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Fatal Decisions in A View From The Bridge Essay


Choose a play in which the character makes a fateful decision.

Explain the circumstances which led up to this decision and describe how it affects your view on the character.

A play in which the character makes a decision that proves to be fateful is Arthur Miller's "A View From The Bridge." The fateful decision character Eddie makes is when he decides to break the Code of Honour which he strongly believed in previously. Eddie breaks this Code of Honour and his own loyalty in his nature when his wife's cousins come over from Italy to live with Eddie and his family. When one of the cousins, Rodolpho, falls in love with Eddie's niece Catherine, Eddie is furious. He does not approve of this at all, and decides to take drastic action by reporting the cousins to the immigration officers all just to keep Catherine to himself, and this is how he breaks the Code. From the very beginning of the play it is clear that Eddie loves Catherine but it is also slightly hinted that he has more feelings towards Catherine which he shouldn't have so it is obvious from the start that there will be disaster in the play as soon as anything comes between Eddie and Catherine.

At the start of the play Eddie is talking to Catherine and it is clear to see how much that Eddie loves Catherine, though we are not aware of the extent of his emotions towards her and we also do not see their tragic potential.

"Oh if your mother could see you now!"

This characterisation shows Eddie is very proud of his niece and really cares for her. However it is not obvious that his feelings for Catherine are too strong and therefore wrong, this becomes clearer as the play progresses. The stage directions at this point in the play show that Catherine strives on Eddie's attention and needs his approval to make her happy, this sets up the relationship for the audience to see and is the start of the tragedy that follow. This relationship leads to Eddie's anger and jealousy, and eventually to him making his fateful decision. Even though Eddie's feelings are wrong the audience likes Eddie as he is kind, loyal and strong.

When Catherine decides to tell Eddie she is thinking about getting a job Eddie throws a tantrum, showing everyone his childish and selfish side to his otherwise calm nature.

"[he is silent staring down at the table cloth fingering the pattern.]"

This shows the audience that Eddie can't stand not getting his own way. The characterisation makes the reader see Eddie as an immature and childish man even through his loyalty. Later in the conversation Eddie lets it slip that the reason he doesn't want Catherine getting the job is because she would be working with young male sailors and Eddie wouldn't like her to be around any man other than himself. The audience is now aware of Eddie's real feelings towards Catherine and realise they are not the emotions he should have towards his niece. The selfish behaviour plays an important part in Eddie making his fateful decision and by showing his childish side, the audience has now lost a little respect for Eddie Carbone.

Eddie is discussing the Code of Honour and it's importance when he is telling Catherine the story of Vinny Bolzano and compares trying to mend breaking the Code of Honour is harder than earning a million dollars.

"You can quicker get back a million dollars than a word you gave away."

By using this comparison it shows just how valuable loyalty is to Eddie. Throughout the story the theme is based on loyalty and honour, so with that being the theme it suggests what will play a part in Eddie making his decision. Regardless of Eddie's flaws the audience still likes Eddie as he is a kind, loyal man who deserves respect.It shows that Eddie's main priority is the Code of Honour and being loyal to his people, and it is clear that the Code of Honour is going to have something to do with Eddie's decision later on in the play.

When Eddie's wife's cousins arrive, Eddie makes them feel more than welcome and tells them they have plenty of room to spare when the don't.

"You're welcome Marco, we have plenty of room here."

Eddie saying this shows his generosity and his fondness towards Marco and this characterisation illustrates that he is a kind and generous man. His feelings for Rodolpho, however, are not very positive. Rodolpho is loud, lively and excited and instantly clashes with Eddie's calm character and this shows his jealous and unreasonable side to the audience. His dislike for Rodolpho greatly effects Eddie and plays a part in him making the decision that ends in disaster.

The conversation between Marco, Rodolpho and Eddie clearly indicates Eddie's dislike towards Rodolpho and creates tension throughout the scene and the audience. When Rodolpho is singing and showing off having fun, Eddie's anger is obvious by the look on his face.

"[- he is flushed]"

This characterisation of Eddie being in this state suggests he is annoyed and jealous of Rodolpho because he has impressed Catherine and creates him as a jealous character. The more Rodolpho annoys Eddie, the closer it takes him to making his drastic decision.

As the play progresses and as Catherine's relationship with Rodolpho grows, Eddie starts to show signs of a break down. Eddie pays a visit to lawyer, Alfieri who is also familiar with the Code of Honour to explain to him that Rodolpho "isn't right" meaning he is gay and stealing Catherine. When Alfieri tells Eddie there is no law against being gay or being with Catherine, Eddie feels he has no choice but to bring up the fact they are immigrants. Alfieri who was already aware of where the cousins came from, advises Eddie that it would not be wise to turn them in as it would have dire consequences, however it is clear Eddie is not thinking straight.

"His eyes were like tunnels"

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