A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
According to the Aristotelean concept of tragedy, the hero (chief protagonist) is held in high esteem by the rest of society. However, he has a fatal flaw (hamartia) or a failing in his personality. In this case, it is Eddie’s inappropriate love for his niece/adopted daughter Catherine. He then becomes aware of his ‘fatal flaw’, but however, is powerless to stop it. On this occasion, Eddie doesn’t realize how strong his feelings are for Catherine until the very end. The consequences are usually dire, and this is reflected by Eddie’s death at the end of the play.
At the beginning of the play, Catherine looks up to Eddie, and thinks very highly of his opinion. She says: “I’ll get you a beer” to try and make him feel secure and comfortable. This shows that she knows Eddie well and knows what relaxes him. When she tries on a new skirt, she asks: “I just go it. You like it?” Although Eddie replies: “I think it’s too short, ain’t it?” Catherine nonetheless remains loyal to him and instead of just accepting the fact that he does not like it, she relentlessly tries to persuade and convince him that: “It’s the style now.” When the stage directions explain: “(almost in tears because he disapproves),” it shows that she wants his approval for even the smallest of things; it also shows that she admires Eddie as a father figure and values his judgement. Catherine’s adulation for Eddie as a father, inadvertently spurs Eddie on to find different feelings for her. This makes the audience feel slightly irritated at Catherine for unknowingly urging Eddie to express his feelings for her. When Catherine tells Eddie that she has got a new job at plumbing company, he overreacts. He comes up with absurd excuses such as: “I don’t like the neighbourhood over there.” Eddie soon finds out that she will be earning fifty dollars a week, more than him, and immediately becomes jealous. As the play is set in the 20th Century, Beatrice is portrayed as the traditional housewife who cooks and cleans, while Catherine is represented as the modern woman breaking the mould by attending college and getting a job. Eddie is depicted as the breadwinner and patriarchal figure. He doesn’t appreciate being usurped by his younger niece, and will not allow Catherine to get the job. With all this tension in the household, the audience begins to realise that Eddie is not just a normal over protective father, but has stronger feelings for Catherine than what is shown on the surface.
Miller tries to portray the strength of Eddie and Beatrice’s marriage at the start of the play. The audience can see that Beatrice loves Eddie because she says: “You’re an angel” to him; this would suggest that his uncharacteristic behaviour around Catherine is meaningless, and that he truly loves Beatrice. However, Beatrice is still frustrated that Eddie is not paying enough attention to her as she would like, and far too much attention to Catherine. The audience...