Subject : How does Eddie Carbone brings fate upon himself? Many immigrants
saw America as a land of opportunities, golden land.
The view from the bridge
Subject : How does Eddie Carbone brings fate upon himself?
Many immigrants saw America as a land of opportunities, “golden land”.
For these migrants
America provided everything, which their native
countries couldn’t offer them. It was a break from poverty and
constant starvation. They all came to find their fortune, but what
they found were barriers to good paying jobs because of language and
culture. For all immigrants, it was difficult to adapt, or assimilate.
Many immigrants, mostly males, came to America to earn money instead
of settling and beginning a new life. However, as time passed the urge
to return to their countries became less powerful. A few did return
home, but it was usually just to get married or to visit. As time
went by more and more decided to remain in America, the number of
women and children that immigrated increased. As a result, the image
of foreign speaking families became more common in 19th-century
America. Italy was one of the countries from where lot of people
migrated to America, attracted to successful life and future in
America. Italy was one of the leading countries from where migrants
were coming. In only between 1850 and 1930 millions of Italians left
Italy to go to the USA. By the year 1871 alone, 400 000 Italians had
The story of “A view from the bridge” has a basis on same state of
affairs. This play was actually written in 1940s, when miller became
interested in longshoremen of New York. Recent migrants, who had come
to New York, in hope of the work, luxuries and security, mostly
inhabited this area. He had also previously worked there, himself. To
miller this was ‘a dangerous and mysterious world at the water’s edge
that drama and literature had never touched’.
The main character of the book, Eddie Carbone
is an Italian, and we
are introduced to him as a sound man with moral values “he was as good
a man as he had to be in a life that was hard and even” .He leads a
simple life with his wife, Beatrice and her niece, Catherine they have
brought up together, “I promised your mother on her death bed that I
will take care of you”. The problem arises when Eddie agrees to give
shelter to his wife’s Italian cousins, Marco and Rodolpho seeking
refuge as illegal immigrants from Sicily, and Eddie’s niece gets
attracted to Rodolpho, ‘he is practically blonde’.
To discuss if Eddie Carbone brings fate
upon himself, we must also
know the meaning of fate. The description of fate is an event or a
course of events that will inevitably happen in the future. The fate
is brought upon us by a series of certain circumstances called our
From the beginning of the play we can see that Eddie’ s affection
towards Catherine is very unusual, “ for a powerful emotion is on him,
a childish one and a knowing fear, and the tears show in his eyes_”.
While Catherine’s love for Eddie, is innocent affection of a daughter
for a father.
Eddie is also very overprotective towards her, assuming that she is
still a kid,
“ I never figured on one thing…. That you would ever grow up.”
It can be seen by the way he reacts when he first hears about
“you can’t take no job”.
We also see that Catherine doesn’t like this attitude, “ almost in
tears because he disapproves”. In the beginning, Catherine both cares
and respects his opinion as she regards him as a father or guardian.
There are also some particular events that show that love between them
is not normal. For example, when Catherine waves to Eddie, he is
delighted by it and his mode turns to genuinely protected towards
Catherine. It is then further assured, when Eddie praises Catherine’s
skirt, “Turn around, lemme see in the back.” This possibly warm and
affectionate act between niece and uncle has phallic suggestions.
Further in the novel, both Rodolpho and Catherine spend a lot of time
in each other’s company. And we can see, Eddie is jealous of the time;
Rodolpho gets to spend with Catherine. Even in the initial stage of
the play we can see that Eddie disapproves Rodolpho.
‘that’s a nice kid? He gives me heeby-jeebies’
To stop her niece developing any feelings for Rodolfo, Eddie tells her
that he just wants to marry her to become an American citizen, “he is
only bowin’ to his passport”. But she doesn’t heed him.
Rodolpho develops a reputation at the docks for being quite a
joker, which makes Eddie further frustrated and embarrassed.
Beatrice becomes more and more aware of the attention that Eddie gives
to Catherine. She advises Catherine to grow up, become a woman and
make her own decisions. She promotes Catherine to get married to
Rodolpho if that is what she has in mind.
Beatrice is the first one, who actually confirms reader’s
views about Eddie’s unusual love towards his niece,
“You want somethin' else, Eddie, and you can never have her!”
