Moreover, throughout the play, Eddie addresses Catherine as either a “kid” or a “baby”. This use of terms is indicative that Eddie wants Catherine to be the young girl that always loved him, but it is apparent that she is growing up and being more independent. His selfish desire is again emphasised by his disapproval of Catherine’s dress code, claiming that she is “…walking wavy”. His disgust for her wearing high heels or short skirts is due to the fact that it symbolises and advertises her adult sexuality and consequently he fears the possibility that another man will become interested in her and ultimately engage in a relationship. Simultaneously, this thought along with his obsessive love for Catherine fuels his jealousy of Rodolfo after his and Mraco’s arrival as he begins to show signs of flirting with his niece – “(indicating Catherine) Especially when they are so beautiful!”. As Eddie’s obsessive love for Catherine causes him to become envious of Rodolfo, it immediately becomes fixated in Eddie’s mind that Rodolfo gives him the ‘heeby-jeebies’. Nothing changes his mind throughout the play, and this belief that he is always right no matter if he is in fact wrong, is a weakness that ultimately leads to Eddie’s downfall.
As it becomes increasingly apparent that Catherine and Rodolfo have eyes for each other, Eddie’s jealousy is ignited due to the fact that in Eddie’s view, Rodolfo is much too blond and too ‘feminine’ for his niece, although the audience would most likely have picked up by now that Eddie is only jealous because he has feelings for Catherine himself due to his reactions and body language. When Rodolfo displays his high tenor voice, Catherine shows admiration for his talent – “Leave him finish, it’s beautiful!” Rodolfo falling in love with Catherine, who in Eddie’s view is his property, certainly does not fit in with the ‘blue-print’ in his mind and it is noticeable that he is not at all happy with this younger man interfering with it. In comparison with Eddie, Rodolfo is a character who welcomes and desires change; he seeks the wonders that life has to offer and has a positive outlook on existence. This positive attitude appeals to Catherine, whereas conversely Eddie is eroded by the miseries of life and does not wish for change, even if it is for the better, as shown after he agrees (unwillingly) to let Catherine accept the job offer – “And then you’ll move away.” His pessimistic view on life does not help Eddie later on in the play, where it makes a big impact on the decisions he makes and indisputably leads to his misfortune.
Due to the fact that Rodolfo exhibits more desirable qualities than Eddie, Eddie is even more resentful that her niece is falling for a younger and more attractive man. Immersed in the emotions of protectiveness and envy and desperate to have Catherine to himself, Eddie attempts to diminish Catherine’s interest in Rodolfo, claiming that he wants to marry her only to obtain his American citizenship– “He marries you he’s got the right to be an American citizen”. However, it is evident that such behaviour is out of pure jealously, and it is clear when he speaks to Alfieri that he is also confused about his feelings and does not know for sure why he is blaming Rodolfo, or perhaps he is denying the truth that he loves Catherine. First he says “I mean he looked so sweet there, like an angel – you could kiss him he was so sweet” indicating that he despises him because of his homosexual mannerisms, but later he contradicts himself saying “...and when I think of that guy layin’ his hands on her I could – I mean it’s eatin’ me out”, indicating that he believes Rodolfo is getting far too close to his niece and should back off. This contradiction could be because of his failure to mask the feelings he has for Catherine or the confusion Eddie feels because of not seeing the difference between his thoughts and what he wants others to believe.
Additionally, Eddie simply refuses to allow Catherine to love Rodolfo; his airy accusations of Rodolfo are also based on his inability to trust others, which is also highlighted in his conversation with Catherine when he allows her to take the job as a stenographer – “I only ask you one thing – don’t trust nobody.” The society and community to which Eddie was exposed influenced him to distrust people; witnessing the Vinny Bolzano incident with his own eyes, Eddie’s views upon society have been significantly altered and he is paranoid that there are “…stool pigeons all over this neighbourhood” claiming that “you don’t know who they are. It could be your best friend.” As a result, Eddie does not trust anyone and is very suspicious of those who are different. This behaviour is clear in another of his warnings to Catherine in Act I, whilst eating dinner with Beatrice and Catherine - “…you can quicker get back a million dollars that was stole than a word you gave away.” Such prophetic words illustrate the strength of his unwillingness to accept the harmlessness of trusting people and reveal the irony and madness of Eddie's character. Miller sets Eddie up so vehemently against betrayal that his transition to actually becoming the betrayer seems illogical. The set-up makes Eddie undergo a drastic change, if not a complete breakdown within the play to make such a transition, and the force of this transition reveals not only his self-destructive madness, but the deepness of his unspoken love for his niece. This quotation also reveals that Eddie recognizes his own fate - he knows what will happen to him, but also is sure he cannot escape it. Much like Alfieri, Eddie watches himself make decisions he knows will not only ruin his reputation in the community, but also possibly kill him. He may know the consequences of his actions, but remains powerless, or too mad to stop them from happening.
