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Analyse the portrayal of Eddie Carbone as a tragic hero. How does Miller use Eddie to create dramatic tension?

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Introduction

Analyse the portrayal of Eddie Carbone as a tragic hero. How does Miller use Eddie to create dramatic tension? A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller is a dramatically tense tragedy that presents the story of the downfall of an ordinary man. The play examines the tragic consequences of Eddie Carbone's inability to understand himself and his actions. This predominantly takes the form of his prejudice towards his cousin and his inappropriate attraction to his niece. It is set in the 1950s and was written while Miller had become interested in the lives and work of Brooklyn's dockworkers and longshoremen. Miller uses the character of Eddie to express his viewpoint that the tragedy of the ruined life of an ordinary workingman is just as significant a subject for tragedy as that of any ancient king, God or "Caesar from Syracuse or Calabria". He presents Eddie as an equally valid antihero. Antiheroes, or Tragic heroes, are as Aristotle wrote neither wholly good nor wholly evil but a mixture of both. Eddie is not an evil man, but he acts selfishly, inappropriately and recklessly. Antiheros, unlike heroes, have fatal flaws. These enable a contemporary audience to empathise and identify with his fatally flawed relationships and disastrous choices. ...read more.

Middle

Act one is much longer than act two, prolonging the final decision and making the audience wait to discover the road Eddie takes. Dramatic tension is heightened and further escalates in the second act until it reaches its climax at the end of the play. This gradual rise in tension throughout the whole structure of the play is echoed in the feelings of the characters. Eddie, Beatrice, Catherine, Rodolpho and Marco all feel more and more confused about what they are going to do about their situations, until all of them have made their decisions resulting in the final death of Eddie. Everyone's fate is thus connected. As these connections become inevitably more turbulent, the poignancy of the tragedy is revealed. In the play, Miller particularly uses Eddie's role as a tragic hero to win the audience's sympathy. Eddie Carbone functions as a tragic hero as he struggles with his impending ruin and the audience feels pity and fear and experience his suffering vicariously as we understand that we could all make the same mistakes if we don't take responsibility for our actions. Eddie often says, "This is my house" to remind everybody that if it weren't for him, they would be homeless. ...read more.

Conclusion

The audience feel a great deal of sympathy for Eddie by the end of the play. They feel this sympathy because they know his fate could have been changed if he hadn't acted on his hubristic feelings. Alfieri's closing lines remind the audience of this; "Most of the time now we settle for half and I like it better" If Eddie had settled for half instead of trying to gain control of the other characters, he would have perhaps succeeded rather than causing complete destruction. By the end of the play, Eddie cannot see any view from the bridges of Brooklyn; he only has eyes for Catherine. Unfortunately, Catherine, like Rodolpho, sees all number of possibilities and dreams that lie ahead of her. Although bridges connect things, they are also a symbol of the way things are divided. Catherine needs to move across these bridges, but Eddie dies fighting to hold onto her. Eddies story is a tragedy because it is about how he handles his hubristic character, the result of his disastrous choices and his drastic change in fortune. It takes the audience on a roller coaster of dramatic tension, ending up with his unfortunate and unnecessary death, leaving the audience in mourning for such a tragic hero. 1 02/05/2007 ...read more.

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