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Analyse the ways Arthur Miller presents Eddie Carbone as a tragic hero whose downfall is inevitable?

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Introduction

"Analyse the ways Arthur Miller presents Eddie Carbone as a tragic hero whose downfall is inevitable?" The play "A View from the Bridge" is set in the 1950's, in Red Hook; an area in Brooklyn described by Alfieri as, "the slum that face the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge . . . the gullet of New York". The title suggests looking over from a high point watching events from a distance; the view of two places could represent Alfieri looking over at Manhattan which resembles the American culture and Red Hook which resembles Sicilian culture. This shows that Alfieri is seen as a link between the two cultures as he has a wider perspective. This play was originally written as a Greek tragedy, however, unlike original Greek tragedies which consisted of one act, the play was written in two acts; this was to allow for a break for the audience and performers. Greek tragedies have a main character or protagonist; this character always has a fatal flaw which leads to his downfall. In this play Eddie is the protagonist and his fatal flaw is his over possessive love for Catherine. There is a catalyst which is a person who speeds up the downfall of the protagonist. The catalyst in this play is the arrival of Rodolfo who Catherine falls in love with. A Greek tragedy contains the idea of pre-destiny, having no freewill in your life, as everything is inevitable. In Ancient Greece fate was very important, even to the extent where the Greeks personified it; three women known as the fates who spun, measured and cut each mans life. ...read more.

Middle

When Eddie sits he sits, "cap in hand" This shows that Eddie is a respectful man in front of authority following a hierarchy. In the conversation Eddie tries to justify his views by implying that Rodolfo is a homosexual. Before he says this he "glances briefly over each shoulder", which suggests to me that Eddie knows what he is saying is wrong, it also seems that he is scared as they are both are alone and no one would hear what they are saying, conveying to me that Eddie is cautious and distrustful of everyone. Throughout the conversation Eddie cuts in when Alfieri is talking, showing he is desperate to find a way to get rid of Rodolfo for good, but to no avail we begin to sympathise for Eddie as we know he hasn't got any other way. In the conversation Alfieri seems to be able to talk more openly about the situation arising in Eddie's life, he gets to the point where he can clearly see what is happening, "She wants to get married, Eddie. She can't marry you, can she?" Being an intelligent man Alfieri can understand Eddie's predicament and empathises with him, but he can also see that the love he feels for his niece is too strong and he feels that he should get over the fact that Catherine is growing up. However, he is also aware that any advice he offers will be discarded, as Eddie is set on his fate. After Marco and Rodolfo have settled into the Carbone's residence, the situation becomes tense between Rodolfo and Eddie. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the last scenes we see that Eddie has lost everything, as all of the community turn their backs on Eddie, "Lipari, the butcher, turns and starts up left". He has informed the immigration about Marco and Rodolfo which is considered to be the most dishonourable thing a Sicilian man could do and so they have lost all respect they had for him. Eddie still maintains his innocence as he never gave up fighting for his niece till he died and he stuck to his ways. Eddie is a tragic hero as he died because of his fatal flaw; his over possessive love of his niece Catherine. We see that he realises his mistake at the end as his last words are, "My B.!" this suggests that Eddie has now understood that his loyalties should have stayed with Beatrice his wife. It is Alfieri that recognises that the death of Eddie should persuade you to think that, "it is better to settle for half". Alfieri also says that even though he knew that what Eddie did was bad there was still something in him that made him good, "something perversely pure calls to me from his memory" This conveys that Alfieri still thinks that Eddie is the "good guy" at the end of the play, as what he did was out of love a passion for his family, even though inevitably this would lead to his downfall and this was the reason why he died the way he did. At the end of the play we agree with Alfieri as the audience considers Eddie to have been hero in his own way. ...read more.

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