Eddie Carbone As A Tragic Hero In A View From The Bridge

1359 words - 5 pages

A View from the Bridge is a dramatic tragedy, which follows the life of a dockworker, Eddie Carbone, in 1950s America who is the main focus of the play. He represents the average, everyday man in society, but his character draws parallels to many tragic heroes in the past shown in Greek tragedies, Shakespeare’s plays, etc. (e.g. Hamlet and Macbeth). A tragic hero is the hero in the story who has positive and negative traits and their negative traits is what eventually leads to the demise and this is what happens to Eddie. Many fathers and uncles can relate to Eddie when they have to ‘let go’ of their children, but Eddie’s tragic flaw is that his immature actions and selfish behaviour emphasises his personal obsession of being in charge and being respected.

Similar to Greek tragedies, the hero has a fate, which he cannot avoid and which is also told to us at the beginning by a chorus figure: “…sat there as powerless as I, and watched it run it’s bloody course,” (Act One). This tells the audience that the story is going to end in violence, like many tragedies in general. Alfieri is this chorus figure and the lawyer of the play. As he is a lawyer, he is a trusted character and he is probably the second most important character in the play, even though he isn’t part of most of the action. As he represented Eddie’s father in the past, (“…I had represented his father in an accident case some years before…” – Act One) he has a connection with Eddie but Alfieri thinks Eddie should ‘settle for half’ and “bless her” (regarding whether he should let his niece do what she wants instead of what Eddie regards as doing what’s best for her). Alfieri also questions Eddie Carbone’s motives and tries to stress the actual problem of illegal immigrants “…but I don’t think you want to do anything about that…” (Act One). This also reflects the personality of the chorus figure, as it is usually this character that advises the hero to not make the wrong decisions. Alfieri ends the play by telling the audience that he mourns Eddie and tries to present Eddie as an innocent guy that has just followed his destiny. He also goes on to say that, “every few years there is still a case [like this]”, further trying to make Eddie seem innocent.

At the beginning of the play, Eddie is portrayed as a sensible and smart character. Eddie and the girls (Catherine and Beatrice) all have a requited respect for each other – Beatrice: “Mmm! You’re an angel! God’ll bless you” – and there are no problems as such, even when the immigrants first come. He is also respected by the community – Alfieri: “He was good a man as he had to be in life that was.” But this dominant respect that he gains is what he is very used to and the slight changes where Catherine finds another man in her life and Beatrice also looks after the two immigrants (Rodolpho and Marco) effects Eddie hugely. The respect that he becomes used to is now shared by the women in his life between the men in his house and he...

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