The mid-fifties by Arthur Miller
A View from the Bridge was a story that was written in the mid-fifties by Arthur Miller. It was set in Brooklyn, which is in America. The view mentioned in the title is from the Brooklyn Bridge and it looks into the homes of the Italian Community, especially one family, the Carbones. The story is about a perfectly normal Italian American family, the Carbones. First there is Eddie Carbone and he can only be described as the man of the household. He is a forty-year-old longshoreman who is of Sicilian ancestry. He has a loving wife called Beatrice and she is a diligent, hard-working housewife who is always looking after the needs of her family. Eddie has also been looking after his wife’s niece named Catherine, who he has brought as though she was his own daughter. He is very protective of her because she is soon maturing into womanhood.
For this coursework I shall direct my attention towards one member of the Carbone family, Eddie. I shall be looking at how he reacts when two of Beatrice’s cousins arrive at his home, illegally from Italy and the struggle Eddie faces when he acknowledges that his niece will eventually become an independent woman. Beatrice and Catherine see Eddie as the man or master of the household and they are used to the fact that Eddie lays down the law. Eddie sees this as a very masculine thing to do and believes that all men should illustrate their authority. This is possibly why he dislikes the more feminine cousin, Rodolpho.
Eddie Carbone does show signs of being quite generous, for example, when he compliments Catherine, “Beautiful. Turn around, lemme see the back. Oh, if your mother was alive to see you now! She wouldn’t believe it”. He also willingly allowed Beatrice’s cousins Rodolpho and Marco into his household, but he was very cautious and vigilant nevertheless, because two anonymous and unfamiliar people were entering his unperturbed life. This shows Eddie’s animal-like perspective and behaviour because all animals are very protective if others enter their territory. You could also say that he does not really trust people easily. This judgement can be made because in the story he tells Catherine, “the less you trust, the less you be sorry.” Surely not everyone is untrustworthy in the world? This gives us the impression that Eddie is outlining his beliefs towards Catherine clearly, which is that he does not trust the two cousins, especially Rodolpho.
He is also very over-protective of Catherine and he is fighting the fact that Catherine has developed into a beautiful and intelligent woman. He may be frightened that Catherine would one day leave and live her own life. Evidence to show that he is overprotective is when Eddie makes comments on what Catherine wears; for example, when he mentions something about the shoes that she was wearing “What’s the high heels for?” and this shows how Eddie is trying to control all aspects of her life. He is stopping Catherine from expressing herself and this helps to show how he is trying to dictate her life.
Eddie also believes that he has his honour to uphold and he is constantly concerned about his good name. This shows that he might be slightly self-interested and self-centred. His belief about honour is shown during dinner when he talks about Vinny Bolzano who had snitched on his uncle and then he goes on to say “A guy do a thing like that?” This is not necessarily a bad thing because it shows how Eddie is proud of his culture and he sticks to his traditions of not ‘snitching’. However, this may be for his own personal reasons because his reputation is still in tact.
Eventually, we find out that Eddie has an undeniable desire for Catherine. This explains why he was not keen on letting her go. His wife also noticed that something was distracting Eddie as she says “When am I gonna be a wife again, Eddie?” When Eddie realises that Catherine has affections for Rodolpho this is when he completely loses all sense and consciousness. He entered a new world where all his illogical and bizarre actions are reasonable, when in fact they are not. As a result it shows us how Eddie projects his desires into other forms of clear stupidity, as he is not capable of thinking rationally.
Eddie also shows the reader how his emotions can get the better of him. When Eddie goes to meet Alfieri, he finally divulges his thoughts about Rodolpho.” I see it in his eyes; he’s laughin’ at her and he’s laughin’ at me”. From this, you can undoubtedly see his jealousy and this turns into paranoia because he seems to believe that the whole world is against him and that everyone is laughing at him. His feelings for Catherine become an obsession and he tries to split them apart by trying to get the law involved and then he tried to mock and demoralize Rodolpho by calling him homosexual as Rodolpho can sing, cook and sew. In my point of view this is quite childish behaviour and mere desperate attempts so that he can get his own way.
Eddie then breaks an imperative rule within his community by betraying both cousins to the immigration bureau. This is showing the readers, the lengths that Eddie will go to so that he can split up Catherine and Rodolpho. You can also imagine how desperate the situation is now for Eddie because he has just about stooped to the lowest form on earth. All his beliefs, he so boldly stated and all his pride and honour has now been completely shattered because of his incapability of letting go of his loved ones.
In conclusion, I believe that Eddie did not really have any control over his emotions and his judgement was clouded by his anger and jealousy. Eddie does not really realise he has feelings for Catherine so he tries to suppress this temptation and this costs him his life. As he cannot let out any of his feelings he was confused but one thing was certain and that was his clear hatred toward Marco and Rodolpho. This build up of anger caused him to act irrationally. His inability to escape out of his own perfect world was his own undoing, but he died as a tragic hero to many people.