Furthermore, Miller portrays messages about settling for half through the portrayal of Beatrice, and especially suggests ideas about the need to settle for half between the roles of a loyal housewife and a strong female personality. From the outset of the play, Beatrice is portrayed as a loyal, somewhat stereotypical 1950s housewife. She is seen to ‘start into the kitchen’, and state that ‘I was gonna wash the walls’, showing how she is responsible for housekeeping, but she is also portrayed as independent in the way that she is seen to do these things without any prompting or command. However, she is also portrayed as someone who is not afraid to challenge Eddie. Throughout the poem, she is seen to say phrases such as ‘She’s no baby no more’ and ‘When am I gonna be a wife again’. The fact that she questions somewhat masculine responsibilities such as Eddie’s sexuality and the future of the children is somewhat unstereotypical of a 1950s housewife, and so, this would be somewhat shocking or surprising to the audience. In fact, at the end of the play, Beatrice’s ‘final thrust is to turn toward him instead of running away’, which shows that she is the only one in the play to challenge Eddie’s questionable behaviour, in a play full of ‘turning away’ and ‘covering the eyes’, and this leads to Beatrice assuming a sort of ‘heroine’ role in the play, and in fact, Beatrice’s actions are those which bring about Eddie’s catharsis - characteristic of a Greek Tragedy-style play. This causes Eddie to realise his love for Beatrice, and while he dies, he calls ‘Oh, B, My B’, which is indicative of the rebirth of Eddie’s affection for Beatrice. However, this unstereotypical yet powerful behaviour leads to Beatrice becoming quite a tragic character in the play, with Eddie dying in her arms, and so, Miller is possibly trying to suggest that there is a need to settle for half between the roles of an independent powerful figure and a loyal housewife.
In addition, Miller presents the need to settle for half through the presentation of Eddie. Initially, we can see that Eddie’s love for Catherine may not be purely platonic, as he greatly enjoys the event of Catherine showing off her new dress to him, and states that he thinks it’s ‘beautiful’. It is down to the actor whether this phrase is mutter subconsciously or not, but it is evident that Eddie’s emotions and feelings for Catherine are possibly overflowing and he cannot keep them in. However, when Rodolpho enters the scene and essentially takes Catherine away from him, Eddie is unable to ‘settle for half’, and his fatal flaw, which is his desire for total control, causes him to inform on the immigrants, which eventually leads to his own demise. The fact that he is unable to settle for half in a familial loving relationship with Catherine, and still allow Catherine herself to be in a loving relationship with Rodolpho is essentially the deciding factor in Eddie’s death, and the actions of Rodolpho, as well as this inability to ‘settle for half’ is what essentially accelerates Eddie’s tragic demise and his catharsis. Perhaps, through this, Miller is trying to suggest that an inability to settle for half will only in our demise.