Alfieri says- Most of the time we settle for half and I like it better. Even as I know how wrong he was, and his death useless, I tremble, for I confess that something perversely pure calls to me from his memory-not purely good, but himself purely and yet, it is better to settle for half, it must be! And so I mourn him-I admit it-with a certain alarm. This shows that Eddie was his whole self during the play rather than being half for his community, Eddies actions within the play are completely motivated by his own desires at the expense of others.
Alfieri admires this but also is alarmed by it. The title of this play suggests we are looking down to this community from the Brooklyn Bridge. The significance of this is that Alfieri is symbolic of a person on the bridge looking down upon the Red Hook community or maybe he is the bridge himself, allowing the people to cross into Manhattan, American culture. We see that the community is very close knitted and look out for each other. Although they are poor theyre determined to earn money and so that their children can have a better life.
Arthur Miller is the famous playwright who can relate to a lot of the play as he worked and lived in the same community the play was set in. Also his parents were immigrants who came to America and he can relate to the main character Eddie as he also worked on the docks. Miller wanted this play to be a modern version of a Greek tragedy where theres a central character who is led by fate towards a destiny that cant be escaped. A character flaw will let them down even before events come to light. In this instance Eddies flaw is too much love.
As America had a lot of job opportunities, this led to two Italian immigrants coming into the Carbone household. They are Beatrices cousins who come looking for a better life and money to send back to Italy. Marco and Rodolpho settle in quite well. But we soon see how Eddies flaw affects everyone and how his protectiveness over Catherine (his niece in law) turns into possessiveness. This is exposed and causes Eddie to downfall and reach his fate; a drastic death. We realize the play only has one ending and one path it is going to lead to, right from the beginning where Alfieri describes what he sees and sets the scene.
In a Greek tragedy there is a chorus who is almost like a narrator and comments on the actions of the characters in the play. The chorus in a View from the Bridge is the lawyer Alfieri. He is like the eyes and ears of the bridge and the only voice of sanity in this play. In the opening scene Alfieri says how he has a timeless story to tell- one that ran a bloody course he was powerless to prevent. We first see Eddie coming back from working at the docks. We can see he is socialable and a hard worker when he says yeah, theres another day yet on that ship to his fellow colleague, Louis.
This meant he is quite well respected in the Italian-American community. Even before Catherine and Eddie have any dialogue together we can see some sort of relationship between them. We see that Eddie values what Catherine thinks of him. This stage direction- Eddie is pleased and therefore shy about it, suggests that Eddie has feelings for Catherine and shy that she gave him attention also he is pleased that she gave him more attention than Louis. Catherine appears to be a sweet girl but seems nai?? ve.
Eddie becomes uncomfortable when he sees the way Catherine is dressed. She had fixed her hair differently and wore a short skirt. We see naivety in Catherine when the stage description says almost in tears because he disapproves she obviously cares about what his opinions are and takes them to heart. We cannot see any possessiveness in Eddie yet, we see a father figure in him. We discover he knows Catherines mum and is responsible for her when Eddie says to Catherine I promised your mother on her deathbed. Im responsible for you.
At this point we see Eddies flaw coming through as he considers Catherine as a little child, the way he talks and treats her. Although we know hes just being caring he becomes more protective when he says he doesnt like the way men look at Catherine and we find out Eddie has already warned Catherine about men she tells him I wish there was one guy you couldnt tell me things about This foreshadows events as we can already tell that in the past Eddie has warned Catherine about other men, he will continue to do that when Marco arrives.
Eddie doesnt realize his flaw just yet but we can see the way his actions towards Catherine show his protectiveness. He doesnt want Catherine to go out to work and insists on her staying in the family home until she has finished school. He wants her to stay nai?? ve and not go out to the big world we find this out when Eddie refers to Catherine as the Madonna type, a girl who is young and pure. This can be perceived differently, is Eddie just trying to be a responsible guardian or is he taking her away from the outside the world?
So he can keep her to himself. Although this first scene is quite short we can already see Eddies flaw. He gets the slightest bit jealous if he knows that Catherine will come in contact with other men. The first scene can be perceived in two different ways, one being- Eddie is a loving uncle who is just trying to care for his niece or the other where Eddie is being an overprotective and jealous man. Eddie has news for B or Beatrice that her cousins from Italy are going to arrive in America.
Its obvious that the family have often discussed the arrival of Beatrices cousins and when she hears theyre coming she becomes anxious as she hasnt made all the preparations for them. Eddie is quick to tell Beatrice that she should calm down and not be too kind to them as they are turning their own beds out for them and that he wants his respect when they come. When they arrive, they all greet each other and introduce themselves. There are two brothers, the eldest, Marco who looks suspicious and sceptical and the younger one, Rodolfo who looks lively and full of spirit.
We see immediate attraction between Catherine and Rodolpho when he starts singing. Although he is not singing directly towards her we can obviously see the flirty notations in the lyrics are meant for Catherine. We see the envy in Eddies eyes and the anger boiling up, especially when he interrupts Rodolpho singing and explains how theyre immigrants and shouldnt be making too much noise as they wouldnt want to be picked up. But really we know that Eddies flaw is being exposed as Catherine is paying more attention to Rodolpho.
At this point Eddies innocent protectiveness is no longer visible, and we are now able to see the flaw coming through and that his protectiveness is slowly turning into possessiveness without him realizing. We first see this when Eddie relates to Catherine as Garbo. Miller uses the actress Greta Garbo, a sex icon in that time, to show how Eddie thinks Catherine is growing into a woman too fast. Eddie obviously has hatred towards Rodolpho and tries to show Beatrice and Catherine how he is not suitable to marry Catherine.
He says how Rodolpho is not right and a chorus girl, trying to convince everyone that he is homosexual. He also uses Rodolphos good qualities against him. He can cook, sing and sew, these attract Catherine to Rodolpho but Eddie conveys this as him being gay. This then leads Eddie to explain to Catherine that the only reason Eddie is considering marrying her is because he wants to stay in America and have a valid passport. He is apparently a homosexual who is just using Catherine to fulfill his American Dream.