“And so I mourn him-I admit it-with a certain…alarm”
How does Arthur Miller expect us to react to the death of Eddie Carbone? In your opinion, does he succeed?
Eddie Carbone, the family guy, not wanting any trouble, just wanting his niece, in more ways than one.
Eddie was a family man, he kept his home nice and he looked after all his family and friends, there was a great respect for him and he was loved by many. Even the people against him, had to love him. He was popular among his friends and colleagues and he was sociable, going bowling with his friends is what his spare time was devoted to, that and his family.
Eddie’s view of his family was loving, he tried to give them everything, and he tried to hold them together, he was the glue that made them stick together when trouble came. There was only one thing that could dissolve the, the arrival of the two brothers. –
When Eddie dies, the audience is expected to feel sympathetic and upset for the loss of the main character. Alfieri enhances this feeling with words, in his final speech.
‘I think I will love him more than all my sensible clients’
This makes me think that Eddie wasn’t stupid, and he wasn’t a fool, he was just oblivious to the fact that Catherine was going to grow up, to love others but him, he couldn’t understand why this had to happen.
Alfieri has a great deal of respect for Eddie, like the other characters in the play.
When Eddie is killed by Marco in a fit of rage, he lies, dying in Beatrice’s arms, only then, does he realize what he’s got, and that’s Beatrice. He shows this by saying;
These are Eddie’s last words.
In Act one, Alfieri shares his view of Red Hook. How it used to be a violent town, with lots of fights and deaths, but over the years it has got more pleasant. People look out for each other.
‘I no longer keep a pistol in my filing cabinet.’ Alfieri says this at the start of the play, he used to because he got violent clients, the one way to defend himself was to also have a weapon. But as the town got nicer and more people cared for each other, he found that he didn’t need it and he could trust the people who came to see him.
Mostly, the people who came to see Alfieri were longshoremen, Eddie was a typical longshoreman, and he worked among many friends, two of which are in the play, Louis and Mike. They don’t feature much in it, but the bits they are in, are meaning full and they have a big effect on Eddie.
Eddie’s house is described as being; sparse, clean and homely. That was the Beatrice kept it and that was the way Eddie liked it.
At the beginning of the play, in the first family scene, Eddie starts to show his possessiveness for Catherine. She looks out the window and waves to Louis. Eddie takes this as her flirting, so he tries to put her off. After she has waved, he says:
“Listen, I could tell you things about Louis which you wouldn’t wave at him no more.”
But, Catherine says that she wishes there was one guy Eddie couldn’t tell her things about. This shows that Catherine wants to start meeting other people and possibly having a relationship with someone, it also shows that Eddie has always said something about who she talks to and sees to stop her from liking them.
When Eddie walks in, Catherine gets everything for him, his beer, his cigar, and she even lights it for him, he notices Catherine’s skirt and high shoes He tells her that she’s walking ‘wavy’. In other words, she’s walking how men will notice, Eddie doesn’t like this, and Catherine doesn’t like it that Eddie doesn’t approve of her. All of this evidence, leads to a suggestion that there’s more there than Uncle-Niece love, it suggests that Eddie has deeper feelings for Catherine. When Beatrice comes in, she is pleased to see Eddie. She knows that Catherine got some important news to tell him about her getting a job. Before Catherine has a chance to tell Eddie her news, he tells them about the cousins arriving, Beatrice is overwhelmed at the thought, she then starts going through all the things wrong with the house, like she needs a new tablecloth and a new cover for the chair. This shows that she wants everything to be good for them, and just right.
When Beatrice tells Eddie about Catherine getting a job, he looks for excuse not to go:
“She’s gonna finish school” This was his first reason for Catherine not to go. But she answers, telling him that the teacher will let her take the exam and get the certificate to say she passed school.
“I don’t like the neighbourhood over there” Eddie thinks that because he doesn’t like something, then Catherine shouldn’t like it. But, I think Beatrice and Catherine had expected him to say things like this, so Beatrice tells him that she’d be in the office all day. Eddie doesn’t want money from Catherine, he never has done, all he ever wanted from her was her love and respect, he doesn’t like the way that they are trying to persuade him with the amount of money she will get.
