Which character changes the most during Arthur Millers A view from
729 Words3 Pages
Which character changes the most during Arthur Millers A view from the bridge?
In Arthur Millers "A view from the bridge" all the characters grow and develop. However, the character that changes the most is Eddie
Carbone. Eddie is a 40 years old, an American described as "a husky, slightly overweight longshoreman." He is an ordinary man, part of the local Italian community. Eddie is master of the house, both Beatrice and Catherine are obviously used to him laying down the rules. He sees this as a 'manly' thing to do and he expects all men to do the same, which is why he cannot accept Rodolpho's more gentle talents. He is generous enough to offer a home to Beatrice's cousins, but at the same time slightly wary and self-…show more content…
He is proud of her looks, yet concerned that she will attract the attention of men and is concerned about her new job. He finds it hard to admit that she has become a woman. "I guess I just never figured... that you would ever grow up."
We then discover that Beatrice's cousins are coming to stay, which gives Eddie the chance to tell the tale of Vinny Bolzano. He is concerned about his honour and protecting his good name, because Marco shows to be more of a man than him by being more 'manly'. Eddie ends the tale of the Vinny Bolzano, "a guy do a thing like that? How's he gonna show his face?" Note the stage directions, also. Exits and entrances allow Arthur Miller to have different pairs in conversation.
However, it soon becomes apparent that Eddie is in love with Catherine.
He has not made love to his wife (Beatrice) for three months. He quickly becomes jealous of Rodolpho because of the immediate impression Rodolpho makes on Catherine. The stage directions tell us,
"He looks at [Catherine] like a lost boy" when Catherine tells Eddie she loves Rodolpho. He is unable to admit this shameful emotion to himself and is angry when Beatrice and Alfieri dare to mention it.
As his feelings for Catherine become more obsessive, he does everything he can to prevent Rodolpho from marrying her. He tries to undermine Rodolpho. For example, he mocks Rodolpho's skills at cooking, singing and sewing, claims he is homosexual and tells
Codes of Honour
Connecting the themes [themes: Central, unifying ideas that run through a text or performance. ] of Justice and the Law and Love is the theme of Honour. Eddie and Beatrice's tale of Vinny Bolzano at the start of the play sets the tone [tone: The mood or manner of a text or part of a text. The author's 'tone of voice' or way in which they expect to be understood. The emotional load carried by a text. ]:
"The family had an uncle that they were hidin' in the house, and he snitched to the Immigration."
"He had five 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 crying."
It is clear that, in the eyes of Eddie and Beatrice, Vinny had done something very wrong and was justly punished. Eddie is clear that Vinny will never be seen in the neighbourhood again out of shame: "a guy do a thing like that? How's he gonna show his face?" Family comes first. To betray one's family is a crime and should be punished - Vinny gets no sympathy despite the injuries inflicted upon him: it was seen that he got what he deserved. It is ironic that Eddie does just the same thing as Vinny - 'snitch to Immigration' - to Marco and Rodolpho at the end of the play.
Honour is shown to be very important, especially to the male characters. It means far more to them than the law. To be honourable is to be respected. If you do anything dishonourable, you lose respect. That is why Marco and Eddie are so keen to protect their names and get a 'just' conclusion. Codes of honour bind families and the whole neighbourhood with a sense of community. Everyone should look out for one another, to betray someone is the most dishonourable action imaginable.
Here are some examples of how honour works in the play:
- Eddie tells Beatrice, "It's an honour, B. I mean it." when they discuss the imminent arrival of the cousins.
- Perhaps one of the reasons why Eddie finds it impossible to admit his love for Catherine is because he knows how dishonourable it is.
- Alfieri warns Eddie that he will lose the respect of the neighbourhood if he betrays the brothers. "You won't have a friend in the world, Eddie!" It is significant that a lawyer (whom we would expect to uphold the law) is encouraging Eddie to do something illegal by continuing to keep the brothers hidden.
- Marco believes the only honourable course is to punish Eddie when Eddie betrayed the brothers. Alfieri tries to persuade him otherwise: "To promise not to kill is not dishonourable" - but Marco's sense of honour it too strong. (It is interesting that Marco had given Alfieri his word that he would not harm Eddie, yet then does so: clearly, Marco's need for revenge is stronger than any fear about breaking a promise.
- Eddie, however, blindly refuses to believe that he has done anything wrong. He desperately wants to get back his good name after Marco's accusations caused the neighbourhood to turn away from him. "Marco's got my name - and you run tell him, kid, that he's gonna give it back to me in front of this neighbourhood, or we have it out."
Do you think that Eddie dies an 'honourable' death? He does not try to escape his fate - in fact, he encourages it - perhaps because he realised that he had no option.
Now try a Test Bite
Back to A View from the Bridge index