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In 'A view from the Bridge' how does Arthur Miller present Eddie Carbone as a tragic hero?

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Introduction

A view from the bridge was written by Arthur Miller, and was first performed in 1956. The plot is about young girl Catherine who is cared for by her Aunt and Uncle, Beatrice and Eddie Carbone. As she grows up, Eddie begins to develop an infatuation with her, which eventually goes on to ruin every aspect of his life. As they shelter immigrants - Marco and Rodolpho - Catherine and Rodolpho begin to fall in love. The setting is in Red Hook Brooklyn, the poorer part of New York City. The play's context is dramatic tragedy. Aspects of Greek Tragedy are used by Miller in political and moral issues, which intermix with aspects of Greek tragedy - Eddie is also, in a typical Greek sense, the protagonist of the play. Alfieri is the equivalent of a chorus figure, and he hints at the idea of destiny and fate throughout the play. This also interlinks with the Greek tragedy aspect, as the ancient Greek plays would have choruses who watched, and commented on the actions of characters, as Alfieri does. At the beginning of the play, Eddie Carbone is presented as an easygoing, average man. Miller portrays him as a tragic hero - with use of characteristics from typical Shakespearean heroes. Miller presents Eddie as masculine, by making Eddie the one who works and earns money for the family. ...read more.

Middle

"Roldolpho flies at him in attack. Eddie pins is arms, laughing and suddenly kisses him." This shows Eddie is acting out of jealousy for Catherine. Rodolpho has begun a relationship with Catherine, and Eddie wants her for himself - not necessarily entirely in a sexual manner, but there are degrees of father-like and emotional reasons in Eddie. The audience's reaction to the kiss would be that Eddie was snapping further, as kissing Rodolpho doesn't seem logical or something a right-minded Eddie would do. It may also be a hint at Eddie's earlier claims that Rodolpho is a homosexual; Eddie perhaps thinks he is further mocking Rodolpho. He might even think that Rodolpho would respond to the kiss so he could use that as ammunition to prove to Catherine that Rodolpho was homosexual. Whatever his motive, it is clear that Eddie wasn't thinking straight and this portrays to the audience. His kiss towards Catherine also portrays how desperate he has got in trying to prove to her that Rodolpho is not right for her, but Eddie himself is. He perhaps thinks that showing her what he has to offer will change her mind and make her go to him rather than Rodolpho. It is Eddie also going for a "one last try" route, once again proving his tragic hero status, in that he can't settle for half in just being around Catherine, and having looked after her, but he wants her fully, forever. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eddie also shows his loss of respect by saying "I want my name", as if he wants final wishes or to lie to himself, that he is superior to Marco, and that his name still means something, respectfully. In conclusion, Eddie Carbone is portrayed as a tragic hero using his masculinity - being the "man" of the house, working, in his warped way of 'protecting' Catherine, and also his fatal flaw - that he could not settle for half with Catherine. Also his respect within the community, and within his own family, too proved him as a tragic hero. The audience would probably feel, in a sense, sorry for Eddie, as although he was responsible for his own actions, the audience may not feel he deserved to die. After all, most audience members may know what it's like to be in love, to be obsessed, and may sympathize with Eddie, feeling sorry that he lacked control over his emotions, and that the incident may be surreal to him. I don't think the audience would ever act as significantly as Eddie did, simply because the 'tragic hero' genre is exaggerated and Eddie Carbone's personality was part to blame for his vast actions. I think 'A view from the bridge' links to traditional tragedy in that Eddie's death was a disastrous event, that could have been stopped and it's disastrous not only to Eddie, but Beatrice, and others who loved him. ...read more.

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