is demolished due to this betrayal. Even-though Alfieri is a forgive full type and Eddie promised him he wouldn’t tell the immigration office he still did, taking advantage of Afieris kindheartedness. Both these broken bonds cause all the characters in ‘A view from the bridge’ to split leaving Alfieri in the middle and Eddie stranded on his own. Eddie’s ruined reputation leaves Eddie weak and open to attack, this causes him to have unusual emotional conversations and to break into tears.
Eddie feels Beatrice should take his side in this feud although she sees Eddie as a changed man asking him “My God, what did you do?”
Earlier in the play Eddie talks to Catherine about a boy who rang the immigration office on his uncle telling her “You’ll never see him no more, a guy do a thing like that? How’s he gonna show his face?” this quote shows Eddie believes dignity and respect are fundamental in his neighborhood, by saying “How’s he gonna show his face?”
Face, meaning identity and how can ones identity be welcomed after turning on one of his own, Eddie unquestionably turns on his own morals and demolishes his status on the totem-pole his name stands on.
Death in the play emerges in various scenes and is used to mix issues together and to make the play allot more entertaining. The final scene shows Eddie in his inner-core after weeks of tension. Eddie is seen on the street, exposed to his community whom are horrified to hear what he has done.
The language used to describe his death is highly exhilarating, Marco finally stands up for himself telling Eddie “Animal! You go on your knees to me!” creating a stand off for the neighbors to spectate. Eddie attempts to kill Rudlpho but fails, in a non-extreme situation this would cause Eddie embarrassment instead leaves Eddie laid slain.
Although Eddie shows a lack of attention to his wife Beatrice, you can see he still cares for her; during the last scenes of Eddie’s life he quietly says to her “My B.!” due to his mannerisms being broken down bit by bit through the play he finally realizes what he has lost and shows his love to his dearest wife before “‘He dies in her arms”.
From beginning to end ‘A view from the bridge’ circuits around what Eddie does and how he does it, leaving other characters to adapt to what he does until enough becomes enough leaving Eddie with no other choice, I believe Eddie is a misunderstood character who finds it hard accept new people due to fear of loosing what he cares about mostly.