The strongest subject matter flowing through the play is love. This is because all the actions and speech of the individual characters are related to love. Love is the main issue within this play which leads to family ties being weakened and to such extents that those involved in love have to undergo hardships. At the beginning of the play we see the matter of love being that which bonds Eddie, Catherine and Beatrice together. Beatrice loves Eddie deeply, yet Eddies love for Beatrice is slightly slack, but more than how it becomes near the end.
Eddie and Beatrice both adore Catherine, Beatrice’s niece; however, Eddie’s love towards Catherine gradually becomes more passionate, thus leading to a lot of violence consisting of physical and verbal abuse. No fault is seen in the ties of the family relationships until later on in the play. As the play progresses, so does the violence, due to love. The manner in which love is first portrayed to have a weakening, negative affect on the family is when Beatrice questions Eddie in relation to their relationship – ‘When am I gonna be a wife again, Eddie?
‘ This question asked by Beatrice is the main driving force behind the family being torn apart because Eddie doesn’t and can’t seem to regain love towards Beatrice as he sees Catherine in a very loving manner. Throughout the play we come to realise how Beatrice and Eddies relationship is constantly unstable. The main reason as to why their relationship deteriorates is due to Eddie seeing Catherine as a lot more than just a niece. This is made apparent in an explicit manner when Beatrice is very assertive and says – ‘you want somethin’ else Eddie, and you can never have her!
‘ This in turn portrays Eddie as a husband who had betrayed his trust towards his wife as he pushes the love he once had for her aside, and begins to feel to a great extent towards his niece. Hence, the betrayal in this case is due to the issue of ‘love’. When Rodolfo arrives to stay with the Carbone’s, Catherine and Rodolfo’s thoughts about each other become extremely strong such that they propose to marry each other, ‘when we get married. ‘ The intensity of Rodolfo and Catherine’s affection towards each other, leads to Eddie having envy grow within him.
Thus, Eddie ends up telling Rodolfo to leave, ‘get your stuff and get outa here. If Eddie hadn’t seen Catherine as a lot more than a niece, and his feelings towards her hadn’t gone to such extents, Rodolfo wouldn’t have had to be told to leave the house. Here we again see how love is the issue tearing apart the family. Seeing as Rodolfo doesn’t abide by what Eddie says, he then reports Marco and Rodolfo to the immigration bureau. Due to Eddie reporting them, they yearn to retaliate.
However, it’s this retaliation that leads to Eddie attempting to stab Eddie that he fails and stabs himself. From this alone we see circumstances at the time wouldn’t have reached such stages if Eddie was able to control his desires. The lack of love in Eddie and Beatrice’s relationship is due to the strength of Eddie’s devotion towards Catherine. His love for Catherine makes his emotions fall completely upon Catherine rather than his wife. However, if Rodolfo and Catherine hadn’t fallen in love then the minor conflicts would never have become so major.
Yet, the only way Rodolfo and Catherine were made to fall in love was due to Marco and Rodolfo arriving in America, as Marco loved his family deeply thus felt the urge to sacrifice everything to earn a living for them by working in America. Rodolfo’s love for America is also that which could be blamed for him being attracted to Catherine. This is because if he hadn’t felt such love for America he wouldn’t have been staying with the Carbone’s and wouldn’t have seen Catherine as often as he did.
Thus, we see it’s Marco’s love for his family and children, and Rodolfo’s love for America, leading to Rodolfo’s love for Catherine – which in turn intensifies Eddie’s love for Catherine and less love for Beatrice. From all the events related to love, we come to see it’s Catherine’s love for Rodolfo and Eddie’s love for Catherine that leads to his destruction. Thus I conclude it’s the ‘love chain’ causing hatred and envy within the family, which in turn results in all problems that arise. It’s also the issue of love, which all events are revolved around.