A view from the bridge

Mind Map by willpollard1880, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by willpollard1880 over 5 years ago


Mind Map on A view from the bridge, created by willpollard1880 on 02/05/2015.

Resource summary

A view from the bridge
1 Characters
1.1 Eddie Carbone
1.1.1 Eddie is 40 years old, an American of Sicilian decent. He is described as "a husky, slightly overweight longshoreman." He is an ordinary man, part of the local Italian community.
1.1.2 He is the owner of the house (bossy) - both Beatrice and Catherine are obviously used to him laying down the rules. He sees this as a 'manly' thing to do and he expects all men to do the same - which is why he cannot accept Rodolpho's more gentle talents.
1.1.3 He is generous enough to offer a home to Beatrice's cousins, but at the same time slightly wary and self-protective or selfish - he reminds Beatrice not to let them sleep in his bed. This foreshadows his love for Catherine, when he comes across as selfish
1.1.4 He is concerned about his honour and protecting his good name. He ends the tale of the informer Vinny Bolzano, "a guy do a thing like that? How's he gonna show his face?"
1.1.5 He is very protective of Catherine, who he has brought up as if she were his own daughter. He paid for her typing lessons and had ambitions for her to rise to a different class. He is proud of her looks, yet concerned that she will attract the attention of men and is concerned about her new job. He finds it hard to admit that she has become a woman. "I guess I just never figured... that you would ever grow up." However, it soon becomes clear to us that Eddie is in love with Catherine. He has not made love to his wife for three months. He quickly becomes jealous of Rodolpho because of the immediate impression Rodolpho makes on Catherine. The stage directions tell us, "He looks at [Catherine] like a lost boy" when she tells him she loves Rodolpho. He is unable to admit this shameful emotion to himself and is angry when Beatrice and Alfieri dare to mention it. As his feelings for Catherine become more obsessive, he does everything he can to prevent Rodolpho from marrying her. He mocks Rodolpho's skills at cooking, singing and sewing, claims he is homosexual and tells Catherine that he only wants her to gain US citizenship. He tries to get the law involved and is amazed when Alfieri says that nothing can be done. He tries violence: he 'teaches' Rodolpho to box as an excuse to hit him, then fights with Rodolpho when he knows Rodolpho has slept with Catherine. He calls the Immigration Bureau is a last desperate attempt to stop the wedding: he cares so much for Catherine that he is prepared to break his code of honour.
1.1.6 In the end, he loses everything: Catherine, his wife, his name. He has no option but to fight Marco to the death (he has a knife). Ironically, his death restores some of his lost honour because he does not try to escape his fate.
1.2 Beatrice Carbone
1.2.1 She is Eddie's wife. She has never had children of her own and cares for Catherine as if she were her own daughter.
1.2.2 She is excited by the imminent arrival of her cousins and worried that everything is not just so for them, yet also "nervous".
1.2.3 She defers to Eddie and lets him control things in the home. Before the arrival of her cousins, she is anxious not to upset him: "I'm just worried about you."
1.2.4 There are hints right from the start that she is aware of Eddie's feelings for Catherine, such as when she avoids Eddie's gaze when Catherine fetches his cigar. This becomes more obvious when she confronts Eddie about the state of their marriage: "When am I gonna be a wife again, Eddie?" Partly because of this, she supports Catherine and encourages her to be independent. She helps Catherine persuade Eddie to let Catherine go out to work and, later, tells Catherine she must stand up for herself. "It means you gotta be your own self more." At the end, she is brave enough to tell Eddie the truth: "You want somethin' else, Eddie, and you can never have her!"
1.2.5 She is upset by the conflict within the family that the relationship between Rodolpho and Catherine causes. She continually tries to be the calming influence. At the end, however, she remains loyal to Eddie, choosing to stay with him rather than attend Catherine's wedding. She is rewarded for this with Eddie's dying words - "My B!"
1.3 Catherine
1.3.1 She is 17 years old, the orphaned daughter of Beatrice's sister Nancy. She is attractive, energetic and cheerful. Yet she is also naive - she has never known anything of life outside the Carbone household. She loves Eddie like a father
1.3.2 She wants Eddie's approval for everything that she does: right at the start, she is desperate for him to admire her new skirt.
