At the start of the scene, Miller emphasises the fact that Eddie is drunk as it is a key factor in how the rest of the scene pans out. As a result of Eddie being drunk, he is obviously not in control of his actions and is ultimately the reason why he kisses Catherine and later Rodolpho. Eddie’s use of commands, “Pack it up. Go ahead. Get your stuff and get outa here”, helps him to exert his dominance over Rodolpho by ordering him what to do. Eddie also gives these short, sharp statements in rapid succession leaving Rodolfo no time to respond to them or retaliate in any way so no further negotiations can occur.
After Eddie has told Rodolpho to leave, Catherine’s loyalties are put to the test and it is obvious that she is having trouble with the idea of separating from Eddie. While she knows she has to move away from Eddie, she has to apologise to him, “I’m sorry, Eddie”, which shows that she does still care about him, even if only a little. ‘Her sobs of pity and love for him break her composure’ Catherine cannot conceal her feelings and we see that while she loves Eddie, she also pities him.
Catherine’s line “I’m not gonna be a baby any more! You-” is slightly ironic as she is trying to assert her independence from Eddie but is immediately overpowered by him. Eddie chooses not to respond verbally to Catherine, but uses actions instead. Eddie does this as we have seen from earlier in the play that Eddie is not particularly articulate, so he plays to his strengths, by using his physical dominance over Catherine to impose himself on her.
By kissing Catherine and Rodolpho, Eddie hoped that he could humiliate Rodolpho and win Catherine back at the same time. Eddie was obviously influenced into the kisses by the alcohol but was also fuelled by his lust for Catherine and his hatred of Rodolpho. Both of the kisses break certain moral codes; kissing Catherine is practically incest and kissing Rodolpho is clearly homosexual. By kissing the pair, he not only loses their respect but also the audience’s respect for Eddie. Up until now, the audience may have sympathised with Eddie, being just a misunderstood man, but now he is universally disliked and is not respected by anyone.
The stage directions in this scene, and the rest of the play, add another layer to the play, which isn’t always seen by the audience but helps anyone who is reading the play to greater understand the true emotions of the characters. ‘They are like animals that have town at one another’, while this is near impossible to portray when acting the play, it shows the reader that the conversation has moved away from civilised human conversation and has now progressed to an animal level.
Throughout the scene, Eddie never addresses Rodolpho by his name, instead calling him “kid” or “submarine”. The use of “kid” suggests a patronising tone, indicating that Eddie believes Rodolpho is not mature enough and he shouldn’t be treated like an adult since he is so young and naï¿½ve. Referring to Rodolpho as “Submarine”, Eddie is implying that Rodolpho shouldn’t really be here and he “oughta throw you back in the water” like an unwanted sea creature. Eddie also refers to Rodolfo as “that” which objectifies Rodolfo making him seem not human, just a ‘thing’. Before calling him “that” Eddie ‘indicates Rodolfo with his head’ which shows how little he cares, that he can’t be bothered to use his hand, and it is also a more animal gesture, which symbolises what this conversation has descended to.