Is it fair to say that Beatrice is a tragic victim in A View from the Bridge?
Is it fair to say that Beatrice is a tragic victim in ‘A View from the Bridge?’
Beatrice on the whole is can be seen as represented as a strong and stable character, the evidence to support this is that she shows loyalty and offers support towards the people in her family especially towards her husband Eddie; she describes him as an ‘angel’ (P.8) and tells him that she’s ‘worried’ about him (p.8). It is ironic that Beatrice is shown as a caring character at the start of the play as during the end of the play we see how frustration leads Beatrice into becoming a different character to how we saw her in the beginning of the play. Through the end of the play Beatrice starts to lose her temper when she sees Eddie’s real feelings for Catherine. From there on the audience sees a different side to Beatrice as she starts off as a calm character and is then seen as frustrated. Beatrice is also shown as a mother figure to Catherine (her niece); However, Eddie’s over protectiveness towards Catherine creates differences in Beatrice’s marriage therefore Beatrice can be seen as a tragic victim because of her husband’s obsession with her niece.
Beatrice could be seen as a tragic victim because although it is not directly shown, we are able to see that Beatrice has no children of her own therefore she cares for Catherine as if she were her own child. However, her love for everyone can be seen as a flaw and could show her as a tragic victim because she loves Catherine yet her husband has feelings for Catherine. ‘I’m just worried about you, that’s all I’m worried’’ (p.6) this quotation shows that Beatrice is loving and caring towards Eddie. Furthermore, we are able to see that this is her biggest downfall. Her love and affection for her husband is something that contributes and leads her towards being a tragic victim. Nevertheless, her love and care for her husband is something that she has to do as she is a woman. In them times a man was seen as powerful this meant that a woman could not go against him. Eddie can be a seen as a powerful character; even though Eddie is actually the aggressive character, ironically he constantly tries to put the blame on Beatrice. ‘’.... it a shootin gallery in here and I’m the pigeon….’’ When Eddies power is threatened he tries to blame it on Beatrice as though it is her fault and he is under pressure from her yet he is the one who fears that his dominance may endangered and therefore he tries to make it look as if he is the tragic victim when ultimately it is Beatrice who is the tragic victim.
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Nevertheless, Beatrice is not presented as a tragic victim as although her husband was possessive of her niece, Beatrice is aware of this and is able to see her relationships breaking down. However, although this is obvious to Beatrice she talks to her husband but does not try to stop what is happening. Beatrice tells Eddie, ‘Well then, be an uncle then’ (p.g 38) this shows that Beatrice starts to become more irritated with Eddies attitude with Catherine and starts to notice the change with him. However on the other hand, Beatrice is unable to say anything to Eddie as she is just the housewife and he is the husband which gives him the right to be able to do what he wants. As Beatrice is a housewife she has no experience within the working world which makes her depend on her husband, it can be seen as though society has trapped Beatrice in her own house and therefore she has no option but to look upon her husband and trust whatever it is that he is doing.
Beatrice confronts Eddie and asks him ‘when am I gonna be a wife again, Eddie’ (p.g 24) this suggests that Beatrice could be seen as a tragic victim as she is not appreciated as a wife. As a result we are able to see that they have not been able to have a sexual relationship between them furthermore it could be implied that as they have no child of their own they may have not consummated their marriage. This could question whether or not the couple actually have love between or if the relationship is just to show society if they are husband and wife. Also throughout the play the couple show no sign of love between them apart from Beatrice who throughout the novel tells him that she ‘loves’ him. This could suggest that Eddie does not love Beatrice and therefore that may be the reason as to why he is so affectionate towards Catherine.
Conversely, although Miller is indirectly showing Beatrice and Eddie are not able to have sexual relationship between them, it could be argued that this could be because of the fact that Beatrice is can see that Eddie has a sense of over protectiveness for Catherine and therefore because of this they are unable to consummate their marriage. This could infer that Beatrice is not a tragic victim as she is able to see the strangeness in her husband yet she is not taking any action therefore Miller could be demonstrating that it is Beatrice’s own fault that she is losing out on her marriage.
On the other hand, although Miller portrays Beatrice as a character that shows faithfulness and loyalty, she loses out on the most at the end of the drama. ‘’…he dies in her arms, and Beatrice covers him with her body’’ This quotation supports the fact that Beatrice is a tragic victim as her kindness is what leads to her downfall of losing her family. It is ironic as Beatrice is shown as a strong character at the start of the play however at the end of the play she breaks down and confronts Eddie about his feelings for Catherine. ‘’ (crying out, weeping) the truth is not as bad as blood, Eddie! I’m tellin’ you the truth – tell her good-bye forever!’’ This quotation is ironic as from the start of the play Miller shows the audience that Beatrice notices Eddie’s attitude towards Catherine however she ignores it. Nevertheless when it comes to the end of the play Beatrice’s irritation with Eddie leads her to confront him. Miller could be inferring that Beatrice’s kindness is what leads her to not confronting Eddie as she may realise that it may ruin Catherine’s as well as her own.
Miller portrays Beatrice to the audience as a stable character; although at the end of play we see that she loses her family, The audience is able to figure from the start that Beatrice knows that there will be a tragic ending as her reactions show this, we can see this through the way that she tells Eddie that she is ‘worried’ for him (pg6). Miller presents Beatrice whose love and care for her husband is her biggest downfall.
On the other hand we see that Beatrice has no children of her own therefore this could suggest that her and Eddie may not have been able to have consummate their marriage and this may have been the collapse in their marriage. It could also imply that Eddie may have felt unappreciated because of this and his urge for love may have lead him to Catherine.
It is ironic as Beatrice is represented as a kind character and Eddie acknowledges this when he tells her she has ‘such a heart’(p8) and he doesn’t want her to be ‘pushed around’(p8), yet towards the end of the play he talks about how it’s a ‘shooting gallery’ and he’s the ‘pigeon’. This suggests that although he understands that he shouldn’t be picking faults within Beatrice and should be picking faults within himself, he still makes Beatrice feel neglected.
In conclusion, Beatrice as a housewife is portrayed as a strong character on the whole as Beatrice is finally able to come out with uncomfortable truth to Eddy. ‘’....and you can never have her!’’ (p62), the tone in which Beatrice says this to Eddy suggests power as in the 1950’s women would not have an incredible amount of power and therefore it would be unusual for a wife to point out faults in her husband. The social status of Eddie is a constant issue and factor in Beatrice being perceived as a tragic victim. Eddie is seen as the dominant male in the play and therefore according to social norms Beatrice and Catherine are made to abide what he says because of them being women. Nevertheless, throughout the play, Beatrice is the first one to express the affection that Eddie has for Catherine however despite knowing Eddie’s feelings for Catherine she does nothing to stop him and only gets the courage to say something to him at the end of the play. Also, the audience is able to interpret that there is not actually a sexual relationship between Eddie and Beatrice, this may suggest that because Beatrice does not give any of her time to Eddie as a husband he may feel neglected and therefore tries to fulfil his sexual desire through Catherine. The audience can distinguish that Beatrice has feelings for Eddie from the way that she talks about how she loves him. However throughout the play the audience do not observe Beatrice expressing her love physically which may be what leads the character of Eddie to move onto Catherine. Nevertheless, Beatrice is a tragic victim as even after everything that has happened Eddie dies in Beatrice’s arms and it is Beatrice’s character that loses out on the most at the end of the play.