Family honour, as mentioned before is important in Italy. As long as your family is respected, then so are you. Therefore, to insult one person is to insult several other people. Other plays, notably Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet also highlight the importance of family honour. When Eddie Carbone first talks to Alfieri, he is shocked when Alfieri implies that he could inform the authorities to protect Catherine. However, later on, Eddie betrays both Marco and Rodolpho.
The fact that he would even think about betraying his family ; not just Marco and Rodolpho, but Beatrice and Catherine as well shows a vast difference between Red Hook and Italy, although in Red Hook, because many Italians reside in that area, the idea there is equally appalling to people. The treatment that Eddie receives from Lipari, and even his friend Louis shows us how disgusted they are at Eddie’s actions. Therefore, although there are differences in both cultures, they are not completely diverse.
The ways in which Italian people entertain themselves are quite similar to American forms of entertainment. Rodolpho obviously knows how to use a gramophone, as it says in the stage directions, “They go to the phonograph and start it.” It is also obvious that American and Italian tastes are similar, since both Rodolpho and Catherine are ‘crazy’ for Jazz music. Miller shows us that there is no lack of entertainment in Italy when Rodolpho says to Catherine, ” Rome is full of singers.” Both Catherine and Rodolpho enjoy watching films and we are told this early on in the play when Catherine takes Rodolpho to a cinema.
The stage directions in another scene also tell us that they both have an interest in films ; “She sits and begins to look through a movie magazine. Rodolpho joins her.” However, there are many forms of art in Italy which are not as popular or as appreciated in America, notably Opera which Rodolpho enjoys singing. We are informed of this when Eddie tells Alfieri, in description of Rodolpho’s singing, “This ain’t no tenor. I mean if you came in the house, you wouldn’t be lookin’ for him, you be lookin’ for her.” Although entertainment is obviously important to both American-Italians and Italians, there are certain aspects of entertainment which are different. The two cultures are both similar, since they both appreciate arts like cinema and music, and this tells us that they are not completely diverse.
Both the cultures’ love of entertainment may tell us that they are similar, but their speech is completely different. Eddie and Catherine speak colloquially, using American slang constantly. For instance, Eddie says to Beatrice, ” I just don’t want you bein’ pushed around, that’s all. You got too big a heart. What’re you so touchy?” In contrast, the two Italians speak poetically and figuratively, incorporating the use of metaphors and similes into their speech.As an example, Marco says to Beatrice and Eddie, ” If I stay there they will never grow up. They eat the sunshine.” Rodolpho’s use of metaphors and similes are particularly interesting. He uses poetical language a little more than Marco, and so, through this, Miller may be attempting to make Rodolpho a nineteenth century ‘Romeo’. However, the difference between the colloquial language of the American-Italians and figurative speech is significant, and shows us that there are some aspects in which the two cultures are completely diverse.
The physical appearance of Red Hook and Italy, as far as we can deduce from the play, are complete contrasts. Red Hook, is as Alfieri tells us, “The gullet of New York swallowing the tonnage of the world.” However, when we hear what Rodolpho and Marco tell us about Italy , we can see that the two places are very different in appearance. In Italy they have piazzas and fountains, as Rodolpho tells us, “We stand around all day in the piazza, listening to the fountains like birds.”
The fact that the idea of sardines in the sea and oranges on trees is unfamiliar shows us how barren and grim Red Hook must be, as well as polluted. Usually, if fish are not available in a dockland residence, it shows that there must be excessive pollution, and the unfamiliarity of trees tells us that Red Hook is not an area that is either pretty or upmarket. However, the housing in America is much better. Rodolpho informs us of this, when he says to Marco, “This is the first house I ever walked into in America!Imagine! She said they were poor!”
The physical difference between Italy and Red Hook, the difference in economy and the difference in language are probably what make the two cultures in any way diverse. They are, however similar in many aspects, for instance, entertainment, family honour and justice are important to both cultures. Since both the cultures originate from Italy, you would expect to see similarities, and so they are not totally diverse.