Analysing the Portrayal of Eddie Carbone as a Tragic Hero

2150 Words9 Pages
Analysing the Portrayal of Eddie Carbone as a Tragic Hero

A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller is a dramatically tense

tragedy that presents the story of the downfall of an ordinary man.

The play examines the tragic consequences of Eddie Carbone's inability

to understand himself and his actions. This predominantly takes the

form of his prejudice towards his cousin and his inappropriate

attraction to his niece. It is set in the 1950s and was written while

Miller had become interested in the lives and work of Brooklyn's

dockworkers and longshoremen.

Miller uses the character of Eddie to express his viewpoint that the

tragedy of the ruined life of an ordinary workingman is just as

significant a subject for tragedy as that of any ancient king, God or

"Caesar from Syracuse or Calabria". He presents Eddie as an equally

valid antihero. Antiheroes, or Tragic heroes, are as Aristotle wrote

neither wholly good nor wholly evil but a mixture of both. Eddie is

not an evil man, but he acts selfishly, inappropriately and

recklessly. Antiheros, unlike heroes, have fatal flaws. These enable a

contemporary audience to empathise and identify with his fatally

flawed relationships and disastrous choices. Being able to relate to

Eddie will let the audience feel the dramatic tension of the

situations he is placed in.

According to Aristotle a traditional tragic hero is a person who finds

himself in a situation where he seems deprived of all outward help and

is forced to rely entirely on himself. A View from the Bridge is

recognisable as a tragedy because Eddie is a tragic hero even though

he is a stereotypical 1950s ordinary American. He is tragic because he

refuses to take the help and advice offered by his lawyer, Alf...

... middle of paper ...

...f instead of trying to gain control of the

other characters, he would have perhaps succeeded rather than causing

complete destruction.

By the end of the play, Eddie cannot see any view from the bridges of

Brooklyn; he only has eyes for Catherine. Unfortunately, Catherine,

like Rodolpho, sees all number of possibilities and dreams that lie

ahead of her. Although bridges connect things, they are also a symbol

of the way things are divided. Catherine needs to move across these

bridges, but Eddie dies fighting to hold onto her.

Eddies story is a tragedy because it is about how he handles his

hubristic character, the result of his disastrous choices and his

drastic change in fortune. It takes the audience on a roller coaster

of dramatic tension, ending up with his unfortunate and unnecessary

death, leaving the audience in mourning for such a tragic hero.

More about Analysing the Portrayal of Eddie Carbone as a Tragic Hero

Open Document