From the beginning of the play we can tell that the place it is set, the Red Hook district of Brooklyn, is known to be a troublesome and yet unrestricted place to live. America is known to be a place of freedom, luxury and possibility, and this play expresses them all with the arrival of two immigrants by the name of Marco and Rodolpho. These two men seeking better opportunities have come to earn a better living for their families back in Italy and they stay with Eddie and Beatrice.
During their stay some controversial and shocking events take place which set up the tragic ending for Eddie, as it turns out that Marco is the man who inevitably kills Eddie Carbone.
Eddie Carbone’s character within this play can be viewed in two ways. He can be seen as a caring, respectful hero towards his ‘niece’ or he can be interpreted as an overprotective pervert. Catherine is not a blood relative of Eddie, she is just the niece of his wife, but there still seems that Eddie has a tight grip on Catherine.
Catherine has reached the age of 17 and should have the privileges of moving on and living her life without rules to abide by, but it seems Eddie can’t handle this and that is what leads him to his misjudged personality. From the beginning of the play Eddie takes the wrong approach and gets a bit hasty with Catherine over a dress that she has bought. Catherine’s reactions to Eddie’s comments are obviously anger, but that is soon reversed as the changing of subjects lightens the mood.
Eddie Carbone can be seen as a classic tragic hero by the audience, but the other characters within the play see the opposite and choose not to look for the hero in Eddie. His tactics of getting Catherine to understand him are poor and aggressive and this is what sends him to his tragic downfall. Read why change is constant and inevitable
Alfieri’s role in the play is unique and interesting. His character is something that you wouldn’t see in most plays, but his role in this play works well as he helps move the story along and give us extra information on the character of Eddie. His role as a lawyer has no big impact on the play, but he also talks to the audience as a narrator and moves the story on with his knowledge of what occurs. Alfieri begins the story with some brief background information on the persona of Eddie Carbone. He talks about everything as if he is reading out of a book, but also speaks as if he has been in the shadows watching this story unfold as it happened stage by stage. The accusation of Alfieri playing a ‘God’ type role in this play could be made, but there are many opinions as to what Arthur Miller meant by inserting this ingenious character into the play.
Arthur Miller’s stage directions in this play are very detailed and every one of them makes the story that much better. Every glance and stare gives us an insight into what’s going to happen and makes the play predictable. This may be thought of as a bad thing, but in fact it is good because it makes the audience feel more anticipation as they await to find out whether or not their predictions turn out to be correct. Every stage direction helps the audience to understand the emotions of the characters at that present time. This makes it easier for them to understand the play as it goes on because they see the various different emotions throughout. Arthur Miller’s creativity in this play is unique and original and brings out the best of the inevitable story of Eddie Carbone.
From the day that Marco and Rodolpho arrive, the tension begins to build up as it is Eddie showing his male dominance in the family to try and intimidate the two brothers from Italy. Eddie and Marco don’t say anything face to face in Act One that sparks an argument, but the fact that Eddie is taunting Rodolpho makes Marco stand up and defend his brother. From the beginning of the play we know that Eddie and Catherine have an odd relationship, but as the play progresses Catherine begins to drift apart from Eddie. As Catherine and Rodolpho seem to be enjoying each others company, Eddie becomes jealous and tries to lecture Catherine away from Rodolpho. He doesn’t succeed, but he does get into the head of Catherine and makes her think about it. At first, Beatrice is calm and collected about it all, but as she continues to see Eddie confronting Catherine, she takes matters into her own hands and has words with Eddie.
Eddie has tension between every main character in the play by then end of Act One. It seems that Eddie keeps digging his own grave as the play moves on, but he doesn’t realise that what he’s doing is upsetting and hurting other people. At the end of Act One, the tension between Eddie and Marco begins to unveil in full force. As Marco invites Eddie to attempt to lift the wooden chair from the ground with one hand, it is as if Marco wants to see Eddie fail. Marco knows that he can do it himself, but wants to see Eddie humiliate himself after his little boxing fight with Rodolpho. This is the first point where Marco steps up and shows his dominance over Eddie to try and intimidate him into backing down and staying in his rocker chair.
Eddie Carbone shows his masculinity throughout this play and doesn’t back down from his spot at the top of the family. Catherine has turned 17, but she still feels the opinions of Eddie and is talked to like a little child. Catherine doesn’t know how to change this and because Eddie is so overpowering, he gets into her head a lot. Beatrice knows Eddie well and knows what he is like, but when he gets to a certain point she knows when and how to bring him down. Eddie’s masculinity is strong and he is struck down when he comes across the multiple talents of Rodolpho. He believes that a man should not be singing and dancing and interprets Rodolpho as a homosexual. Marco watches Eddie carefully during the play and stays quiet in the background. But when the time arises, Marco steps up and shows his masculinity to Eddie. Eddie sees this as a good thing at the start because they have a similarity, but it turns out to be the opposite as Eddie and Marco slowly become enemies.
Within this play, the role of Sicilian Culture does come up as it is the two immigrants Marco and Rodolpho that come from Sicily. ‘Family interest always comes first’ so if Rodolpho wants to sing and dance then Eddie should oblige. But Eddie doesn’t approve of this and Marco takes note of Eddie’s disliking. The fact that Sicily has been ruled by foreigners for most of its history may torment Marco, as he is now living and obiding by the rules of America. Some of his anger, may be because of this and not entirely because of Eddie’s constant negativity.
The tragic ending to ‘A View From The Bridge’ is inevitable as Eddie Carbone takes himself down that road. Eddie’s jealousy and control over Catherine leads him to his demise, but he is still loved and cared for by his wife Beatrice. She has been a part of this all the way through, but no matter what she has stuck by him and believed in him. She knows exactly what he is like and knows what he is capable of, but she is unable to prevent him from digging himself an early grave. Marco’s tests of masculinity bring Eddie down to his knees as he knows he has been surpassed, but does not like to admit it. From the beginning of the play we see Eddie’s attitude towards Catherine, but it isn’t seen as that bad. As Rodolpho arrives, Eddie’s attitude steps up to a new level and his tactics of keeping Catherine away from Rodolpho are clever and shocking. But they won’t work and by the end of Act One we can already tell where the story is going to end.
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