Although Eddie’s jealousy clearly attributes to bringing about the final fight, Eddie’s actual death isn’t solely caused by it. Instead, the action of bringing the knife is the direct and immediate cause of his death. At the very end of act 2, Miller discretely slips into the stage directions “Eddie springs a knife into his hand” (page 84). This small direction is incredibly significant as without the appearance of the knife, Eddie’s death wouldn’t have occurred or would at least have been postponed.
Since it is Eddie who brings the knife, it’s his own action that leads to his death. In spite of this, Eddie’s death at the end of the play could be construed as inevitable, due to the genre of the play.
A key component in any tragedy is the death of a hero in the conclusion and A View from the Bridge is no different. Eddie portrays the role of the tragic hero – a strong male character faced with a dilemma – and ultimately has to die in the end of the play.
This explains the inclusion of the knife in the fight; as the whole second act of the play leads up to the fight, it is the conclusion scene that every tragedy has and results in death, just as every tragedy does. Eddie’s death in the end of the play was inevitable however his death in the fight scene was directly caused by his own actions. On the other hands, it is Marco involvement in the fight that actually causes Eddie’s death.
From his introduction in the play Marco holds a certain stature of control over Rodolpho; specifically in Act One upon their introduction, Marco insists to Rodolpho “Yes, yes.
You’ll be quiet” (page 33). This control is actually a sign of Marco’s care for Rodolopho as he is trying to keep him quiet to as not to annoy the man who has agreed to put them up. Marco’s protective instincts for Rodolpho become apparent at the end of Act One when Eddie teasingly play fights with Rodolpho; Eddie mildy staggers Rodolpho and the stage directions immediately indicate that “Marco rises” (page 57). Eddie’s stance in the boxing suggests that he is threatening Rodolpho by indicating that he is stronger than him and could hurt him if necessary.
Marco’s response to this is to challenge Eddie to lift a chair up and, when Eddie fails, to lift it himself. This not only proves Marco’s strength but also leaves the pair face to face in a threatening position with the chair “raised like a weapon over Eddie’s head” (page 57). This very tense moment sets the scene for the final fight quite clearly; it shows Marco’s position as superior to Eddie and the protective nature of Marco. In the final scene, as Eddie lunges, “Marco grabs his arm, turning the blade inward and pressing it home” (page 84).
The movement of Marco as he “grabs his [Eddie’s] arm” and turns “the blade inward” shows that it was Marco who delivered the final blow and is ultimately responsible for Eddie’s death however, Eddie quite clearly lunges at Marco, beforehand, and Eddie did of course bring the knife. The role of Marco, therefore, is of the one who delivers Eddie’s death but does not cause it. He is merely protecting himself and Rodolpho and clearly never had the intention for this brawl to lead to Eddie’s death as it is not he who brings the knife.
As for the role of Catherine, she is, quite clearly, central to the cause of Eddie’s death. Both Eddie’s reasoning for his aggression to Rodolpho – that Rodolpho is disrespecting him – and Beatrice’s – that Eddie’s feelings for Catherine are more than just fatherly – are due to the role of the Catherine. In the start of the play, Catherine can be seen to be flirting with Eddie, asking if “you [Eddie] like it? ” (page 13) in reference to her skirt. However, this can also be interpreted as a young girl wanting approval from her fatherly figure.
Despite this, her relationship with Eddie is clearly close and his jealousy is present from this early point in the play as he mentions that “you [Catherine] ain’t ‘all the girls'” (page 14). Eddie gets more and more protective of Catherine and agitated with Rodolpho after they stumble in late one night. After questioning them as to the whereabouts that evening, Miller shows Eddie’s “little patience waning” (page 39) as he asks Rodolpho to leave them alone to confront her. Eddie is clearly agitated at this point and is trying to maintain his politeness whilst he tries to make Rodolpho leave them alone for a moment.
This anger continues to grow and twice he confronts Alfieri about what he can do to make Rodolpho leave before calling immigration. The main reason for this attitude is his jealousy and stubbornness in relation to Catherine which may in turn be interpreted as fatherly or sexual feelings for her; as a fatherly figure, he is worried that Rodolpho is homosexual and scamming her for admission as an American citizen and sexually he is clearly jealous that Catherine is engaging in a relationship with a boy.
Catherine is very much the root cause of Eddie’s death – his feelings are caused by her before Rodolpho even shows up and this leads to him reporting Marco and Rodolpho to immigration and, in turn, the fight and his death. Rodolpho exacerbates this problem, however, Catherine is the issue that brings about his death. But, this isn’t neccesarily her fault. Eddie’s jealousy seems to appear like a fatherly protective attitude and she seems to dismiss it as simply that as any young girl would. Catherine, therefore, does cause Eddie’s death but rather sets the fight in motion.
A View from the Bridge’s ending is caused by all of these different things. Firstly, the need for Eddie to suffer the consequences of his betrayal is made vital by Arthur Miller’s intention to reflex the events he suffered through in Cold War America. The genre, also, made it necessary for Eddie to die in order for A View from the Bridge to be a true tragedy. The play itself attributes the death of Eddie to several key things – His actions in bringing about the fight, his actions in the fight, Marco’s defensive stance and Catherine and Rodolpho’s relationship.
Firstly, it is important to realise that without Eddie bringing the knife and attacking Marco and Marco’s self-defensive actions, Eddie would not have died. However, Eddie’s death is inevitable due to the key features defining the play and therefore, Eddie’s death at that moment is mostly caused by him bringing the knife; this weapon changes the fight from a brawl to a battle to the death and it is Eddie who makes that changes. Next, the circumstances that led up to the fight are important also – Catherine and Rodolpho’s relationship, Marco’s protective attitude to Rodolpho and Eddie’s jealousy and stubbornness.
Of course, Catherine and Rodolpho’s relationship cause Marco to act protectively and Eddie to act on his jealousy however whilst Marco merely asserts his strength to Eddie in the chair lifting scene, Eddie’s jealous actions – calling immigration – cause Marco to turn the competition into a fight. Therefore, in both the development of the fight and the actual physical attack, Eddie’s jealous and stubborn actions cause Marco to take their aggressive relationship to the next level and ultimately cause Eddie’s death.