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Is Eddie Carbone a tragic hero?

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Is Eddie Carbone a tragic hero? Before I decide on whether Eddie Carbone is a tragic hero, we must define what the word 'tragic' and 'hero' actually mean. 'Tragic'- A tragedy is a type of drama. A tragedy traces the fall of the central figure, the 'hero', as he grapples with his destiny. Historically, tragedy started in Ancient Greece. Greek tragedies usually formed on a very important and powerful figure (a king or a prince perhaps) who makes an error or judgement or who has a hamartia (fatal flaw) that leads to his tragic downfall. In the context of a tragedy, the word 'hero' means the central character or protagonist (the hero) whom we admire or respect in some way, but who is flawed or imperfect and where his flawed character contributes to his own downfall. A hero is consequently not a perfect character, not even necessarily a pleasant one. His plight illustrates the cruelty of the world, and how one man faces up to his fate. It is important that a tragic hero acquires some self-knowledge, that he faces up to his own predicament, with honesty and openness. Now, in order to find out to what extent Eddie is a tragic hero, we must ask ourselves the following questions: a) ...read more.


Yet the 'icing on the cake' for our losing all respect for him is the fact he can't see what he's doing, how he's acting, all the problems he's caused. Which eventually leads to him turning in the two submarines causing Marco to pick a fight with Eddie, in which Eddie dies, (though that was probably a better fate for Eddie as the Mafia who were a second government effectively in those days wouldn't have let him off with a quick and easy death). The second question we must ask, is what is Eddie's character flaw? Well, he has several character flaws, the first being his deep rooted sexual attraction for Catherine. This becomes evident fairly soon into the play, with the way he acts when she is around. It also leads onto another flaw; his obsessive jealousy and deep resentment of Rodolpho. This is because Rodolpho is hitting it off with Catherine, whom Eddie can't get anything from, and it has sparked something off inside him, which is also mentally tearing him up. Though what makes it worse is the fact he's blind about himself. He is unable to confront himself with how he feels about everything. This is why his bitter resentment towards Rodolpho is so great. ...read more.


Another thing that puts him beneath our contempt, is the fact he had the audacity to turn in the two submarines because he was jealous, knowing full well what the consequences were, with the mafia not the police. Does Eddie ever gain any self-knowledge? No. Simple as that, he never gains insight into his own character. Throughout the play, maybe not so at the beginning, but very definitely when the two submarines arrive early on in the play, he was very selfish and very over protective of Catherine. He is very jealous of Rodolpho, and hence bullies him. However Marco makes sure Eddie doesn't harm Rodolpho physically by showing off how strong he is (and also subtly hinting at how he could beat Eddie in a fight). He does this by showing that he can lift a chair by only one of its legs, whereas Eddie is unable to. Unfortunately Eddie seemingly misses this hint of Marco's power, and this in turn leads to his death. All in all, what we can see Eddie is a protagonist whom we all respect to start with, but indeed he has a fatal flaw, which his inability to be emotionally articulate, especially within himself and he becomes a tragic hero as we watch his downfall from the beginning of the play. So is Eddie Carbone a tragic hero? Yes. ...read more.

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