1.3.3 Beatrice reminds her she is all grown up and that she has a stronger relationship with Eddie than Beatrice intended for. She had never before imagined there was anything wrong with her relationship with Eddie.
1.3.4 She is excited at Marco and Rodolpho's arrival - they represent the world outside her own sheltered life. She is attracted to Rodolpho straight away - so she is reluctant to take off her high heels when Eddie tells her to She is initially torn between her love of Rodolpho or Eddie.
1.3.5 She is loyal to Eddie and tells Beatrice that her marriage to Rodolpho would be wrong if Eddie is against it
1.3.6 she takes Rodolpho's side when he spars with Eddie. This helps us to understand later in the play why she disobey's Eddie wish and gets married to Rodolpho She is furious with Eddie both for betraying the brothers and for forbidding Beatrice to attend her wedding ceremony, calling him "This rat!"
1.3.7 During the play, she turns from a child into a woman, capable of making her own decisions. Despite her new independence and maturity, she blames herself on Eddie's death
1.4 Marco
1.4.1 Marco is the older brother of Rodolpho. He comes from a poor village in Sicily. He is Beatrice's cousin. He has left a wife and three children at home, the oldest of whom has tuberculosis. He has come to America so he can earn more money for them than he could at home. It is clear he loves his family very much: he is near tears when he first talks about them to the Carbones.
1.4.2 He is anxious not to outstay his welcome with the Carbones: almost his first words are "I want to tell you now, Eddie - when you say we go, we go." He is extremely polite.
1.4.3 He feels a sense of responsibility for Rodolpho: when Eddie is upset that Catherine and Rodolpho were out late, he warns his brother "You come home early now."
1.4.4 He is protective of Rodolpho. After Eddie has punched Rodolpho while 'teaching' him to box, he shows how he can lift a chair above his head with one hand. The stage directions tell us the chair is raised like a weapon over Eddie's head. He is warning Eddie that he will defend Rodolpho if necessary.
1.4.5 His sense of honour is such that if the law can't right a wrong, he will take the law into his own hands. He comes to see Eddie at the end to do what he sees as his duty - even when Alfieri had warned him that only God makes justice. It is interesting that he breaks his word to Alfieri - he kills Eddie despite having promised he would not.
1.5 Alfieri
1.5.1 He is a lawyer, born in Italy, who has been working in Brooklyn for 25 years. He is part of the same immigrant Italian community as Eddie.
1.5.2 He acts as a commentator on the action: he sets the scene and introduces the characters. He is telling us the story of the play in flashback: right from the start we know that it is going to run a bloody course.
1.5.3 He is compassionate. He tries to save Eddie and, later, Marco, from the fatal course that they have set out on.
1.5.4 When Eddie first goes to see him, Alfieri warns, there is too much love for the daughter, there is too much love for the niece.
1.5.5 When Eddie visits him the second time to try to prevent Catherine and Rodolpho's wedding, Alfieri's warning is more explicit: You won't have a friend in the world, Eddie.
1.5.6 He tells Marco, Only God makes justice, trying to prevent Marco from taking the law into his own hands.
1.5.7 However, really he is powerless to change what he knows is inevitable. Even though he can explain the law to Eddie and Marco, he knows deep down that they will do what their code of honour requires.
1.6 Rodolpho
1.6.1 He is the younger brother of Marco. He has got platinum hair and so makes an immediate impression. He has striking good looks - Beatrice and Catherine are obviously attracted to him. His unusual looks may be a signal to us that he is 'different' from the average Italian immigrant.
1.6.2 He has a good sense of humour, so he is popular. He is unvaryingly polite, even when Eddie is rude.
1.6.3 Unlike Marco, he wants to stay in America and own a motorbike. He loves America and wants to find out as much about New York as possible - he is keen to see Broadway. Eddie is concerned because he buys 'American' items like a new jacket and records, rather than send money to Marco's family.
1.6.4 He can sing, cook and sew: he is very talented. It upsets him that Eddie seems to dislike him so much - he cannot understand why his 'feminine' skills are a problem for the 'manly' Eddie.
1.6.5 His language is lively and imaginative, which shows his intelligence. For example, later in the play, he uses the image of Catherine as a bird in a cage.
