‘Eddie is presented as a forceful, energetic and obsessive protagonist’, How far do you agree? In answer to this, I agree to a certain extent with the statement, the points about being forceful and obsessive especially. Eddie is the main character of the play. He is husband to Beatrice, uncle by marriage and also the only fatherly figure to Catherine. Marco and Rodolpho are cousins of Beatrice, therefore family, but not by blood, to Eddie. Alfieri acts as both narrator and character in the play, he is Eddie’s lawyer.
Act one starts with Alfieri and his monologue, setting the play. It then moves on to a scene with Eddie and Catherine. Eddie has just arrived home to find Catherine dressed differently to normal, more grown up. Eddie is displeased by this, and tells her, when she is offended and responds, Eddie says ‘Now don’t aggravate me, Katie, you are walkin’ wavy! I don’t like the looks they’re givin’ you in the candy store’, the way Eddie says this, with an exclamation mark, suggests that he is annoyed and angry, he is acting very protective about Catherine, even though she is 17 years old and not his real daughter, this shows that he is being very forceful.
The next stage directions are ‘Catherine almost in tears because he disapproves’, this shows that the way that Eddie said this, angrily and forcefully, was upsetting to Catherine. Eddie persists through the scene about Catherine’s appearance, showing that he can be obsessive, but drops it when Beatrice enters and he reveals the news of the cousins’ arrival. Eddie is then told about Catherine’s job offer, he is reluctant at first, asking all kinds of questions such as ‘Where’s the job?
What company?’ showing that he is disturbed about the possibility of Catherine taking a job, and needs to know more. He is eventually persuaded into letting her take the job, and he says ‘But believe me, Katie, the less you trust, the less you’ll be sorry’, this shows that Eddie maybe has trouble trusting people, and he is obsessive about Katie, and her safety where she is experiencing new situations and people, such as in work.
The point about trust is also emphasized when the cousins arrive, at first Eddie seems energetic, he is laughing shaking hands, making friends with the cousins. Marco is presented as the older brother, he is married and has three kids, whilst Rodolpho has no plans to marry and consequently has no children. Whilst they are talking about money, the stage directions say ‘Eddie, coming more and more to address Marco only’, which shows that Eddie has decided that Marco is the more responsible out of the two cousins, the one with more authority. Because before their arrival, Eddie was the only male presence in the house, maybe this suggests that Eddie wants to impress his high status to the cousin which could be interpreted as forceful and untrusting in Marco and his brother.
Furthermore, when Rodolpho sings, Eddie uses his status to stop him singing, saying that they will cause for suspicion when there has never been a singer in the house, and then suddenly someone starts singing. This shows a forceful and obsessive manner for their safety. Even more so when he sees Catherine’s high heels and tells her sternly to take them off. The nest stage directions say ‘Eddie is sizing up Rodolpho, and there is a concealed suspicion’ which again emphasizes the trust problem, and Eddie forcing his status. The next scene is Beatrice and Eddie waiting for Catherine and Rodolpho to return home, Eddie is agitated and worried for Catherine’s safety.
Eddie goes on to expresses his dislike towards Rodolpho, he says ‘That’s a nice kid? He gives me the heebie-jeebies’ which shows that he thinks there is something not right about Rodolpho. He expresses this opinion a lot throughout the whole of Act one trying to force it on to Beatrice and Catherine, which shows that he is being obsessive and energetic. Firstly on pages 34 and 35 he says ‘He (Rodolpho) sings on the ships, didja know that?’, and ‘He’s like a weird’, this suggests that Eddie thinks the fact that Rodolpho sings is weird and not right.
Eddie also says ‘And with that wacky hair; he’s like a chorus girl or sump’m’, this quote shows Eddie’s first signs of his theory of Rodolpho’s sexuality. He becomes obsessive with it, and finds all Rodolpho’s ‘flaws’ and picks at them and finds reasons to suggest that he is gay and emphasises them. He finds Rodolpho making a dress for Catherine, then finds him cooking. Eddie becomes obsessed and on page 41 tells Catherine his feelings, who reacts in Rodopho’s defence. She says she is in love with Rodolpho, which upsets Eddie. He says to Catherine ‘Katie, don’t break my heart, listen to me’ this shows that maybe Eddie, whether he is aware of it or not, may have feelings beyond what he should towards his niece. He is forceful and obsessive and doesn’t want to let her go, either in a protective, fatherly way, or in an envious way.
On page 34, when he is awaiting Rodolpho and Catherine, he is very opinionated and impatient with Beatrice, when she disagrees with what he is saying when he tells her his views on Rodolpho. Beatrice says ‘When am I gonna be your wife again, Eddie?’ which suggests that their relationship hasn’t been going well recently, maybe because of Eddie’s mixed feelings towards Catherine. Furthermore, at the end of Act one, page 56, Eddie’s forcefulness and obsessiveness is portrayed yet again, he suggests teaching Rodolpho how to box, and takes this opportunity to showcase his status in an energetic and forceful way. However, his status is challenged and compromised when Marco then tells Eddie to lift a chair by the leg with one arm, Eddie fails. Marco then demonstrates his power and intimidates Eddie by lifting the chair up above his head with ease and stares him straight in the eyes. This makes Eddie uncomfortable and his attempt at being forceful fails, he is left, shocked.
Finally, when Eddie was first disturbed by Rodolpho, he went to his lawyer, Alfieri, sharing his problems. He did so secretively and had not told anyone that he was going to visit Alfieri; this also shows that he is an obsessive character in the book. Whilst sharing his problems to Alfieri, Eddie was so worked up that he didn’t let Alfieri have much input. When Alfieri did get a word in, he would say how there is no hard proof to Eddie’s theories, no evidence.
Eddie didn’t want to hear it and cut Alfieri a lot, for example: Eddie had a big bit of text expressing his views on Rodolpho, and when he paused Alfieri said ‘Now look, Eddie-‘, and then Eddie cut him and said ‘Mr Alfieri, they’re laughing at him on the piers!’. This shows how impatient and forceful Eddie is being. In conclusion to the question, I think that Eddie is a forceful and obsessive protagonist, however, I think that there lacks scenes where he is energetic.