Eddie Carbone Character Analysis – A View from the Bridge – English GCSE

Eddie Carbone from “A View from the Bridge” is a typical immigrant in New York City working as a longshoremen men. He has a wife called Beatrice and looks after his niece named Catherine. Throughout the play, Eddie Carbone is seen as the tragic hero, who at the end, dies from what he believed in. This article will tell you all you need to know about Eddie Carbone.

First let’s get across the facts about Eddie Carbone:

Eddie Carbone
  • As I have said, married to Beatrice and an uncle to Catherine (but not by blood).
  • He’s a traditional man in the sense that he has a family and works.
  • He’s a longshoremen that lives in Redhook.
  • 40 years old.
  • His pride means a lot which means he won’t back down.
  • More importantly, he won’t accept anything to put him down.

Now let’s go into the character of Eddie Carbone a little deeper…

  • He’s sensitive but very defensive.
  • Jealous that Catherine likes Roldopho (and possibly not himself?).
  • He loves Catherine.
  • Doesn’t listen to others.
  • His opinion always seems ‘right’.
  • Very stubborn.
  • Hard to control and show his emotions.
  • Short tempered.
  • In-denial of his love for Catherine.
  • But, apologises at the end to his wife ‘My B!’

The main focus on this play is on the relationship between Eddie and Catherine which could be seen as more than paternal love (be it more than father loving son). Here’s a few hints throughout the play why:

Eddie
– ‘puts his (Rodolpho) filthy hands on her like a god dam thief’ P35 – being very defensive here and exaggerates a lot. Refers to Rodolpho as a thief when they is hardly true.
‘he’s stealing from me!’ P35 – to suggest Rodolpho is stealing makes it seem like Catherine is Eddie’s possession.
‘I took out of my wife’s mouth’ P35 – he even put his wife Beatrice before Catherine. Shows how much love he has for Catherine.
‘it’s breakin’ my heart, y’know’ P35 – this makes it sound like Catherine and Eddie are breaking up like a couple! Well that’s Eddie’s opinion on the matter…

Alfieri
‘sometimes God mixes up the people’ – here Alfieri is trying to put across Eddie’s un-paternal love for Catherine.
‘there is too much love for the daughter, this is too much love for the niece’ – again trying to explain to Eddie he may have too much love for Catherine.
‘she can’t marry you can she?’ (Eddie) ‘(furiously) what are you talking about’ P35 – Alfieri puts it straight that what Eddie wants can’t happen. Eddie turns defensive from the accusation, maybe to cover up the truth?
‘But sometimes…there’s too much (love), and it goes where it shouldn’t’ P34he’s suggesting the love of Eddie is going to the wrong person being Catherine.

Eddie makes it clear he has more than a paternal through the way he suggests Rodolpho is stealing a possession from him and the way in which he tells Alfieri how it’s making him feel. If you told a person who has never read a view from a bridge to read the section on P35, you would have thought Eddie was Catherine’s boyfriend.
Alfieri understand where Eddie is coming from but tries to explain in nice words that he has too much love for Catherine. He does this because Eddie will see Alfieri as disrespectful to accuse Eddie of such thoughts. What more, Eddie has a short temper which Alfieri is almost juggling with in this conversation.
Beatrice also suggests signs that Eddie has too much love for Catherine ‘I’m not mad, you’re the one that’s mad’. Even Beatrice knows how crazy Eddie has become and says it straight to his face as Eddie has a strong relationship with Beatrice which lets Beatrice speak her opinion which is mostly true.

Later on in the play, when Eddie comes home drunk from a night out and finds Catherine and Rodolpho in bed together, he reaction tells a lot about his feelings: for both Catherine and Rodolpho. He kisses them both. But why? Bare in mind him being drunk released his true feelings towards each person.

Eddie kisses Catherine because:

  • He doesn’t want to let Catherine go.
  • He’s jealous as he hasn’t had sex in ages.
  • He wants to show he loves Catherine.
  • He wants to tell Rodolpho that she’s Eddie’s.

Eddie kisses Rodolpho because:

  • He tries to prove Rodolpho is gay, ‘you see?’ P48, showing Catherine that because Eddie kissed Rodolpho, Rodolpho is gay.
  • Eddie comes up with the stereotype ‘if a man’s gay, he fancies every other man’.
  • He’s drunk and mocking Rodolpho.
  • He’s trying to insult Roldolpho. Rodolpho tried attacking Eddie but Eddie pins him down and kisses him.

The kiss tells the audience a lot about Eddie as the alcohol makes his emotions just burst out. His feelings for Catherine that have been hidden away have appeared and his anger in Rodolpho has arrived too. Up until this point, Eddie was like a volcano waiting to erupt. At this point, he erupts and you could say this is where his downfall starts to pick up pace.

Eddie Carbone as a Tragic Hero
A tragic hero…

  • Descends into chaos and disorder Yes. Eddie does descend into chaos and disorder and finally dies.
  • Is from Noble stock No. Eddie is a longshoremen in Redhook. He is not from Noble stock.
  • Has a fatal flaw Yes. His love for Catherine and short temper are his fatal flaws.
  • Often uses soliloquies (talking to themselves) to vocalise their thoughts and feelings No. Eddie is the total opposite of this where he finds it very difficult to vocalise or show his thoughts and feelings.
  • Is superior and has further to fall Maybe. Eddie feels superior but falls as he feels he has lost his respect and ‘superiority’ when he hasn’t lost anything really.

Eddie Carbone is not the typical tragic hero but definitely possesses the main traits of a tragic hero. Without the traits that I said he has, he wouldn’t be a tragic hero.

The Snowball Effect – This is what a tragedy is: something
that’s small then becomes bigger and explodes at the end.

Conflict
Throughout this play there is a lot of conflict be it verbal, physical or psychological. The conflict in this play is significant in keeping to the snowball effect.

Verbal
– Marco calls Eddie ‘Anima-a-al!’
– Marco again, ‘That one! He killed my children!’ P58
– Beatrice says, ‘You want something else, Eddie, and you can never have her!’ P62 (this is also a bit psychological)

Physical 
– The boxing between Eddie and Rodolpho P41
– Eddie kissing Catherine and Roldolpho P47 (psychological too)
– Marco spits on Eddie P57 (psychological too)
– Marco stabbing Eddie P64

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