Who was Eddie Carbone?  Was he the strong leader of the longshoremen that worked between Brooklyn Bridge and the breakwater in the nineteen fifties, the kind uncle, who offered a home to his orphaned niece,  the compassionate community activist who found employment and  accommodation for illegal immigrants from the old country?   Yes all of these.  These aspects of Eddie deserved respect, but there was also a dark side; Eddie the tyrant, the bully, the weak man, so insecure of his own masculinity and power, he would terrorise his wife and niece and betray those he offered to shelter and protect. 

The trouble started when Marco and Rodolfo came to stay.  Eddie was already preoccupied by the blossoming sexuality of his niece, Catherine, and becoming over-possessive, but when it became clear that she was falling in love with Rodolfo, he had to put a stop to it.  He told his lodgers to leave, but Catherine threatened to leave too, so Eddie, desperate to keep his niece, informed the immigration authorities and Marco and Rodolfo were arrested pending deportation.  Out on bail, Marco comes looking for Eddie.  They fight, Eddie pulls a knife, but during the tussle, Marco turns the knife on Eddie and kills him. 

The View from the Bridge, probably Arthur Miller’s most powerful work, exposes the fragility of the American dream of opportunity, freedom and shelter for the dispossessed, through the complex personality of Eddie.

Eddie affects strength and demands respect, but is so insecure of his own sexuality and power.  His wife Beatrice is in charge of the home (and the bed) and Eddie is troubled by the sexual presence of Catherine and too concerned about Rodolfo’s sexuality.   He is threatened by the arrival of the cousins from Italy and feels compelled to demonstrate his dominance in demonstrations of boxing and trials of strength, which he loses.  He fears the loss of his dominant status in the community and the family, and resorts, like all weak leaders, to tyranny.   Inevitably, his entrenched attitude brings about the tragedy that shatters the world of everybody associated with him. 

And now America is trying to exert its will on Libya by bombing forces loyal to its leader.  It won’t end well for any of us.

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