The Character of Eddie Carbone

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Sam Matthews

How Does Arthur Miller Present Eddie Carbone In His Play, A View From The Bridge?

The character Eddie Carbone is often thought of as a strong Italian Family man while he proves rather heroic to many. His appearance is revealed in the opening scene, when Miller describes him as “a husky, slightly, overweight longshoremen” suggesting he is rugged and worn due to his practical job. The word husky shows us that he is heavy built and strong which also is used to describe a breed of sled dogs which are strong symbolising Eddie. Miller presents him as an over possessive man who thinks he knows what is best for others, sometimes leading him to become in control of others. Arthur shows us that Eddie is very much for his family and that he loves his family, but we start to realise that the love turns into jealousy which leads to anger and heartache. We see this happen as Eddie’s family life leads to a dramatic downfall motivating the events that make up the play. The events contain the multiple devices used by Arthur Miller which create the build of tension from start to end of A View from the Bridge.

Miller creates the tension by the dramatic use of foreshadowing, the use of metaphors, punctuation, and dramatic irony and by basing his play on the tradition of a Greek tragedy.

As soon as the story begins, the first technique Miller uses to present the character of Eddie to the audience is dramatic irony. In the beginning of the play we are lead to believe that something bad is going to happen amongst the play’s ending which was described by Alfieri as a “bloody course” suggesting violence or death was fast approaching. Alfieri then tells us about a longshoreman working the docks between the Brooklyn Bridge and the breakwater whose name is Eddie Carbone which introduces him as the main character.  When Catherine, Beatrice’s niece also enters we straight away see a strong possession that Eddie has for her when she was dressed in a skirt, which is claimed to be too short by Eddie. He tells her he doesn’t want her to capture the men’s attention and she questions him which results in him Shouting at her “Now don’t aggravate me, Katie, you are walkin’ wavy!” This has shown the audience that Eddie has a short fuse and that there is a potential jealousy.  

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Arthur Miller bases the story upon the mythology of a Greek Tragedy. Eddie plays a role of a Greek tragic hero which means that he was trying to do well, but a mistake was made which lead to a spiralling downfall. Eddie tried to look out for and protect his niece from the man she fell in love with, Rodolfo which made Eddie extremely jealous and this is when Eddie started to do all he could to preclude any relationship between Catherine and Rodolfo. Miller wanted society to realise that you should settle for half just like he did instead ...

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