Analysing the Portrayal of Eddie Carbone as a Tragic Hero A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller is a dramatically tense tragedy that presents the story of the downfall of an ordinary man. The play examines the tragic consequences of Eddie Carbone’s inability to understand himself and his actions. This predominantly takes the form of his prejudice towards his cousin and his inappropriate attraction to his niece. It is set in the 1950s and was written while Miller had become interested in the lives and work of Brooklyn’s dockworkers and longshoremen.
Miller uses the character of Eddie to express his viewpoint that the tragedy of the ruined life of an ordinary workingman is just as significant a subject for tragedy as that of any ancient king, God or “Caesar from Syracuse or Calabria”. He presents Eddie as an equally valid antihero. Antiheroes, or Tragic heroes, are as Aristotle wrote neither wholly good nor wholly evil but a mixture of both.
Eddie is not an evil man, but he acts selfishly, inappropriately and recklessly. Antiheros, unlike heroes, have fatal flaws. These enable a contemporary audience to empathise and identify with his fatally flawed relationships and disastrous choices. Being able to relate to Eddie will let the audience feel the dramatic tension of the situations he is placed in. According to Aristotle a traditional tragic hero is a person who finds himself in a situation where he seems deprived of all outward help and is forced to rely entirely on himself. A View from the Bridge is recognisable as a tragedy because Eddie is a tragic hero even though he is a stereotypical 1950s ordinary American. He is tragic because he refuses to take the help and advice offered by his lawyer, Alf.
. .f instead of trying to gain control of the other characters, he would have perhaps succeeded rather than causing complete destruction. By the end of the play, Eddie cannot see any view from the bridges of Brooklyn; he only has eyes for Catherine. Unfortunately, Catherine, like Rodolpho, sees all number of possibilities and dreams that lie ahead of her. Although bridges connect things, they are also a symbol of the way things are divided. Catherine needs to move across these bridges, but Eddie dies fighting to hold onto her. Eddies story is a tragedy because it is about how he handles his hubristic character, the result of his disastrous choices and his drastic change in fortune. It takes the audience on a roller coaster of dramatic tension, ending up with his unfortunate and unnecessary death, leaving the audience in mourning for such a tragic hero.
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