Catherine and Rudolpho are very fond of each other; they are going to get married. Eddie does not like this as he is jealous of him. He thinks that Rudolpho is stealing Catherine away from him. He tells Catherine that he is just after her for his passport. Eddie always takes everything out on Rudolpho, as he wants Catherine. Marco is Rudolpho’s older brother he looks out for him and is protective over him. Marco does not like the way that Eddie is treating Rudolpho. At the end of Act 1 Marco wants to prove to Eddie that he stronger than he is and if he starts on Rudolpho then he will be after him. He does this without any violence. Marco asks Eddie to lift a chair but Eddie is not strong enough and struggles. Marco then lifts the chair easily, this proves that he is stronger and introduces the idea of violence.
We learn from Alfieri about his view of Eddie and what happens. He suggests that the tragedy was inevitable. If Eddie had romantic feelings for Catherine it was sure to end in tragedy. He tried to warn Eddie about this as he knew what the outcome would be. Alfieri makes a speech about Eddie and says ” There was a trouble that would never go away” By this he meant his feelings towards Catherine. This play was set in America, but with Italian people. The Italians immigrated to America, as it was the land of hope. America was rich and had plenty of jobs. Italy was poor and there were very little jobs. They either had to immigrate or suffer in Italy. Many Italians immigrated and had to abide by that country law or may get sent back to America.
The Italians had their own law; this was the ‘code of silence’. This code under no circumstance could be broken. If any Italian broke this death was the punishment. The code of silence meant that nobody could tell on the Illegal immigrants that were staying in America. No Italian must ever tell on another Italian, especially not somebody in their family. All respect would be lost for that person. Your name would be lost that is the worst possible thing that could happen as your name is very important. If you tell on a family member nobody will ever speak to you again, you family will disown you. People will spit at you in the streets and you would get beaten up by family members and thrown out of the house.
Italians look upon the law with suspicion but justice is extremely important. They will do anything to get justice. They think of lawyers as unlucky. Eddie is friends with Alfieri who is a lawyer, he is already betraying the Italians code. In the Italian immigrants community justice is often sought outside the law. Alfieri suggests that is an uncomfortable way to live. “Sometimes it is better to settle with half” All these factors existed before the action of the play. This community made it more likely that the play ended in tragedy because of revenge and killing. Eddie tells Catherine not to tell anybody about the Rudolpho and Marco as her name will be taken and you will be treated extremely badly. At the end of the play he tells the immigration bureau. He must have loved Catherine that much for him to lose his reputation and name just to get rid of Rudolpho.
I do not think that the play could have ended happily because of the unnatural feelings that Eddie had towards Catherine. If Rudolpho and Marco never came to America then maybe the play would not have ended so tragically as Eddie would not be dead. Eddie still would have had feelings for Catherine and he would have done something about it. So it still would have ended unhappily. The tragedy was inevitable by the end of Act 1, as there were tensions in the family. Marco was showing that he was in charge but Eddie did not like it, also Rudolpho and Catherine were in love. Eddie had already started to dislike Rudolpho. Alfieri had said at the beginning that it would take it ‘bloody course’. You knew that something bad would happen. Eddie was already friends with a lawyer this proved that he did not abide by all the Italians rules. There was no way that his play would have ended well.