A character study of Eddie Carbone - Sample Essay
The play “A view from the bridge” was written by Arthur Miller in 1955 and is based on the lives of Italians who have migrated from Sicilia into America either leagally or illeagally. In this play it teaches us about many of the Italian traditions including the one that the play revolves around not to ‘snitch’. For Italians it is basically a law not to tell or to ‘snitch’ on a fellow Italian if they have entered a country illeagally and if they did, they would have to pay the ultimate price, death. This was known as the ‘ultimate crime’ and no Italians would dare to tell on another Italian. “A view from the bridge” is set on the famous Brooklyn Bridge that links New York and Manhattan, which is also where most Italian-Americans from Sicilia use to work as longshoremen.
Eddie is a forty-year-old hard working, Italian-American who is a Sicilian descendant. As many other average Italian-Americans, he works, as a longshoreman and is described as a husky, slightly overweight person. The first impression of Eddie tells me that he is quite bossy and that he is the ‘man of the house’ as Beatrice and Catherine are obviously use to obeying him. The first sign of this occurs when he says, “Catherine, I don’t want to be a pest, but I’m telling you you’re walkin’ wavy”.
At the very begging of the play it becomes apparent that Eddie cares a lot about Catherine and is very affectionate and caring towards her. I first become aware of this right at the beginning of the play when Eddie questions her dress sense and begins to ask questions about her hair and her skirt. He says, ” Where you goin’ all dressed up?… And what happened to your hair?” soon after he begins to enquire about her skirt when he says, “You look like one of them girls that went to college…I think its too short”. This also shows that he is very protective of Catherine as he is concerned about the impression she is giving at what the consequences might be. He says “I don’t like the looks they’re givin’ you in the candy store. And with those new heels on the sidewalk- clack, clack, clack. The heads are turnin’ like windmills”.
When Eddie offers to let Beatrice’s cousins stay he conveys the image of himself being very munificent and generous. However his appearance suddenly changes, when he finds out that they are coming one week early and reminds Beatrice not to let them sleep in her bed. He says “Listen, as long as they know where they’re gonna sleep”, “Beatrice all I’m worried about is you got such a heart that I’ll end up on the floor with you”.
This shows that he doesn’t trust Marco and Rudolfo one bit as he encourages Beatrice not to let them manipulate her by letting them sleep on the bed. In this part of the play he seems as if he is suspicious of Marco and Rudolfo even before they have arrived and explains himself to Catherine by saying “The less you trust, the less you’ll be sorry”. This shows that Eddie doesn’t trust people easily and is very suspicious about people he doesn’t know.
Soon Catherine becomes very anxious and begins to ask questions about Marco and Rodolfo getting caught and ‘snitched on’. He then begins to tell a story about a boy who lived next door to them many years ago named Vinny Bolzano who ‘snitched’ on his uncle to the immigration. He was then beaten and thrown out of his own home and his family was disgraced. Eddie then gives his own opinion on the matter and says “Him? You’ll never see him no more, a guy do a thing like that? How’s he gonna show his face”. This shows that Eddie is disgusted even by the thought of telling on a fellow Italian and also warns Catherine not to. This also shows that he feels strongly about the ‘Italian law’ as he knows that death is the consequence for committing such a crime.
As Marco and Rodolfo arrive Eddie, is very homely and welcoming as he assures them that there is plenty of room for them, and immediately tells Catherine to make the supper, in order to maintain the good hospitality. Catherine then asks Rodolfo a question “How come he’s so dark and you’re so light, Rodolfo?” which shows the first sign of flattery from Catherine. Catherine also shows that she is amazed by Rodolfo’s good looks as she says to Beatrice “He’s practically blonde”. Eddie then exposes the first sign of jealousy and this is easily established and acknowledged by the reader, as Eddie clearly cannot bear to see Catherine trying to flirt with Rodolfo. This becomes apparent as soon as Catherine and Beatrice begin to baffle about Rodolfo’s good looks, as he quickly interferer’s and says to Catherine “How’s the coffee doin”.