“Look, did I ever ask you for money? I supported you this long, I’ll support you a little more.”
Beatrice senses an argument coming, so she tells Catherine to fetch the supper. When she has gone, Beatrice tries to persuade Eddie a little more, I think what Beatrice says has an effect on Eddie because while they are eating their dinner, he gives permission for Catherine to go and do the job. Eddie proves that he didn’t want Catherine to do the job by saying:
“And then you’ll move away” … “And you’ll come visit on Sundays, then once a month, then Christmas and New Year’s, finally.”
Catherine is hurt by this remark, she knows that he’s saying it to keep her with him, but she also knows that it’s true.
Later that evening, The cousins arrive, Rodolfo and Marco, two Italian brothers and cousins of Beatrice. There arriving is a catalyst; it causes a chain reaction of events. The minute Catherine sees Rodolfo, we can tell from her behaviour that she likes him. The first thing Catherine says is: “How come he’s so dark and you’re so light Rodolfo?”
Catherine has noticed this about him and she’s inquisitive as to why he’s different. Rodolfo shows his good sense of humour and is witty in return.
Eddie, who is still possessive over Catherine, changes the subject to the coffee. While Catherine is out the subject changes, well off Rodolfo’s hair colour, and anything that could attract him to Catherine. When Catherine is back in the room, the conversation is turned onto Marco’s family. Catherine asks Rodolfo if he’s married, this is because she likes the look of him, and she wants to know if he is single. Beatrice has already told her that he’s not married, but Catherine just wants to double check. This shows Eddie that she’s interested in him. I think that maybe Beatrice senses that Eddie won’t like Catherine’s new interest so she changes the subject from love, to how long the immigrants will be staying. Catherine brings the coffee through, she offers him sugar and puts it in his cup for him. Eddie realises that she’s doing everything for Rodolfo, and she used to do everything for him (Like getting him his beer, cigar etc). He’s jealous, but doesn’t show it.
Rodolfo soon gets talking to Catherine about music, she’s intrigued that Rodolfo can sing jazz, she’s never known anyone who can sing jazz. Rodolfo stands and starts singing, as the song’s words pour out of his mouth, the register with Eddie, even though they don’t know each other very well yet, Eddie thinks that Rodolfo is going to take Catherine away, and he’ll loose her for good, he’s right! Eddie’s right in telling Rodolfo that he may be picked up for singing, but it’s really an excuse to stop Catherine liking him. This is one of his first tries to stop Catherine and Rodolfo getting together, but like the other times he’ll try, it’ll only bring them closer together. Catherine is already besotted with Rodolfo: “it’s beautiful, he’s terrific, it’s terrific Rodolfo.”
I enjoyed this part of the play, where Rodolfo and Catherine met, it was well written and full of lines that you had to think about to get what they were really saying.
This part of the play starts to show Eddie’s ‘tragic flaw’ which is very obviously Catherine, she’s his weakness!
Later in the play, Eddie’s waiting for Catherine and Rodolfo to come home, Beatrice arrives, to find Eddie waiting. This is the first part of the play that shows the breakdown in their relationship. There is a lot of love between them, but something’s upsetting Eddie. Beatrice knows that it’s Catherine that’s upsetting him, but she wants him to say it for himself, so that he knows that’s what it is.
Beatrice goes inside and Mike and Louis come, they talk about Rodolfo being funny and weird and when Rodolfo comes, they laugh at him.
Rodolfo says Goodnight to Catherine and he goes for a walk. Eddie starts laying into Catherine, saying “Rodolfo’s only after his papers!”
And, “I bless you and you don’t talk to me!” “He don’t respect you!”
All of the things he says are telling Catherine that Eddie doesn’t like Rodolfo, she starts to realise that Eddie loves her, but she doesn’t think that it will eventually ruin her life. Catherine runs inside and goes to Beatrice, who suspected something like this would happen. Beatrice explains to Catherine that Eddie has never liked anyone for her, he has never let her lead her own life, he always has to be a part of it, and say what she does, no matter how old she is. “Was there ever any fella he liked for you?”
