The play ‘A View from a Bridge’, written by Arthur Miller in 1955, is a tragedy and Alfieri explains this to the audience from the outset immediately. This creates an increase in suspense because what the tragedy actually is remains unknown; although when Alfieri says “watched it run its bloody course” it suggests that the tragedy could be a fight or maybe even a death. When the tragedy occurs also is concealed, as is where it will take place; this is intriguing because the anticipation becomes more intense as the play goes on.
Eddie is the main character in the play. In the first act, the audience see many aspects of Eddie’s personality, some positive and some negative. The positive characteristics that the character of Eddie displays include integrity; he appears to be reliable, an honest man; and he always contains respect from the Sicilian community, “you’ll never see him no more, a guy do a thing like that? How’s he gonna show his face?”.
This is demonstrated when he wants the best from his niece, Catherine, and when he looks after his wife, Beatrice. He is allowing Beatrice’s cousins, who have been illegally imported from Italy, to stay in his house. This is a great risk but because it’s his wife’s cousins he permits this to go on. He also looks out for Beatrice, and this is shown when he becomes worried about her because he thinks she might get “pushed around” as she has “too big a heart.” Also, he tells her that her cousins will be so grateful for her kindness and reassures her that all will be fine. This makes Eddie seem like a gentle, caring and really considerate kind of man.
However, Eddie also presents less desirable characteristics, such as jealousy, over-protectiveness and unpredictability. At the start of Act one Eddie seems to want the best for Catherine and it is obvious that he really cares about her. The audience then question whether he is protecting her a little too much as she is seventeen years old and perhaps should be a lot more independent. This is brought to mind when Beatrice states, “I don’t understand you; she’s seventeen years old, you gonna keep her in the house all her life?” It seems that Eddie won’t let Catherine go and so it is suggested that he likes to be in control and to be considered as the man of the house who makes all the decisions. He can also be very patronising, as well as controlling; “Eddie: ‘What’s the high heels for, Garbo?’
Catherine: ‘I figured for tonight-‘ Eddie: ‘Do me a favour, will you? Go ahead.'” This is embarrassing for Catherine, she is patronized, taken control of and Eddie’s being over-protective, domineering and doesn’t want her to be sexy. When Rodolfo lives with them Eddie feels undermined by him and threatened as Rodolfo takes some of the control. Catherine also starts to become more independent and so she also takes control of her own life, therefore, leaving Eddie with even less power. Eddie also feels very jealous of Rodolfo, not only due to the loss of power but also because Catherine loves him. The jealousy and the risk of losing Catherine are challenging Eddie and so he appears very unpredictable; this creates dramatic interest as the audience wonder how he will react if he continues to be tested.
The relationship between Eddie and Catherine is interesting and intriguing for the audience. Catherine’s behaviour towards Eddie is not like a niece should behave, especially of her age. “You still walk around in front of him in your slip;” this makes it clear that Beatrice has noticed Catherine’s behaviour and when she points out what she does, Catherine denies some of it due to embarrassment and maybe because she’s ashamed. Another thing Catherine does is “sit on the edge of the bathtub talkin’ to him when he’s shavin’ in his underwear.” This is something that a lover may do.
Eddie’s feelings for Catherine are also suggested to be an odd love, even incestuous. This is really interesting for the audience because it is something unusual and debatable, therefore leading the audience to think about the play, become more involved and more likely to enjoy it. At the end of Act one it is a particularly crucial point for Eddie and Catherine’s relationship because Rodolfo is showing his love for Catherine and vice versa. Eddie is threatened by this and he feels he might lose Catherine. He demonstrates jealous behaviour in a number of ways, one example of this, is the attempts he makes to discourage Catherine from having a relationship with Rodolfo.
Eddie’s relationship with Rodolfo is crucial to the plot and tempestuous due to the connections with Catherine. Eddie attempts to undermine Rodolfo a considerate amount of times in Act one. He suggests, indirectly, that he is homosexual, “he ain’t right,” he says this to both Beatrice and Alfieri. He even goes out of his way to make Rodolfo look “less of a man” or a fool in front of Catherine; he often humiliates him and also undermines him.
He tries to make him appear less masculine by challenging him to a boxing match. Knowing fully well that Rodolfo doesn’t box he decides, instead, to teach him making himself feel more in control, more admirable and will hopefully get praise from it. He also uses this opportunity to make Rodolfo appear a little stupid, because Eddie is better than he is at it. Eddie tries to put him down all the time because he is worried Catherine will go with Rodolfo instead of himself. Eddie loves Catherine and doesn’t want her to marry Rodolfo. However, Rodolfo also has feelings for Catherine, these are not incestuous like the ones Eddie displays, and this is threatening for Eddie as the chances of him losing Catherine are greatly increased.