A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller. Eddie Carbone
To what extent is Eddie Carbone responsible for his own fate?
There is no doubt that Eddie Carbone suffers an unfortunate end especially when we think that he is being shown as a, hard working, law-abiding citizen at the beginning of the play. The play starts to unravel Carbone’s character by showing how circumstances can control the actions of a human being to the extent that wrong-doing becomes justified in the person’s own mind.
This is what happened to Eddie Carbone and his unchecked behaviour leads sadly to his ultimate death. His obsession with Catherine and his opposition to her needs as a human being, eventually destroys him.
It starts from small criticisms relating to her appearance and attitude:
‘Where are you going all dressed up?’ and ‘you are walking wavy’ and ‘bringing attention to yourself’. (Act1 pp13/14), and ends with him refusing to recognise her as his ‘daughter’.
The play circles around Eddie’s wife Beatrice, who realises how fortunate she is to live in the USA. She wants to help her relatives in Italy who are living in poverty at the end of the Second World War. This dates the play to the end of
. . .
They have looked after Catherine since she was young and brought her up as their own daughter.
When he eventually betrays his own family he does so in his desperation to stop Rudolfo marrying Catherine. He can justify his actions in his own mind because he feels that he has been betrayed himself by Catherine and Beatrice’s cousins.
Eddie has no right to influence Catherine in this way because she has no experience of life yet and cannot make important distinctions, and as Alfieri says,’ it is against natural laws’.
Arthur Miller with the assistance of the narrator Alfieri makes all of this clear and in the early part of the play gains the sympathy of the audience/reader for Eddie. What if he should lose his reputation as a law-abiding citizen? The audience/reader has some sympathy with this point, but when it becomes clear that Catherine is in love with Rudolfo, the sympathy turns to doubt. He has lost Catherine in every respect and although his wife may still love him she has lost a great deal of respect for him too.
Eddie’s determination to stop this from happening leads him to tell the immigration authorities about the two men. “You lied about me Marco, Now say it, come on say it!’. As a final act of remorse he ends his own mental torture at the point of a knife and at the same instant seeks absolution from his wife with a word of love. They are both young men and the older of the two, Marco, needs to earn money to support a wife and children back in Italy. She thinks that this is possible because Eddie has shown himself to be a good family man caring for her and Catherine. At this stage the audience is on Eddie’s side and feels sorry for him. Other problems follow but they are all related to his changed relationship with Catherine.
Arthur Millers A View From The Bridge ResponseAnalysis
My initial reaction to the play was absolutely hideous, and my malcontent was vibrant. I felt that reading A View From The Bridge was a tedious waste of time and that the play itself was a trivial piece of literature. I found the play to be neither intriguing nor interesting in the tiniest fashion. The only aspect that I found mildly intriguing was the character of the protagonist, Eddie Carbone, as it miraculously appealed to my passion for psychology. Unfortunately, this enigma of Eddie’s constitution only guided me through the first act, where after, I was completely annoyed and jaded.
The two-act horror is centered on the self-delusion of Eddie Carbone, as he is thrust into a continuously evolving world in which he will not conform. As his environment is morphing with the times, Eddie feels compiled to halt it, as his pathetic temperament will not wallow him to cope with the change, or behave in an orderly fashion. Eddie begins to veil himself from his love for his eighteen-year-old niece, Catherine, near the commencement of the play, whence he begins to criticize her and her perfectly norm
. . .
Though the character of Alfieri aided me the most, I found the most effective character in the play to be the devil’s spawn himself, Eddie Carbone, as the play is portrayed mainly through his eyes. This brief moment of diversion is endured whence they realize that on some proverbial, undefined level, they are able to connect with the characters and their emotions and therefore understand the concepts and ideas of the play. For instance the character of Marco helped me grasp a stronger understanding about personal honor and standing by your beliefs, as his character exemplified this trait. In one way or another, everyone experiences a hint of self-delusion or a pinch of personal honor in their everyday lives. In my opinion, these vapid aspects were completely pathetic, yet in an uncanny manner, extremely human. ”(Page 66)
These aspects are portrayed thoroughly expansively in this horrible excuse for a play, and have a strong effect on the reader. I despise this pathetic excuse for English literature and wish for it to blaze in Hades. I also enjoyed the character of Alfieri, as I found that from his distant pint of view, he empowered me to understand all the various ideas portrayed in the play from an unbiased point of view.
“Now don’t aggravate me, Katie, you are walkin’ wavy! I don’t like the looks they’re givin’ you in the candy store. This is apparent when Alfieri tells Eddie the consequences to him calling the Immigration Bureau:
“You won’t have a friend in the world, Eddie! Even those who understand will turn against you, even the ones who feel the same will despise you! Put it out of your mind. The main ideas are compiled into one story line, and the play is absent of much needed sub-plots. Due to the sense of humanity and realism in Arthur Miller’s catastrophic blunder of a play, the un-enthused un-amused reader is able to experience a pang of refreshment. Another element in Eddie’s constitution is his personal honor, which he tosses aside whence he takes it upon himself to call the Immigration Bureau to reveal his nemesis and competitor for Catherine’s love, Rodolpho, to the police.