1.6.6 Catherine falls in love with him almost immediately, and he with her. Even though Eddie tries to suggest that Rodolpho only wants to marry Catherine in order to become a US citizen, it is clear his love is strong and genuine: "You think I would carry on my back the rest of my life a woman I didn't love just to be an American?" He speaks very passionately.
1.6.7 He argues with Marco to promise not to harm Eddie, so that Marco can be granted bail and attend the wedding.
1.6.8 He apologises to Eddie before the wedding and tries to kiss his hand, in an attempt to calm the situation.
1.6.9 He tries to prevent Marco and Eddie fighting - "No, Marco, please! Eddie, please, he has children!"
2 Plot summary
2.1 Act 1a
2.1.1 The play opens with the lawyer Alfieri, who sets the scene. He talks about justice and how, sometimes, justice is dealt with outside the law. He says he has a timeless story to tell - one that ran a "bloody course" he was powerless to prevent - and introduces its hero, Eddie Carbone. One day Eddie arrives home from the dockyard where he works with some news. He announces that Beatrice's two cousins from Italy have reached New York and they will arrive at the family's home at 10 o'clock that night. It is obvious that the family has often discussed the visit before - Beatrice is anxious that she hasn't completed all the preparations in the house she had intended to welcome them, and Eddie reminds Beatrice not to be so kind to the cousins that he will be turned out of his own bed for them. Yet he then claims it is an honour for him to be able to help them.
2.2 Act 1b
2.2.1 Catherine also has some news: she tells Eddie that she has been picked out of all the girls in her typing class to be offered a well-paid job at a big plumbing company. She is excited at the prospect, but Eddie is worried: he doesn't want her mixing with strangers, wants her to finish her education and is concerned for her safety. Beatrice takes Catherine's side, however, so in the end Eddie relents and allows Catherine to take the job. Because the cousins are illegal immigrants, Eddie reminds Beatrice and Catherine not to mention them outside the house. To reinforce the danger, Eddie tells the story of Vinny Bolzano, who let on to the Immigration authorities that his family were hiding an uncle - and the bloody consequences.
2.3 Act 1c
2.3.1 The cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, arrive and are warmly welcomed. The quiet, polite Marco reassures Eddie that they will not outstay their welcome and talks about his family left behind in Sicily, desperate for the cash that he will be able to send them once he starts work. He hopes to go home in about six years. The cheerful Rodolpho describes what it is like living in a poor peasant village: unlike his brother, he wants to stay in America. Rodolpho shows off his voice by singing 'Paper Doll', to Catherine's delight. Eddie puts a stop to the music because he doesn't want suspicions raised in the neighbourhood, but we also sense Eddie's dislike of Rodolpho - his face is "puffed with trouble."
2.4 Act 1D
2.4.1 A few weeks later, Eddie and Beatrice sit waiting for Catherine and Rodolpho to come home from the cinema. It is clear that Rodolpho and Catherine have fallen in love. Eddie's hostility towards Rodolpho is now more open and he is anxious - Beatrice jokes that he must to jealous of Rodolpho. She admires Rodolpho and hope that he and Catherine will marry, but Eddie is appalled by this idea. This conversation leads Beatrice to ask Eddie about the state of their own marriage: they have not made love for months. Eddie refuses to discuss it. When Catherine and Rodolpho finally return, Eddie asks to speak to Catherine alone. He repeats, wistfully, that she has grown up without his realising it. When she admits to liking Rodolpho, Eddie tells her that Rodolpho is only using her and that he just wants to marry an American to gain US citizenship. Catherine is very upset. She admits privately to Beatrice that she loves Rodolpho and wants to marry him, but that she doesn't want to hurt Eddie. Beatrice advises her to be more independent and grown up, and less intimate with Eddie in the house.
