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Eddie Carbone is a working class Longshoreman who lives in Red Hook
Brooklyn and is a bitter man.
Eddie is the focal point, everything rests on Eddie’s reaction to
At first this is relatively minor, for example will he or wont he
allow Catherine (Eddie and Beatrice’s niece) to take the job at the
plumbing company? This soon becomes critical, will he or won’t he
understand that he cannot keep Catherine to him self, he must allow
her to live her own life.
Eddie is the centre around which all the conflict in the play revolves
He takes care of his wife Beatrice and looks after a girl called
Catherine who’s father died when she was younger.
Eddie lusts for Catherine but manages to keep his feelings suppressed
and turns it into hate towards Beatrice’s cousins Marco and Rodolpho
which makes him act irrationally. This ends up making Eddie loose his
Eddie felt that Revenging against Marco will regain his pride and good
name in the community.
There are a lot of moments through out the play where the audience is
given clues that Eddie’s love for Catherine wasn’t normal. For example
when Catherine light’s Eddie’s cigar in the living room, this gives
Eddie unusual pleasure.
Eddie pays great attention to his niece and less attention to his own
relationship which makes this clear.
The summery of plot and themes start off as Beatrice (The wife of
Eddie and the aunt to Catherine) telling Eddie that her cousins would
be arriving around 10pm that nigh and Catherine tells him that she now
has a job that was given to her by her school. Eddie is angry that she
is going to work but is talked around by Beatrice and Catherine. Eddie
harbours a secret lust for his niece Catherine, he is very protective
of her. He is proud of her looks but is concerned that it will attract
the attention of men and covers it up with being concerned about her
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woman. “I guess I just never figured… that you would ever grow up”.
Beatrice’s two cousins arrived and they all sat down and talked. While
doing so Eddie sees an attraction between Catherine and Rodlulfo, one
of Beatrice’s cousins, Eddie grows jealous of him when he sees the
impression he makes on Catherine. “He looks at [Catherine] like a lost
boy”. He starts looking for the down sides to him in his opinions, for
example that he makes dresses, he sings and he cooks. Eddie now treats
Rodulfo as a wimp and less of a man.
He shout at him for singing because he and Catherine are getting
close, then figures he’s a push over.
Eddie feels that he is always right and he must be obeyed and
respected. Eddie is also disturbed, he want Catherine for himself and
because of that he gives Rodolfo a hard time even though he already
has a wife of his own. Eddie found that there wasn’t any way to stop
Catherine from seeing Rodulfo or marrying him, so he tried making
people think that Rodulfo’s motive is to marry Catherine to get his
citizens-ship, to have the right by law to stay in America. He found
that, that would not work so he tried looking for a legal way to stop
them from marrying but failed so he used the only way he could, by
snitching. He calls the Immigration Bureau as a last desperate attempt
to stop the wedding, he cares so much for Catherine that he is
prepared to break his code of honour.
In doing so he’s fellow neighbours and friends denied him and he
became known as a rat. Eddie then began bullying Rodulfo but Rodulfo’s
older brother Marco did not let it happen.
Eddie finally tried to get his name back, he’s self respect and the
respect of others by confronting Marco in front of the whole world, he’s
planes backfired as he was killed at the hands of Marco with the knife
he planed to use to killed Marco.
Most people would think that Eddie deserved to die because he had it
coming. If he had left well alone, he’s fait would not have come to
such a disastrous and tragic end, dying a cold hearted bitter man,
hated by others.
The ending of the play is quite emotional as it is acted out in public
were all the main characters in the play are gathered, outside Eddie’s
apartment to witness Eddie being killed by Marco. In the end, he loses
everything, Catherine, his wife and his name but ironically his death
restores some of his lost honour because he does not try to escape his
Alfieri rounds off the play by reminding us that Eddie’s death was
useless and that he loved him, but that he mourns him with “a certain…
alarm”. He thinks that even though he could predict what was going to
happen, even he a lawyer couldn’t do anything to stop it.
Tone is used in the play and it usually depends on if Eddie is in a
good mood. For example, when Beatrice’s cousins arrive and the stage
directions tell us that he is ’laughing’, the tone is light. If Eddie
is in a bad mood, for example, the same night ‘his face puffed with
trouble’ there is tension.
Dramatic Irony is used in the play in the form of unlucky timing, when
Eddie calls the immigration after his meeting with Alfieri on the same
day that Catherine says that she’s going to marry Rodolpho soon
because she is scared of him getting caught by immigration, at the
same time Marco and Rodulpho move out of the apartment causing other
immigrants to be picked up instead.