Uploaded by Joel Caldicott

Eddie Carbone Character Analysis

Eddie Carbone Character Analysis - A View from the Bridge –
Higher English
Eddie Carbone from "A View from the Bridge" is a typical immigrant
in New York City working as a longshoreman. 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.
First let's get across the facts about Eddie Carbone:
Eddie Carbone
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
He's a longshoreman that lives in Red Hook.
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
He is sexually attracted to Catherine (but is in self-denial over
This has stopped him being able to sleep with his wife.
Doesn't listen to others.
His opinion always seems 'right'.
Very stubborn.
Hard to control and show his emotions.
Short tempered.
Kind – (at first) wants to help immigrants ‘It’s an honour, B.’
But, apologises at the end to his wife 'My B!'
The main focus of the play is on the relationship between Eddie and
Catherine which could be seen as more than paternal love. Here's a few
hints throughout the play why:
Eddie quotes – pages 31 - 35
- '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 this 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 Catherine before
his wife Beatrice (prioritises). Shows how much love he has for
- 'it's breakin' my heart, y'know' P35 - this makes it sound like
Catherine and Eddie are breaking up like a couple! Emphasises how
un-natural Eddie’s love is for Catherine.
Alfieri quotes –pages 31 - 35
- 'sometimes God mixes up the people' - here Alfieri is trying to
put across Eddie's un-paternal love for Catherine. It’s ‘mixed up’ – the
kind of love only a boyfriend / husband should have.
- 'there is too much love for the daughter, there is too much love
for the niece' - again trying to explain to Eddie he may have too much
love for Catherine. It could end up in disaster – this is a warning.
- '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' P34 - he's suggesting the love of Eddie is going to the wrong
person - being Catherine.
Eddie makes it clear he has more than a paternal love 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 the Bridge’ to read the scene from P35,
they probably would have thought Eddie was Catherine's boyfriend.
Alfieri understands where Eddie is coming from but tries to explain in
subtle words that he has too much love for Catherine. He does this
because Eddie will see Alfieri as disrespectful to accuse him of such
thoughts. What’s 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).
Under the heading ‘Act One’ – write a summary of what happens in the
opening Act, using bullet points. THEN add to your existing character
notes on Eddie, Catherine and Rodolfo.
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? Bear in mind him being drunk released his true
feelings towards each person.
Eddie kisses Catherine because:
1) He doesn't want to let Catherine go.
2) He's jealous as he hasn't had sex in ages.
3) He wants to show he loves Catherine.
4) He wants to tell Rodolpho that she belongs to him.
Eddie kisses Rodolpho because:
1) He tries to prove Rodolpho is gay, 'you see?' P48, showing
Catherine that because Eddie kissed Rodolpho, Rodolpho is gay.
2) Eddie comes up with the stereotype 'if a man's gay, he fancies
every other man'.
3) He's drunk and mocking Rodolpho.
4) He's trying to insult Rodolpho, suggesting he’s not a ‘real man’.
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 burst out. His feelings for Catherine that have been hidden
away have appeared and his anger with Rodolpho is also emphasised.
Up until this point, Eddie was like a volcano waiting to erupt. At this
point, he erupts and it’s clear this is where his downfall starts to pick up
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 longshoreman in Red Hook.
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 we’ve covered, he
wouldn't be a tragic hero.
The Snowball Effect - This is what a tragedy is, something
seemingly harmless gains in size, becomes impossible to stop
and wreaks destruction at the end.
Throughout this play there is a lot of conflict, be it verbal, physical or
psychological. The conflict in this play is significant when understood
alongside the snowball effect.
- 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)
- 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