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To what extent does an audience sympathise with Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller’s ‘A View from the Bridge’?

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Introduction

To what extent does an audience sympathise with Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller's 'A View from the Bridge'? Eddie is a character who demands a lot of attention from the audience as through most parts of the play one has conflicting emotions about him, either sympathy, criticism or a confusing and complicated combination of both. This means that it is often hard to decide which emotion you feel more strongly. One of the most difficult and controversial issues involving Eddie is his niece, Catherine. He tries to be the best father figure he can to her, maybe he is too overprotective of her, as a lot of fathers would be, not wanting her to attract too much attention whilst walking out in the streets around Redhook. Very early on he comments that she is 'walkin' wavy' and that he doesn't 'like the looks they're givin' her in the candy store.' He doesn't want her to leave school to get a job as then she may move away and not be under his protection, therefore he tries to make her feel guilty for wanting to get a job by saying, 'You'll move away... ...read more.

Middle

When this seems to fail Eddie decides to teach Rodolpho to box, his excuse being 'one a these days somebody's liable to step on his foot or sump'm.' When Eddie 'accidentally' hits Rodolpho, Marco decides that enough is enough and stands up for his brother by proving to Eddie that he is stronger. This was done in a 'friendly' competition, introduced by Marco asking Eddie, 'Can you lift this chair?' Eddie could not, but Marco lifted the chair by one leg and held it above Eddie's head. From that point on Eddie's relationships with all of the family, including the immigrants, became very tense. The first climax of this argument comes shortly after the start of Act Two, when Eddie comes back to the flat, 'unsteady, drunk', Catherine and Rodolpho come out of the bedroom, her rearranging her dress. Eddie realising what has happened orders Rodolpho to, 'Pack it up. Go ahead. Get your stuff and get outa here.' When Catherine attempts to follow Rodolpho, Eddie becomes angrier, grabbing her and kissing her on the mouth as if to stamp ownership on her in front of Rodolpho. ...read more.

Conclusion

I knew where he was headed for, I knew where he was going to end.' shows that he had a fate or destiny and the way he was going there was no way of avoiding it, he was going to die as a result of this quarrel. At the end of the book Alfieri makes a striking comment that helps you to feel sympathy for Eddie, however useless the petty argument that ended his life was. He says, 'For he allowed himself to be wholly known and for that I think I will love him more than all my sensible clients.' This shows you that however critical you may be of his character you have to be sympathetic towards him as it seems that revealing your whole character to everyone, leaving nothing unknown is one of the bravest things anyone can do, and in a way it must have been that which killed him. Eddie Carbone is a very tragic character who, through his own doing caused his death and his isolation from those around him, which evokes both criticism and pity amongst the audience. However, one must feel sympathy for him, in that he bared his soul to the world and paid the ultimate price for it. ?? ?? ?? ?? Charlotte Lambie ...read more.

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