2.5 Act 1e
2.5.1 Eddie goes to see Alfieri, wanting the law to step in to stop Catherine marrying Rodolpho. He claims that Rodolpho is only doing it to gain a US passport, and that Rodolpho is homosexual. Eddie is amazed when Alfieri explains that no law can prevent the marriage. Alfieri hints that perhaps Eddie loves Catherine too much (over and beyond the caring, uncle-niece love which could be expected), to which Eddie reacts angrily. There is tension in the air when we next see Eddie, Beatrice, Catherine, Marco and Rodolpho at home together. Eddie makes barbed comments, implying that Rodolpho is too friendly with Catherine and too casual with his money. He pretends to admire the fact that Rodolpho can cook, sew and sing, before adding that it is wrong for someone with those skills to work at the docks. He offers to treat Rodolpho and Marco to a night watching a prize-fight and teaches Rodolpho to box. This is clearly just an excuse to punch Rodolpho, but Rodolpho takes it good-humouredly. Catherine shows that she is more interested in Rodolpho's safety than Eddie's. Marco shows off his own strength to Eddie by lifting a chair by its leg with one hand - a feat that Eddie cannot match.
2.6 Act 2a
2.6.1 Catherine and Rodolpho are alone in the apartment for the first time. Catherine is sombre. She asks Rodolpho if they could live in Italy when they are married, but he claims it would be ridiculous to go back to such poverty. He does reassure her that he is not going to marry her just to gain US citizenship, however. She says that she doesn't want to hurt Eddie. When he has comforted her, they go into the bedroom. Eddie returns, drunk, and is aghast to see Rodolpho follow Catherine out of the bedroom. He tells Rodolpho to leave immediately; Catherine says that she will go too, but Eddie grabs her and kisses her. When Rodolpho protests, saying Catherine is going to be his wife, Eddie kisses him too. The men fight, "like animals". Four days later, Eddie returns to Alfieri and tells him what happened. Marco has not been told of the fight. Alfieri reiterates that there is nothing Eddie or the law can do to prevent the wedding. He advises Eddie to let the couple marry, warning him that there could be awful consequences if he didn't. Yet Eddie ignores Alfieri's words and telephones the Immigration Bureau, anonymously, to betray the cousins. When Eddie returns home, he finds that Marco and Rodolpho have moved upstairs to a neighbour's apartment. There is a tense conversation with Beatrice - she is very angry with him. Beatrice tells Eddie that Catherine and Rodolpho are going to get married next week, ironically because Catherine is afraid that the authorities will catch up with the brothers. She tries to get Eddie - who has tears in his eyes - to agree to come to the wedding and, when Catherine comes in, Beatrice encourages Catherine to ask Eddie herself. Catherine refuses to listen to Eddie's suggestion that it is
2.7 Act 2b
2.7.1 When Eddie discovers that Marco and Rodolpho are lodged with two other illegal immigrants upstairs, he becomes concerned and warns that they will be less safe from the authorities there. He is obviously regretting the call he made to the Immigration Bureau, but it is too late - two officers arrive. It is clear that Beatrice and Catherine immediately suspect that Eddie was the informer. As the officers lead Marco, Rodolpho and the two other immigrants away, Catherine pleads with the men to spare Rodolpho and Marco spits in Eddie's face. Eddie shouts out that he'll kill Marco; Marco retorts that Eddie has stolen food from his children. Eddie protests that he is innocent, but all the neighbours turn away from him. The honour of both Eddie and Marco is now at stake. We next see Marco and Rodolpho and Catherine with Alfieri's in the reception room of the prison: Alfieri needs a promise from Marco that he will not kill Eddie as a condition of bail. Marco is reluctant, feeling that Eddie shou
2.8 Act 2c
2.8.1 It is the day of the wedding. Beatrice gets dressed in her best clothes, but Eddie tells her that if she goes, he won't let her back into the house. Catherine is angry, calling Eddie a rat. When Rodolpho arrives to take Catherine to the church, he says that Marco is at the church, praying. Eddie's fury rises: he wants to get even with Marco, for ruining his good name in the neighbourhood. Beatrice tries to calm him, telling him that the reason he is angry is because he is about to lose Catherine for ever - but this truth fires Eddie up even more. Marco arrives, calling Eddie's name. Eddie goes to meet him in the street and demands a public apology. Instead, Marco calls him an "animal". Eddie draws a knife but Marco is able to grip Eddie's wrist and turn the knife on Eddie himself. Eddie dies in Beatrice's arms. Alfieri closes the play, commenting on how useless Eddie's death was, and on how much he admired him for allowing himself to be "wholly known."
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