A View From The Bridge Essay

3439 words - 14 pages


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 becoming weaker and weaker. ‘When am I gonna become a wife again, Eddie?’

Alfieri also helps to set the background of the play. Eddie holds an old fashioned, limited view of masculinity. His opinions of what it means to be masculine involve fairly stereotypical features, such as strength and ability. Characteristics that people generally associate with a male figure are strength, silent. The time that they play is set in doesn’t help to widen Eddie’s view of masculinity. The area, Redhook, is described by the lawyer Alfieri. But this is Redhook, not Sicily. This is the slum that faces the bay on...

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