Arthur Miller’s play “A View From the Bridge” revolves around the downfall of a tragic hero Eddie Carbone, who happens to be a long shore man living in Red Hook, Brooklyn with his wife Beatrice and niece Catherine. The extract being examined is a scene in which Eddie reinforces the perils of betraying family, specifically reporting them as illegal immigrants to the Immigration Bureau. He does so through telling the story of Vinny Bolzano who executed exactly that. Miller makes this a fascinating moment to return to when one is informed of what happens later on in the play because of its significance in presenting the situational irony, character development, as well as foreshadowing major events.
To begin with, this is the final scene before Marco and Rodolpho enter the play and the Carbone home- and everything changes. This is the final scene in which Eddie demonstrates his domination in the household, he tells Catherine she was “ a baby then” at the time period of Vinny’s setting which conveys that he is aware that she is older and more mature now, however, continuously refers to her as “kid”- belittling her and denying the fact that she is not captive to stay in their home or with Eddie for any longer. Eddie is also “standing facing the two seated women” towards the end of the conversation, exemplifying the hierarchy existent in their home and his prevalence over the two women. As events continue to unfold, the defeat of Eddie gradually begins.
Furthermore, amongst being the dominating figure at this point in the tragedy, other characteristics of Eddie are shown such as his sense of loyalty and principle. From this extract, it is concluded that a code of honor is present in the Red Hook community. Eddie is a man who pays a lot of attention to his reputation and the way others perceive him, and tries to maintain a decent status and power. Italians are the third largest immigrants to the United States; immigration was at high rates especially in the 1950’s to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Therefore, the society was well aware of what was happening, “the captain gets a piece, maybe one of the mates” and this portrays their unity, trust, and comfort with the immigrants although they were illegal. The respect being constructed was based on the honor between the neighbors, if one does something dishonorable to another like snitching after being trusted- respected is lost.
Additionally, the consequences are of snitching for both Vinny and Eddie are similar. Beatrice states that “the neighborhood was crying” at the news of Vinny’s crime and at Eddie’s death “behind him the dull prayers of the people and the keening of the women”. They were angered at the thought of both men’s actions which they believed were injustice and their punishments were well deserved. They lost their...