I think that Beatrice has been brewing on this for some time, she’s not jealous, just kind, she wants the best for everyone involved, but most of all, she wants the best for Eddie.
This part of the play is where Eddie starts to get more isolated, he starts to be pushed away from his family, but no-ones pushing him, he’s pushing himself.
Eddie gets desperate about Catherine, he’s made himself believe that Rodolfo is after his papers, although he has no proof, he goes to see Alfieri, to see if there is anything the law can do to get rid of Rodolfo.
“His eyes were like tunnels; my first thought was that he had committed a crime.” Alfieri tries to tell Eddie that there is nothing he can do for him, there is nothing the law can do, and there is nothing illegal about Catherine loving Rodolfo. The only thing illegal is the way Rodolfo and Marco got to Red Hook. The only thing that Eddie can do to get rid of Rodolfo is to call the immigration bureau, Eddie knows that doing that, he’ll loose his respect and popularity. He doesn’t want to do that. Alfieri gives gentle advice to Eddie, to leave them alone. Unfortunately, Eddie’s inarticulate, he can’t say what he means; “The guy ain’t right Mr Alfieri!” Eddie is suggesting that Rodolfo is gay, and he’s taking Catherine for a ride. Maybe, Marco sees that Eddie thinks this, and this adds to the main reason as why Marco kills him.
“I could see every step coming, step after step.” Alfieri knew what was going to happen, he could have ended it, but he knew that Eddie had to do something. Eddie was trying to get rid of Rodolfo and keep Catherine, it couldn’t be done, and the two were inseparable, if one went, so did the other.
A tragedy is now inevitable, Eddie is bound to phone the immigration bureau, this is because they can take Rodolfo but they can’t take Catherine.
At the end of Act one, the whole family is together in the house, Catherine is singing Rodolfo’s praises, “They went to Africa once. On a fishing boat.” Catherine is excitedly learning about Italy, “They have Oranges and Lemons on a tree!”
The conversation carries on in this way, Eddie questions Italy and subtly insults Marco and Rodolfo. The talking gets more intense, and Catherine chooses to put paper doll on the player, instead of one of the other two she bought. She might be doing this because she likes it, or it might have a deeper meaning between her and Eddie. She asks Rodolfo to dance, she’s noticed that Eddie has tried again to pull them apart, but it’s not worked. Rodolfo says that he is too tired to dance, he says this because he doesn’t want Eddie to get angry. But Beatrice knows what he’s doing and she tells him to go for it. While they are dancing, Eddie is talking about all of Rodolfo’s many talents, all leading to the conclusion that Eddie thinks he’s gay. “He’s a cook too! He sings, he cooks, he makes dresses!” While he’s talking, he’s very angry, all of his anger is concentrated into the paper that he has rolled up, he suddenly rips it in two.
Eddie’s getting annoyed, he doesn’t want to lash out for no reason, so he asks Rodolfo if he wants to learn how to box. Eddie is trying to prove that he is stronger and tougher than Rodolfo, that he could beat him any day. All the time this is going on, Marco is silently watching, he knows why Eddie is doing this. Eddie is teaching him how to block a hit, then he tells Rodolfo to hit him. Then, Eddie hits Rodolfo and it makes him stagger. Catherine goes straight to Rodolfo and helps him up. Rodolfo has now realised that this is another of Eddie’s tries to separate them, but it doesn’t stop him. He beckons Catherine to come and dance, this time; he takes her fully in his arms.
Marco wants to show Eddie that he’s not the strongest. He places a chair in front of Eddie and asks if he can lift it, holding one leg.
Eddie tries and fails.
“Gee, that’s hard, I never knew that.” He tries again, but once more, he fails.
Then Marco goes for the chair, he lifts it up, high above his head, all the family is watching and they see the look on Marco’s face. Eddie is laughing and congratulating Marco, but he is frowning, and proving that he is stronger than Eddie, if he ever goes to fight Rodolfo, Marco will assist his brother, and beat Eddie.
Eddie notices the look on Marcos face, and he stops grinning, the act ends sour, the whole family know what will eventually happen, and it’s between Marco and Eddie.