The play is set around an Italian- American family living in Red Hook, “the slum that faces the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge. ” The main scenes are set in the living and dining rooms of the Carbone’s residence. But the street is also used in a few scenes especially towards the end of the play. In this play pride is a huge factor in dictating its events. This is the main reason why Eddie Carbone takes in his wife, Beatrice’s cousins from Sicily, to make himself seem hard-working family man who is risking helping his family, Marco and Rodolfo.
As we read through the play it becomes apparent that there are some serious problems between Eddie and Beatrice. But again Eddie’s bullish pride stops them from talking about their problems and sorting them out. It is as if Eddie is shy about this issue, or maybe there is another agenda where he doesn’t want to work out their problems. On page fifty-one Eddie says, “What I feel like doin’ in bed and what I don’t feel like doin’. I don’t want no. ” This shows us that Eddie has almost no feelings for his wife anymore and there is certainly no love in the relationship.
Beatrice stays in her home as a housewife and takes great pride in keeping her house pristine and presentable. When she begins to talk about where her cousins will be sleeping she begins to worry about what they will think of their home, “I thought it was gonna be next week! I was gonna clean the walls, I was gonna wax the floors. (She stands disturbed) Eddie is a hard-working longshoreman. He is forty, bulky and slightly overweight. Eddie likes to be respected in the community around him and takes great pride in furthering this respect for himself.
This is why he tries to keep up appearances with his wife and has already taken in his niece as if she were his own daughter. He believes in the American dream and believes that Catherine is better than everyone else in the neighbourhood. That is the reason why Eddie has put her through school and has sent her for extra lessons with a stenographer so that she can get a better job and escape the slums around her. But then one day when Catherine comes home and tells him excitedly that she has found a job, he tries to find different reasons of why she shouldn’t go to work.
He tells her that she should finish school but she counters that argument with that she has nothing left to learn, and all he has to say to that is, “That ain’t what I wanted,” as if he had some sort of over all plan for Catherine’s life for her. This is the first indication to us that Catherine wants to move away from Eddie. Later on in the play it becomes even further apparent that there is tension between Eddie and Catherine, and find out that Eddie actually has feelings towards Catherine and doesn’t want hr to leave him.