Eddie Carbone as a Tragic Hero in A View from the Bridge Essay

Eddie Carbone as a Tragic Hero in A View from the Bridge Essay

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A View from the Bridge is a dramatic tragedy, which follows the life of a dockworker, Eddie Carbone, in 1950s America who is the main focus of the play. He represents the average, everyday man in society, but his character draws parallels to many tragic heroes in the past shown in Greek tragedies, Shakespeare’s plays, etc. (e.g. Hamlet and Macbeth). A tragic hero is the hero in the story who has positive and negative traits and their negative traits is what eventually leads to the demise and this is what happens to Eddie. Many fathers and uncles can relate to Eddie when they have to ‘let go’ of their children, but Eddie’s tragic flaw is that his immature actions and selfish behaviour emphasises his personal obsession of being in charge and being respected.

Similar to Greek tragedies, the hero has a fate, which he cannot avoid and which is also told to us at the beginning by a chorus figure: “…sat there as powerless as I, and watched it run it’s bloody course,” (Act One). This tells the audience that the story is going to end in violence, like many tragedies in general. Alfieri is this chorus figure and the lawyer of the play. As he is a lawyer, he is a trusted character and he is probably the second most important character in the play, even though he isn’t part of most of the action. As he represented Eddie’s father in the past, (“…I had represented his father in an accident case some years before…” – Act One) he has a connection with Eddie but Alfieri thinks Eddie should ‘settle for half’ and “bless her” (regarding whether he should let his niece do what she wants instead of what Eddie regards as doing what’s best for her). Alfieri also questions Eddie Carbone’s motives and tries to stress the actual problem of illegal immig...

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...rts up left… Louis barely turns, then walks off and exits down right. But like a tragic hero – having an excessive amount of pride – he continues to fight his point and again becomes obsessive – He is incensing himself and little bits of laughter even escape him as his eyes are murderous…). It is also ironic that Eddie is stabbed by his own knife, which emphasises the theme of self-destruction represented in many tragedies (Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, etc.). Marco also importantly stresses to us the difference between the two societies (“In my country [Eddie] would be dead now…”). This highlights the key difference between the cultures in Italy and America (as ‘snitching’ would not be killed over). Overall, the two parts in this play emphasise the rise and fall of the tragic hero, like many tragedies.

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