Furthermore Eddie, who is unintentionally in denial of his feelings towards Catherine, is unable to understand his feelings for himself. Throughout the play, he vaguely paints a picture concerning how he feels by describing his emotions as “heebie jeebies”, “willies” or simply that “he ain’t been feeling good.” This lack of expression is profoundly obvious by his description of Catherine’s appearance: “…with them high heels on the side walk – clack, clack, clack. The heads are turning like windmills”. Eddie’s inability to concisely articulate his emotions as well as speak them out is indicative that perhaps he simply does not understand them. His lack of understanding provokes intuitive denial and is perhaps the source of the problems that lead towards his downfall.
Despite Beatrice and Alfieri providing insight on Eddie’s behaviour and exposing the truth that “…There’s too much- (love for Catherine), - and it goes where it mustn’t”, Eddie dismisses such ideas. He is essentially unable to face the truth as he simply does not understand it himself. He does not appear to recognise that his actions are illegitimate and immoral and does not attempt to change himself or his behaviour. Instead he tries to justify everything based on the idea that Rodolfo “…ain’t right”. Furthermore, the fact that he is unable to understand his emotions means that he cannot control them either. As his jealousy and selfishness escalate, along with his inability to trust and understand his emotions, it all spirals out of control for Eddie when he makes rash decisions such as revealing the brothers to the Immigration Bureau and hence committing the most wretched act one can execute in a close Italian-American community where family matters most. Paradoxically, it is Eddie who warns Catherine and Beatrice from releasing any information relating to the illegal immigrants which indicates that he is prepared to sacrifice everything and break the unwritten code of loyalty to satisfy his mad desire to have Catherine to himself. However, he loses Catherine, his pride and his community’s respect and still Eddie tries to regain his “name” despite the risk that he may be mortally wounded if not killed. Such actions, which are triggered by his weaknesses, destroy him emotionally and fatally.
Nonetheless, it is the culmination of all of Eddie’s weaknesses combined that in due course tear him down. Miller establishes that Eddie is a character who values respect above all else; in his views on hierarchy in the family as well as his self-centred acts to gain respect from all the other characters in the play – “I want my respect!” Being unable to identify with his own feelings, not wanting to accept when he is wrong and not knowing how to express his emotions, Eddie ends up destroying his reputation. Such actions are based upon his desire to satisfy his obsessive love for Catherine, and because of this love he makes all of the wrong decisions; in not letting Catherine stay with Rodolfo, in calling the Immigration Bureau, and turning on Marco merely to get his status back. So many other problems are caused due to his adhering personality that lead to the tragic end in “A View from the Bridge”. As Alfieri mentions at the very beginning - “Eddie Carbone…never expected to have a destiny”, the audience recognizes from the start that it is likely to not end so well for Eddie. However, due to his weaknesses, he becomes a “…dark figure walking down a hall towards a certain door”, a path that not Alfieri or even the wise old woman Alfieri asks for advice from can intervene on or adjust. Miller intended the play to be a modern version of a Greek Tragedy (in which a central character is led by fate towards a destiny that cannot be escaped.) Eddie is a character that has what the Greeks called ‘hamatria’, which literally means ‘error of judgment’ more commonly referred to as a ‘tragic flaw’ ; where the main character makes mistakes or has a destructive tendency that leads to them to cause their own destruction. You could argue that Eddie's tragic flaws or weaknesses lead to his downfall, although his fate is unchangeable.
Despite all that happens in the play, another side of Eddie is suddenly shown just before his tragic death – “(Eddie) Then why—Oh, B.! (Beatrice) Yes, yes! (Eddie) My B.!” As Eddie lies dying in Beatrice's arms, the couple find some sort of reconciliation and repair of their torn and battered relationship. Beatrice, even under such horrifying circumstances, is able to forgive Eddie and regardless of him constantly dominating Beatrice throughout the play, in this tiny moment Eddie needs Beatrice more than she needs him. It is the first time the audience hears that Eddie cannot only rely on himself and it is the first time that he honestly needs Beatrice by his side. The last words of Eddie Carbone show the audience that Eddie was not a bad person – he was simply human and let his self-destructive weaknesses seal his own fate and lead up to his own death.
In conclusion, Arthur Miller presents the slightly atypical protagonist Eddie Carbone as an undoubtedly good man with many self-destructive weaknesses. Although Eddie supports and wishes for the best for Catherine, his obsessive love for her fuels his mad desire to have her all to himself. The arrival of Rodolfo and Marco provides a catalyst in the self-destruction of Eddie Carbone as he becomes jealous and suspicious of Rodolfo, failing to control his emotions as he fails to understand his own feelings and actions. As his egocentricity and jealousy grows, his weaknesses cause his life to spiral out of control and in due course, he is prepared to lose everything taking the final, fatal blow inflicted by his own hand. Symbolically, Eddie Carbone, the good and hard-working man, is destroyed by his own weaknesses.