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Rock Street, San Francisco

“Whatever happened, we all done it, and don’t you forget it, Catherine.” Is this true? Who is to blame for Eddie’s downfall? ‘A View from the Bridge’ is written by Arthur Miller, a 20th Century playwright. The play is based on a Greek tragedy but set in Brooklyn, New York, where the majority of citizens have an Italian origin. The Italian lifestyle is adopted into the American city resulting in a much more aggressive, honourable and revengeful society and street law. Where marriages are made to last and where the home life of the families is based around togetherness.

The play’s tragic hero Eddie Carbone is destined to a tragic fate once his heart is split between his wife and niece. As Eddie accepts his Wife’s cousins into his home, Jealousy, Love, Hate and eventually death are forcefully dragged in “it’s bloody course.” Eddie loses his most prized possessions in a conflict of masculinity, which ultimately ends in a clash of pride and honour. I will be exploring the play thoroughly giving a comprehensive analysis of the themes the play brings, such as Love, Hate, Jealously, Family, Honour, culture, religion and ethnicity to name a few. In the play’s title itself it tells the audience that the play is written as it watches over Eddie and his family.

Also I will be exploring life at the time of when the play was set to describe how the society helped towards Eddie’s demise and how pressed him to limits which would not have normally been reached. Following onto that I will describe how Eddie’s own personality and un-willingness to adjust his lifestyle as the world which surrounding him progresses, and how his background also holds him back from altering. Throughout the essay I will try and judge these points and direct them to the person who is most responsible for Eddie’s end.

In the 1950’s Brooklyn was a mainly immigrant society of people who had travelled over the Atlantic sea from Italy to try and find a better life for them and their family, to flea from poverty and starvation. Even though life was easier in the U.S.A compared to Italy, work was still all work, little pay. This small financial return results in the families treasuring what they have, they are not greedy in what else they want, but are greedy in what they have. In this case Eddie has his niece Catherine under his roof, but as soon as they opportunity for Catherine to be set free Eddie gets greedy and does everything in his power to stop this happening. So when he called the immigration officers to report his wife’s cousins Rodolfo and Marco because Rodolfo is set to marry Catherine this sparks up the feud between Marco and Eddie finally climaxing to Eddie’s death. This shows that it is he who brought his death on himself.

Also in the 1950’s life in Brooklyn was male-dominated, ‘Macho’. This meant that the female’s had very little of their own way, or could not express their true feelings as they would be discarded by the man of the house. So when Catherine tries to break free from Eddie her ideas were unused as Eddie thought his were the right choices. Also when Beatrice, Eddie’s wife also attempts to help Catherine leave the house and meet new people and get a job, Eddie is very against the ideas causing disruption in the family. This disruption then causes friction between them every time something new happens, especially when Rodolfo and Catherine start dating. After this Marco is introduced into the male challenge as he protects his brother from the ever-angering Eddie. Through a series of events Eddie becomes conscious of this challenge and himself tries to fight back again resulting in the fight. So another reason why Eddie brought his death on himself

This reluctancey to change his believes and personality is ultimately the most controversial, yet most apparent cause to Eddie’s death. Even from the start of the play when Eddie tells Catherine to change her shoes and tells her, her dress is too long because it is not appropriate to be wearing, this is only not appropriate in his eyes as times changed from when he was brought up. Showing that he was not willing to change his views. It repeats itself continually. From little things like dress-sense and walking style to being allowed to go out and eventually to marry Rodolfo. This winds himself up as well as others surrounding him leading to a shorter temper and more aggressive approach to his ways.

Eddie doe not like being told what to do or what not to do, for instance when Beatrice starts to talk about them not sleeping together since the cousins arrived. This triggers of his argumentative side, which we begin to see more often as the play progresses, and the further Catherine drifts away from him. Eddie’s sexual attraction towards his niece Catherine is a major reason why Eddie is his own problem as his feelings are true strong for an uncle. Alferi points this out brilliantly when he says ” But sometimes… there’s too much, you know? There’s too much, and it goes where it mustn’t.” this sums up Eddie’s feelings excellently. This is the reason for Eddie’s jealousy, fear of change and problem with Rodolfo.

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