Until this moment, no one has directly spoken about Eddie's feelings
for Catherine. Although they are obviously known by Beatrice and
Alfieri, (the narrator of the story), no one has dared to actually
tell Eddie what is wrong with him. But even when Eddie realise that
his actual problem is his love towards his neice, he is powerless to
Alfieri himself narrates that Eddie is possessed with, "passion that
has moved into his body, like a stranger," and was unable to control
it. The passion that Alfieri describes is the mania for his niece
Eddie, still perplexed with Rodolpho and Catherine, even visits
Alfieri and asks if there is any way he can get rid of Rodolpho
legally, but Alfieri assures him there is none. Alfieri suggests Eddie
to let Catherine go,
“the child has to grow up and go away.”
In the end of the act one, Eddie boosts his strength against Rodolpho
by starting a pretend boxing match. Catherine And Beatrice quickly
stops this match, “that’s enough”. And for the first time Marco, who
has been the silent personality right through the whole play
challenges Eddie to lift a chair. Eddie fails to lift the chair after
several attempts, while Marco does it readily. The chair is said to be
“raised like weapon over Eddie’s head.” By this scene Marco gives a
message to Eddie that he is not a person whom he can take lightly.
This scene probably confirms the suspicions of their enmity, which we
see later in the play, becoming bloody.
The situation exaggerates and and Eddie becomes more increasingly
jealous of Rodolpho. Eddie again tries to win his niece by saying that
Rodolpho is homosexual, “ He sings, he cooks….”. He repeatedly tells
Catherine “the guy ain’t right”, but to no avail. This opinion has not
only just been made clear once. Throughout the play we see Eddie
making comments to other characters about Rodolfo's sexual
orientation, such as when he is fussing about how late Catherine and
Rodolfo's date has taken, he says to Beatrice that he,
"just hope[s] that's his regular hair, that's all".
In section two, Rodolpho and Catherine are left alone in the house and
have sex in the bedroom. As they are exiting the bedroom, Eddie comes
home drunk. He fiercely kisses Catherine, pins Rodolpho to the floor
and kisses him also. Eddie perhaps kisses him to exhibit to Catherine
that Rodolpho is a gay or to raise his strength over him.
Eddie visits Alfieri once again, who repeatedly insists to let
Catherine go. Instantly after leaving Alfieri's office, Eddie calls
the Immigration Bureau and reports Marco and Rodolpho. Officers come
and arrest Marco and Rodolpho. As he is being taken away, Marco spits
in Rodolpho's face. Alfieri pays bail for the two men and stages the
marriage of Catherine and Rodolpho. On the wedding day, Marco returns
to the house seeking revenge. He feels that justice need to be brought
on him as Eddie "killed his children". While Marco believes that he
can win back his lost respect. Eddie lurches into Marco with a knife.
Marco turns Eddie's arm and kills Eddie with Eddie's own knife, and he
dies in Beatrice's arms.
Eddie looses control of his actions in the play, due to the excessive
love for his niece. Eddie resorts to desperate measures to protect his
identity and name in the community. This shows that Eddie is possessed
by fate, as Alfieri says:
“I knew where he was heading for, I knew where he was going to end”.
Eddie does not actually realize his feeling for Catherine because he
has alternatively made an imaginary world to exist with in, and to
hide his feelings. This is the thing, which actually destroys Eddie’s
true inner self, and causes him to act out of character. As he has no
outlet for his feelings and emotions—even in his own conscious
mind—Eddie transfers his energy to hatred towards Marco and Rodolpho,
which causes him to act completely irrationally. Eddie's final need to
secure or regain his good name from Marco is a result of Eddie's
failure to protect Catherine from Rodolpho. Eddie fails in his life,
but seeks salvation and victory in death. By avenging Marco, Eddie
believes he will regain his pride in the community—another entirely
self-interested act. Eddie escaped restraint because he got away by
all thoughts of other people or the community at large. Eddie's
"wholeness" is a whole interest in him. Eddie’s tragic defect is the
constructed world he exists within, but is unable to escape or
His “wholeness” is a thing that even Alfieri respects, as when he
“he allowed himself to be wholly known and for that I think I will
But Alfieri also describes that you cannot always have your own way,
it’s sometimes better to settle for the half,
“most of the times now we settle for half and I like it better”.