• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

There is too little to admire in Eddie Carbone for him to be seen as a tragic hero. Discuss this view.

Extracts from this document...


Joe Stanford 'There is too little to admire in Eddie Carbone for him to be seen as a tragic hero'. Discuss this view. In his essay Tragedy and the Common Man, Arthur Miller writes of how 'the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were', and uses the protagonist, Eddie Carbone, an as illustration of the 'common man'. Miller has a unique perspective on tragedy, and tries to reinvent its conventions by attributing the Aristotelian characteristics of a tragic hero to the simple longshoreman Eddie Carbone, who contrasts against the 'kings' that are King Lear or Othello. Eddie is human, and although he may be subject to an array of flaws, we appreciate in him the 'heart and spirit of the average man'. It is important that Eddie is introduced as a warm, caring character so the audience's admiration can be tested throughout the course of the play, and also to illustrate that Eddie was once happy and has suffered. Eddie is presented as a devoted family man, which is evident from Catherine's presence. Catherine is Beatrice's niece and has no blood relation to Eddie, yet Eddie still states he is 'responsible' for her because he 'promised [Catherine's] mother on her deathbed'. ...read more.


This links with another trait of a classical Greek tragedy which is that the character's fate must be greater than deserved. In Miller's essay, he writes that the protagonist is merely 'attempting to gain his "rightful" position in his society". Perhaps this is evident when Eddie is shouting 'I want my name' for it illustrates Eddie's desire for the respect and reputation the title possessed in the neighbourhood of Red Hook. Eddie just wanted an 'unchangeable environment' and did not initially intend to create any distress; originally, he describes taking the immigrants as 'an honour'. Eddie's reaction illustrates his dedication to family values which strengthens the idea that his fate was far greater than deserved. Eddie conforms to Aristotle's idea of peripeteia, which is the protagonist's reversal of fortune. Initially, the apartment is presented as 'homely' but towards the climax it is a place of isolation for Eddie, where he is 'rocking back and forth' alone. This is because Eddie's relationships crumble. In the opening scene, Eddie's relationship with Beatrice seems healthy; he cares about her and worries that she has 'got too big a heart'. Eddie's obsession with Catherine, however, affects Beatrice, which engenders some conflict between them; Beatrice shouts more frequently about Eddie's inability to 'leave her alone'. ...read more.


He states how he thinks he will 'love him more than all [his] sensible clients' during his epilogue, heightening his status to the audience. This is Miller's way of attributing the classic Aristotelian characteristic of nobility to Eddie, which remains at the very core of his actions. More sympathy is created when the audience recognise this at the climax when he cries 'Then why'; questioning why his selflessness resulted in his death. In conclusion, Eddie may not be 'purely good, but himself purely' expressing that albeit subject to an array of flaws, Eddie is human and a man whose actions are rooted to his morals and values, which are by far the most dominating reasons for how one can see him as a 'tragic hero'. Eddie remains the unconventional protagonist of Arthur Miller, in that Eddie possesses the classical Aristotelian characteristics of a tragic hero but he is not someone of royalty or great power; he is a 'common man' who has nothing but his family and his morals. Some may view Eddie as a man who fails to 'settle for half', but what marks his tale as special; what places him among the admirable tragic heroes such as Othello or King Lear, is his being 'wholly known'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. A View from the Bridge. Although Eddie is a good man, how do his ...

    In the opening stages of the play, Miller establishes Eddie as a character who is undoubtedly in love with his niece via his speech and the stage directions - "(Eddie is pleased and therefore shy about it)". His small and subtle reactions would be picked up on by the audience

  2. Joe Keller is a tragic hero

    As such, this highlights Miller's consciousness in using the Oedipus Greek tragedy to exemplify the father son conflict through generation gap (Miller, 1987, pp.134-34). Moreover, Miller's contextual nod to Oedipus Rex highlights the play using the psychological quality in the Oedipus complex to emphasise the conflict of the generation gap.

  1. Discuss the extent to which you feel Eddie is a suitable tragic hero in ...

    He even the suggests the common man may make a better tragic hero. He also states that if not in art we attribute the same mental processes to the noble and also the lowly. Another point he makes is that the tragic hero has a "tragic flaw" but this is

  2. An essay examining Alfieri's role in a

    inflicted upon him: it was seen that he got what he deserved. It is ironic that Eddie does just the same thing as Vinny, 'snitch to Immigration', to Marco and Rodolpho at the end of the play. Alfieri gives us and introduction into what it is like to live in Red Hook and what the atmosphere is like there.

  1. Is “Death of a Salesman” A Modern Tragedy?

    why - I can't stop my self - I talk too much. A man ought to come in a few words. One thing about Charley, he is a man of a few words, and they respect him. " He uses all those excuses to explain his failure.

  2. To what Extent does the Character of Willy Loman conform to the Conventions of ...

    A Tragic Hero should also have a fatal weakness, which leads to destruction and should find some degree of release and resignation when facing death. In the play we see Willy not being able to come to terms with reality.

  1. Is it fair to say that Beatrice is a tragic victim in A View ...

    Nevertheless, her love and care for her husband is something that she has to do as she is a woman. In them times a man was seen as powerful this meant that a woman could not go against him. Eddie can be a seen as a powerful character; even though

  2. In All My Sons, Arthur Miller offers a different perspective on the conventional Aristotle ...

    side is with the child character of Bert, although we haven?t seen or heard from Bert before, by the way he speaks of the jail game with Joe we can tell this game has been going on for quite a while and that although we see Kate on edge by

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work