A View From the Bridge

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Eddie Carbone is an American-Sicilian man working in Brooklyn. He works as a longshoreman: carrying crates and goods from the ships. He is quite a large man. His job requires him to be strong and a good worker. In other words he is very masculine. He is an ordinary man. He lives with his wife and niece, whom he treats like a daughter, and like all good men should do, he works every day to provide them with enough money to survive on. Eddie is a man’s man. He lives within a close-knit community of Sicilians and is a well respected member of society. Eddie sees himself as a prime example of how a man should act and look.

The ending of a view from the bridge is fairly predictable from the beginning as it is hinted at by the narrator Alfieri throughout the first scene until the climax at the end of scene one where it becomes evident to us that a fall is about to occur. Many factors contribute to the tragic downfall of Eddie Carbone. However it is his limited understanding of what it means to be a man that is the most prominent. Eddie’s perception of what it means to be a man is also connected with his views of women. Eddie’s forbidden love for Catherine is also one of the main driving forces behind the tragedy. The downfall of Eddie Carbone may have eventually occurred even without Marco and Rodolpho coming over from Italy as his love for Catherine was unnatural. Marcos strong belief in the Sicilian codes of conduct cause him to fight Eddie. Eddie’s limited understanding of what it means to be a man becomes damaged and challenged during the play, he responds terribly to these and doesn’t approve when other men do not act as he believes men should.

In Alfieri’s opening speech he makes it clear that something bad is about to occur. He says ‘Sat there as powerless as I, and watched it run its bloody course. This one’s name was Eddie Carbone…’ This makes it clear that Eddie too is to follow the fate that something bad, but unstoppable is going to happen. Alfieri, like a narrator in a Greek tragedy, characterizes the chorus in the play and he tells the story and suggests eddies downfall throughout the play. ‘There was a future; there was a trouble that would not go away’. Here Alfieri is explaining that even if Rodolpho and Marco hadn’t arrived, Eddie’s love for Catherine would’ve bought a downfall. Especially seeing as his relationship with Beatrice was becomin...

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...ting his name. He says to Marco ‘Now gimme my name!’ Eddie believes that Marco has taken his name. Eddie shouts out to the crowd ‘Maybe he came to apologise to me’. Eddie tries to make the crowd think that it is Marco, who has done wrong by taking Eddie’s name, Marco has damaged Eddie’s pride and Eddie believes he should pay for this.

The biggest factor that drives the tragedy is definitely Eddie’s narrowed view of what it means to be a mean. The cousins coming to America only acted as a catalyst for what was bound to happen between the Carbone family as Eddie’s inappropriate love for Catherine would’ve driven them apart eventually. Rodolpho is like a threat to Eddie as he might take Catherine away from him. Eddie not only has stereotypical views on men but on women too. He believes they should look after the house, stay at home and care for their husbands. He sees men as stronger and more authoritative than women. He therefore believes strongly in men having a reputation. This is what finally causes Eddie and Marco to fight, as Eddie wants his name and reputation back. This is how Eddie’s understanding of what it means to be a man leads to his downfall and so drives the tragedy.
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