What is the significance of Eddie in A View from the Bridge?

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What is the significance of Eddie in A View from the Bridge?

Eddie is portrayed by Miller in the play as somewhat of a tragic character, and the end of play revolves around Eddie’s catharsis, and the revelation of his fatal flaw, that he always desires total control. He is portrayed as a stereotypical figure of masculinity, who cannot cope with other forms of masculinity, such as the of Rodolpho, and he is also seen to be a perpetrator of McCarthyism, who accuses other people for not complying to his views.

Initially, Miller portrays Eddie as an avid perpetrator of McCarthyism, and Miller uses Eddie as a symbol of the negative impacts of McCarthyism. For example, Eddie’s main reasoning to persuade Alfieri to deal with Rodolpho is that Rodolpho ‘ain’t right’. This phrasing suggests that Eddie has no real evidence to back up his presumptions about Rodolpho, and is simply accusing Rodolpho due to him being what Eddie would possibly perceive as ‘homosexual’, due to his ‘singing, cooking and making dresses’. In fact, Alfieri as a symbol of authorial intrusion is seen to describe Eddie as having ‘eyes like tunnels’. This description could possibly portray Eddie as having ‘tunnel vision’, and this could be used by Miller to portray Eddie’s closed-minded thinking and non-progressive views. In fact, this McCarthyist behaviour could very well be one of Eddie’s, as a tragic hero, fatal flaws, and the image of ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ could be metaphorically used to suggest that Eddie’s catharsis can only occur when this McCarthyist outlook is abandoned. In fact, Eddie’s indecisiveness is portrayed when he describes himself as a victim of McCarthyism, saying ‘What’re you, accusing me?’, which goes to show how Eddie himself is very self-aware, yet not aware of his own actions. It is in fact this McCarthyist attitude which leads to Eddie seeing Rodolpho as a ‘punk’ - a derogatory term which could be used to insult homosexuals in the 1950s - and his disapproval of Rodolpho’s relationship with Catherine which causes him to call immigration and results in his downfall. Miller himself was a victim of McCarthyism, being branded as a Communist, and so, it is possibly only natural that he tries to highlight the various issues with McCarthyism to the contemporary audience.

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Eddie is also portrayed as a symbol of stereotypical 1950s masculinity. He is initially described as a ‘husky, slightly overweight longshoreman’ and this job which requires great physical strength further displays this image of masculinity. Furthermore, the fact that Eddie is seen to have his own ‘rocker’ and ‘cigar’, which Catherine willingly lights for him further strengthens Eddie as a ‘leader of the household’, and he is essentially the breadwinner of the family, and duly, he is treated with respect by his wife and family, and so, fulfils the role of a 1950s American. However, Rodolpho goes against all ...

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