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A View from the Bridge
In what ways does Eddie’s attitude towards Catherine dominate the action of the whole play?
All of Eddie’s actions in the play, from deciding what Catherine wears and whom she dates to phoning the immigration authorities, are dominated by his quasi-incestuous feelings for his niece. They lead to the tragic dénouement which ends in his own death.
Right from the beginning of the play, the audience can see Eddie’s possessive and patriarchal nature towards Catherine when she simply waves to Louis:
“Listen, I could tell you things about Louis which you wouldn’t wave to him anymore.”
When Catherine asks Eddie if he likes her new skirt he tells her that he thinks it is too short. Eddie also does not like her new high heel, because he doesn’t like the look men are giving her. It becomes apparent that Catherine values and respects Eddie, because after he has made his comments on her appearance, she is ‘almost in tears, because she disapproves.’ Catherine also waits on Eddie as he was her own father; she offers him a beer and asks him about his day
In scene four, Eddie and Beatrice have a conversation while Rodolpho has taken Catherine to the pictures. Eddie says that Brooklyn is a place ‘full of tramps’; however, he wants Catherine to work there when she is offered a job in Redhook. Eddie seems very worried of the fact that his little ‘Madonna’ has gone out with Rodolpho; although, it is just eight o’clock:
“They must’ve seen every picture in Brooklyn by now. He’s supposed to stay in the house when he ain’t working. He ain’t supposed to go advertising himself.”
Eddie tries to make a plausible reason by saying Rodolpho might get caught by immigration officers, but it is in his own interest, because he doesn’t want Catherine to be dating.
As the play progresses, Eddie’s jealousy grows and grows until he can’t tolerate Catherine and Rodolpho being happy together, so he goes to seek help from Alfieri. Alfieri’s advice to Eddie is juxtaposed with Beatrice giving advice to Catherine.
When Eddie enters Alfieri’s office, he describes Eddies eyes ‘like tunnels’, resembling tunnel vision, as Eddie is fixated on one thing: to get Catherine.
At this point when Eddie goes to see Alfieri, he is very desperate and his objective is to quite simply break up Catherine and Rodolpho. He tries to convince Alfieri that Rodolpho is only going out with Catherine for his papers. The main case against Rodolpho from Eddie is his sexuality, but all of the reasons he gives are raw and unproven:
“Mr Alfieri, I’m telling you, the guy ain’t right.”
“I can see it in his eyes; he’s laughin’ at her and he’s laughin’ at me.”
“Dirty, filthy hands”
Alfieri cannot offer any advice to Eddie, accept to snitch on Marco and Rodolpho about how they entered the country; however, Eddie is shocked at this idea of betraying his family. Eddie becomes very aggressive and frustrated towards Rodolpho and insults him: “son-of-a-bitch punk”.
Eddie also implies that he thinks Catherine is his property when he says:
“He’s [Rodolpho] stealing from me!”
In the final scene of the first act, all of the family are at home. At this stage Catherine is becoming increasingly aware of Eddie’s dislike for Rodolpho and instigates a dance with Rodolpho “with revolt”. Eddie is sitting in his armchair watching with a newspaper in his hands:
“He has been unconsciously twisting the newspaper into a tight roll…He has bent the rolled paper and it suddenly tears into two. Eddie gets up and pulls his pants up over his belly and goes to Marco.”
The rolled up newspaper is symbolic of Rodolpho, who is known as ‘paper doll’ at the ships.
Once again Eddie can’t bear to see his precious ‘Madonna’ with Rodolpho, so Eddie starts a conversation with him about fights, as this will stop them dancing together.
Eddie seems very eager to get Rodolpho boxing with him. The audience perceive Eddie’s aim to release his aggression and/ or to show Catherine who is more manly, but this backfires after the fight when Rodolpho asks Catherine and they continue dancing.
Two days before Christmas, Eddie comes home drunk to find Catherine and Rodolpho home alone. Eddie kisses Catherine and then Marco:
“(To Marco) Come
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A View from the Bridge, Bottom, Catherine, Eddie the Head, Hole, Eddie
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