After a meeting with Alfieri about how he can get rid of Rodolpho and clain Catherine back as his own, he leaves the office and does not take the advice that has been given to him, but instead goes as far as to phone the immigration officers, telling them, “I want to report something. Illegal immigrants. Two of them.” This quote expresses that he is actually a cruel person inside, and he cannot control his anger. He does this because he wants rid of Rodolpho and does not want Catherine to marry him.
The reasons for this are numerous. Firstly, he thinks, or so he tells Catherine, that, “The guy is lookin’ for his break, that’s all he’s lookin for.” He also accuses Rodolpho of being a, “hit-and-run guy.” Eddie states truthfully that Rodolpho spends his money on, “a snappy new jacket,” or “a pointy pair of new shoes” instead of looking after, “his brother’s kids.”
Throughout the play, Eddie frequently tests Rodolphos manliness.
He likes to think that Rodolpho is weak. Eddie suggests with his reference to a ‘teeny mouse,’ that Rodolpho is weaker than a mouse. He thinks that a real man would have fought back, using more violence than Rodolpho did in one particular incident. However, a modern audience would see this differently. A real man would walk away from any violence and ignore it.
Eddie’s suggestion, “Come on, Rodolpho, I show you a couple of passes,” shows us that he would like to test Rodolpho, to see what kind of a man he really is.
Rodolpho takes it as a fun game, as he, “jabs at him, laughing.” However, we see that Eddie has a more serious nature when he strikes Rodolpho, causing him to, ‘stagger back.’ We learn that whereas Eddie shows his dislike for Rodolpho with aggressive actions, Rodolpho holds his back a little more. If it was not for Eddie’s protective feelings over his niece, there would be little hostility between the pair.
Another ridiculous factor that Eddie plays upon is the incorrect assumption that Rodolpho is gay. He tells Beatrice that Rodolpho, “sings on the ships,” and that he has “wacky hair.” He seems to think that for these reasons Rodolpho can not possibly be heterosexual as Eddie nor his friends participate in these things. The fact that it is something Eddie does not usually see men do, means that this is outside of his guidelines for manliness. This shows that Eddie has a very narrow mind. His view of gay men seems to be that they carry out acts, normally associated with women, such as sewing. He is saying that Rodolpho is gay and that this means he is not a man.
Both these assumptions are incorrect. He constantly pursues the issue as if it is a bad thing to be. He examines his idea by a ‘three kiss incident.’ (A fantastically thought out scene with extreme complexity in its subplot). Primarily, we presume that Rodolpho and Catherine have kissed. This makes an already drunk Eddie, angry. He kisses Catherine, his first physical, sexual gesture towards her. By kissing Catherine, Eddie is saying she will go with anyone. He is trying to prove to Rodolpho that he can do it too. This occurrence may shock the audience as it is inappropriate for an uncle to kiss his niece in this way.
He then asks Rodolpho, “What’re you gonna be?” In other words – are you gonna be a man? Then, he unexpectedly kisses Rodolpho, stating, “you see?” He is still trying to say that Rodolpho is gay. He may have the idea that this will deter Catherine from his side. Again, the reaction from the audience would be one of surprise. Eddie has constantly accused Rodolpho of being gay, when in fact the kiss that he performed himself, is the only homosexual act in “A View from the Bridge.” Eddie associates the fact that Rodolpho is gay with his almost pathetic reasons, which prove nothing about his sexuality. Then he himself kisses another man, a rather ironic act as it is more of a give away than Eddie had ever been able to find in Rodolpho.
As well as physical aggression, Eddie uses words to express his anger. He calls Marco, “son of a bitch.” this is a result of Marco spitting in his face when the authorities arrive to take them away. The audience sympathise with this display of aggression from Marco as Eddie purposefully let the immigration officers know the whereabouts of his wife’s cousins because of his jealous, aggressive and hostile nature. We are made to feel that he deserved Marco’s act of disrespect.
Eddie is the main source of aggression in ‘A View from the Bridge,’ and he is certainly the origin of it all. However, he is not the only cause. Catherine stands up to Eddie, for the sake of Rodolpho, telling him, “Let go, ya hear me! I’ll kill you!” Here Catherine uses her aggression to separate them. Her language here, is similar to the language used by Eddie and her threat shows how deeply she cares for Rodolpho.
We are also led to sympathise with Eddie as his relationship with Beatrice, is far from good. Indeed, in one part of the play, Beatrice tries to talk to him and he, ‘turns his head away.’ Eddie seems to care more about Catherine. However, this point could be argued, when at the very end of the play, whilst dying he cries, “oh, B.!” His hostile nature towards her is not shown here. Throughout the play, Eddie has shown a near hatred for his wife, but here, in his last words she is the one he calls for. This shows that he does love her. Catherine was young, she was an infatuation.
The three feelings, form a vicious circle, with each accentuating and inducing the next. Manliness foreshadows hostility and aggression, and without hostility, there can never be aggression. Finally, once aggression begins to run rampant, it is very difficult to control and simply grows, as is the case with Eddie. The hostility, aggression and manliness in this play, make it into the overwrought melodrama it is supposed to be. They are what keep us, as the readers or audience, on the edge of our seats.
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