The play ‘A View from the Bridge’ is set in the late forties in Red Hook, “a slum facing the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge… the gullet of New York. ” It is a poor community, consisting in large part of Italian immigrant relying on the uncertain livelihood on work at the docks Life wasn’t easy. The area is Italian-American, and therefore has very strict catholic morals, values and social conventions. Immediately Eddie, a forty year old, husky slightly overweight man is introduced to the audience.
Eddie is fundamentally a simple, straightforward guy who works on the piers when there was work brought home his pay, and he lived. Family orientated, and very hardworking, Eddie likes to feel in control of him self, his home and the people around him and because of this he will not allow himself to be criticized. He likes his evolving world to stay the same and faces tremendous problems, as Catherine grows… He lives with his wife, Beatrice, a simple good woman whose problems seen incidental to the major tragedy of the play.
He is Catherine’s uncle but he behaves as a father and a friend to her, already at our first sight of them together, iwe can see an intense relatinshiprelationship. But what exactly does he feel towards her? . In addition, a neutral character helps the audience understand the complex views of the characters, explaining the ups and downs of the Carbone family. He is a symbolic bridge between American law and tribal laws.
He is a well-educated man who studies and respects American law but is still loyal to Italian traditions. Alfieri introduces Eddie with a brief speech, and then the story begins.
From his narration, it seems that Alfieri has decided to tell the story for his own reasons as much as anyone else’s. He does not find a conclusion after telling the Carbone story, but tells it nonetheless and he speaks and reveals his honest view of the facts. Alfieri admittedly cannot help Eddie Carbone, but must powerlessly watch the tragic events unfold before him “and sat there powerless as I watched it run its bloody course”. There is no illusion of reality, Alfieri purposely breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience during the rebuilding of the story.
He is the teller of and incredible story that he cannot change. Alfieri takes the part of the of the chorus, but also plays a part taking the role of lawyer and adviser to my hero Eddie Carbone. Eddie is the tragic protagonist, meaning that he is the central character whom the tragedy befalls. But is he the tragic hero? Do we find anything heroic in Eddie? When the audience is first introduced to Eddie and the Carbone family Beatrice mentions to Eddie the job Catherine has taken. At first we see Eddie’s great hesitation to this and is certainly not keen on Catherine’s acceptance of the job.
Catherine is the best student in her class and Eddie wishes her to further her studies and move away from the neighbourhood. Eddie admires education, as he received little or none, we see his first compliments to Catherine is ‘You look like one of them girls that went to collage. ‘ Like a proud father, he wants the very best for her. Eddie also has some news, Beatrice’s cousin have arrived (illegal immigrants from Italy) Rodolpho and Marco, they were not expected so sooni?? Beatrice state is described as ‘unutterable joy. ‘ But soon Eddie gives his warning that everyone should keep his mouth shut so that nothing will happen.
He then refers back to Vinny Bolzano, that told on his own family, he lost his good name and his honour ‘how’s he gonna show his face? ‘ ironically he finds it horrifying now. Before the news of Catherine’s possibility of a job, Eddie finds moments of tension in signs that she is growing up (her short skirts, older hair styles, high heels and ‘walking wavy’) or being too friendly to men (Louis). Is he just being protective or does he want her to stay his little girl forever? We see Beatrice forcefully trying to show Eddie the realism, which he should let her go and grow up and take the job without Catherine feeling guilty.
Things do begin to change when Rodolpho and Marco arrive. Eddie welcomes them with open arms obviously, he may even feel sorry for them, especially Marco as he has left his family behind, coming only to New York for money to support his wife and children, he doesn’t want to cause any trouble, he keeps thanking people frequently, he wonders if they can accommodate them in such a small house he doesn’t want to pressure anyone. Rodolpho however proves to be a disturbing character to Eddie, with his blonde hair and his high tenor voice.
At first the only sign of difference in Rodolpho is his blonde hair (but claims are that Danes invaded Sicily). It is not until later that Eddie drops hints that it maybe dyed. Rodolpho is young immature and excited, he loves being the centre of attention and begins to show it as the subject of him singing, he boasts about been able to sing ‘Napolidan’ means folk songs. After his entire extravagant showing off, he sings Paper Doll. Eddies reaction is ‘look, kid; you don’t want to be picked up, do ya? ‘ meaning that as there has not been any singer in the house and now there suddenly is then people may get ideas.
But we see Catherine takes a shine to Rodolpho, her response is not as balanced, she reacts to his blonde hair as a miracle and she finds his singing ‘terrific’ and she very quickly checks if he’s married. Is there anything in Catherine’s background that makes her fall in love at first sight? Eddie can see ray but does he wants to block it? We see Rodolpho’s flirtatious confidence carried over from Paper Doll; she offers sugar he accepts eagerly. It is ‘not’ been made obvious they are ‘Sweet on one another’ and Eddies ‘face is puffed with trouble. ‘
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