Arthur Miller wrote the play, “A View from the Bridge”, as a modern version of a Greek Tragedy. Traditionally, a character is led by fate to a destiny which cannot be escaped. He introduces Eddie as the hero of the play but establishes him as an ‘ordinary’ man, just as he lays out in his essay ‘Tragedy and the Common Man’. Alfieri acts as a chorus. He can only watch the tragedy unfold. In his first speech, Alfieri identifies the play’s ”bloody” outcome. The audience shares Alfieri’s perspective: looking back on the events, which he narrates. Alfieri acts as the external observer; he observes all sides of the situation. Alfieri is the ‘bridge’ from which all is seen. Alfieri describes Eddie as a “Husky, slightly overweight longshoreman”. This makes the audience relate to Eddie as he seems like a genuine hardworking everyday man. Later on the script Eddie, can be seen trying to assert his dominance as he has a great amount of pride, in tragic terms his hubris, to let Catherine work to support the family, also not letting her work near any longshoremen. This could be his overprotective jealous attitude ultimately leading to his inevitable tragic death. Through the analysis of Eddie’s dominance, his troubling relationship with his niece Catherine, Rodolpho’s actions and his excessive masculinity Eddie’s journey towards his tragic end will be effectively sketched.
The audience may initially empathize with Eddie, as a man trying to control his family, or show love towards his wife Beatrice and his niece Catherine. In the beginning of the script, Eddie can be seen in control and initially the king, although when the two cousins Marco and Rodolpho arrive Eddie is over excessive pride takes over making him a very overprotective, attached, and temperamental. This can be seen by the stage direction, “he is sizing up Rodolpho, and there is a concealed suspicion”, this shows that Eddie his trying to assert his dominance towards Rodolpho to show that he is the man of the house. This sentence is very effective as it could intend that Eddie wanted to possibly hit Rodolpho, in addition, it could infer that traditionally, Italians are seen to have fiery tempers and be quick to anger as all of the characters have blood links to Italy and are immigrants. Miller may have used this to show that even within the Italian community where honour and respect are vital to the immigrants, issues also happen which ultimately leads to Eddie’s tragic death as he is involved in a struggle with Catherine which exposes his vulnerability, and his suffering moves us because it is incommensurate with his faults.
Furthermore, Eddie seems to have a rather inappropriate relationship with Catherine. This can be seen throughout the whole play as Eddie compliments her continuously and acts differently around her. This is particularly shown in the opening scene as Eddie admires her new outfit; “Beautiful. Turn around, lemme see the back”. This could show that Eddie has been attracted to Catherine since the beginning of the play, and has uncomfortable sexual connotations. Although this could be argued as a subtle compliment, although throughout the play this slowly progresses. This reaches a climax when he comes home intoxicated which shows that he expressed his true feelings towards Catherine, “He reaches out suddenly, draws her to him, and as she strives to free herself he kisses her on the mouth.” From the stage directions we can see that Catherine strives to be free which can be argued that she is fighting due to unwanted admiration. This scene was extremely uncomfortable for the audience to view due to realization of Eddie being her uncle. Despite many warnings from Beatrice and Alfieri, Eddie’s blindness is shown as he ignores their concerns. This was considered as a huge turning point in the play, as the action moves towards catastrophe, as his relationship with Catherine plunges from happiness to misery and culminates in his unnecessary death.
Additionally, Eddie can be constantly seen expressing his disapproval towards Rodolpho.