I am writing to you in reply to your recent letter asking for advice on how to play the leading character Eddie Carbone in my play, “A View from the Bridge”. I always refer to my characters as real people and I am their creator. I make references to them and their actions as if they were real human beings and not as if they were fictional characters. This helps to build up an understanding of the personality and appearance I try to put across.
My inspiration for writing this book was from my own experience from working on the docks with Italian immigrants and learning about their community; from the little stories my parents had told me; and the story about “a longshoreman who had told the Immigration Bureau that his two brothers, his own relatives, were living illegally in his home, in order to break an engagement between one of them and his niece. ” (From my book, Timebends. )
Although I was intrigued greatly by the story, I was rather preoccupied with other matters and it was pushed to the back of my mind. The set of the play must reflect that Eddie’s flat is overcrowded and set in the slums of Brooklyn, which is an industrial area suffering from poverty. Eddie is a crucial character to this story because everything seems revolve around him. He has extreme passion and hatred for Rodolfo, whom he becomes jealous of in the end.
From the moment the two cousins arrive, Eddie’s relationship with his family slowly begins to deteriorate. At the beginning of the story, Eddie is portrayed as being a ‘family man’ as he arrives home from work and enters the house to an excitable greeting from Catherine, his orphaned niece. His use of the rocker displays dominance and power within the household. It is his chair; no one else sits in it. The way the rocker is positioned shows that it is important, because he can overlook everything that happens inside the room.
His conversations are parental, showing an overprotective side towards Catherine. He provides fatherly advice for Catherine, although she isn’t his daughter. The consequence of this behaviour is that he is greatly over protective of Catherine. In the middle of the story Eddie should seem to be distant because he doesn’t want to believe that Catherine and Rodolfo are in love and he can’t express his feelings in words, only in physical actions e. g. “… unconsciously twisting the newspaper…
” and “… lightly boxing… ” The end of the story leads to tragedy; Eddie is cut off from the family since he kissed Catherine in possession, and then kissed Rodolfo to try and prove that he has greater power and strength. Catherine has a change of heart towards Eddie “He’s a rat! He belongs in the sewers! ” Eddie’s speech, like Catherine and Beatrice, is ‘Conversational Brooklynese’ because they lack the vocabulary and education or to find the words to express their feelings.