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At the beginning of the play Arthur Miller introduces us to Italian community values so that we can understand why the community acts so seriously to events which would not have been acted upon so seriously in our communities. Towards the start of Act 1 Eddie Carbone and his wife Beatrice Carbone talk about the seriousness of snitching on illegal immigrants. They use the example of Vinny Bolzano an Italian American who lived in their neighbourhood. Beatrice: “oh it was terrible.
He had 5 brothers and the old father. And they grabbed him in the kitchen and pulled him down the stairs – three flights his head was bouncin’ like a coconut. And they spit on him in the street, his own father, and his brothers. The whole neighbourhood was cryin'”; Eddie: Him? You’ll never see him no more, a guy do a thing like that? How’s he gonna show his face? Just remember kid, you can easily get back a million dollars that was stole than a word that you gave away.
Arthur introduces community and family values such as honour, loyalty and masculinity towards the start of the play to allow the audience to understand why they treat certain circumstances more seriously than others. Dramatic devices Miller uses language to show how different characters are positioned on the social hierarchy and from categorising the characters into a hierarchy we can compare their values. For example Eddie uses colloquial language whereas Alfieri uses standard English.
This allows the audience to create the assumption that Alfieri is the more important character in the society and therefore has very different values to that of Eddie. An example of a value or normality that Alfieri would have would be to settle his issues through the legal system whereas Eddie would be more likely to settle it through violence. This is important in teaching the audience that community values are not shared by everyone in the community. Character Analysis In this section I will analyse Eddie’s and Alfieri’s, Catherine’s Beatrice’s, Rodolfo’s and Marco’s personalities and symbolic actions.
Arthur Miller shows how characters/the community react to certain features of other characters This will help us understand what the audience learns about the Italian community because depending on whether the community or character representing the community acts positively or negatively we will be able to assume whether the feature is valued or not valued. Eddie There are moments in the text where the audience is given the idea that Eddie’s love for Catherine may not be normal. For example, Catherine lighting Eddie’s cigar in the living room (page 15) makes Eddie feel unusual pleasure.
In this event Eddie mistakes Catherine’s affection for love. Even though Eddie seems unable to understand his feelings for his niece it becomes clear that he realises his feelings at the end of the play this is also the time when other characters become aware of eddies true feelings and intentions. Eddie does not realise his feelings for Catherine because he has suppressed them. This is what makes Eddie act irrationally by transferring his love for Catherine into hate for Rodolfo. This hatred is fuelled by him thinking that Rodolfo is gay and has no real feelings for Catherine.
When Eddie fails to win Catherine over he attempts to get revenge on Rodolfo even if it means him betraying the Italian-American community and Marco whom he has nothing against by snitching on the two brothers to the immigration bureau. Eddie does not restrain himself from these acts because he because he has blocked himself off from his community and family and therefore he will do anything to protect his interests even if it is at the expense of others. Alfieri Alfieri represents the bridge between American law and Italian-American laws/values.
Alfieri is an Italian-American who is well-educated and who studies and respects American laws but is still loyal to Italian values. Alfieri is presented as the character who is stuck in between the poor Italian neighbourhood on one side of Brooklyn bridge and the wealthy communities on the other side of the bridge . From this point, Alfieri tries to persuade Eddie to stick to his Italian values but also do it within the American law. Rodolfo Unlike Beatrice and Catherine, who talk together about their thoughts and feelings, Rodolfo reveals little about himself.
There are many questions left unanswered at the end of the play. These are about his sexuality and his love for Catherine. This may be because Rodolfo has a very feminine character and a great desire to become an American citizen. Catherine The drama in the play is all focused around Catherine; the two men Eddie and Rodolfo both compete for her love. However, she has a very childish character which makes the audience wonder whether she really understands why Eddie is behaving so irrationally and whether Rodolfo really loves her.