A View from the Bridge

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Rodolpho Character Analysis

The other one of Beatrice’s cousins from Italy, who stays at Eddie’s apartment. Unlike Marco, Rodolpho spends his money lavishly on clothes and other things, and enjoys himself out in the city. He sings in a high-pitched voice, cooks, and can sew. Because of this, Eddie is very suspicious of him, and thinks that he may be homosexual, repeatedly saying that he “ain’t right.” Rodolpho ends up falling for Catherine, and the two prepare to get married. Eddie warns Catherine that Rodolpho may simply be seeking a way to become an American citizen, but Rodolpho vehemently denies this. While he may truly love Catherine, his behavior toward her is at times not so different from Eddie’s, as he calls her a little girl at one point, and repeatedly tells her what to do.

Rodolpho Quotes in A View from the Bridge

The A View from the Bridge quotes below are all either spoken by Rodolpho or refer to Rodolpho. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of A View from the Bridge published in 2009.
Act 1 Quotes

Listen, they’ll think it’s a millionaire’s house compared to the way they live. Don’t worry about the walls. They’ll be thankful.

Related Characters: Eddie Carbone (speaker), Marco, Rodolpho
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

Two of Beatrice's cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, arrive a week early on a ship from Italy. Beatrice is surprised at their early arrival, and is upset that she did not have time to cook and clean as she had planned.

In this quote, Eddie assures her that the two immigrant men will not notice that the walls haven't been scrubbed sparkling clean. Instead, they will be grateful to have landed in a land of opportunity, and to have a roof over their heads. It is worthy to note that before even meeting Rodolpho and Marco, Eddie has a sense that they are indebted to him because his home is sheltering them while they live and work illegally in America, in order to send money back to their families. Eddie knows that the men came to America only because they felt they had no other choice but to leave Italy and find work across an ocean. In a way, he takes advantage of their desperation, and approaches the men living in his home with the attitude that he, not America, is giving them the opportunity for a better life. 

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Me, I want to be an American. And then I want to go back to Italy when I am rich, and I will buy a motorcycle.

Related Characters: Rodolpho (speaker)
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

Marco and Rodolpho, Beatrice's Sicilian cousins, arrive at the Carbone home and marvel at the "Americanness" of the house and of Brooklyn. Marco notes that he hopes to stay in America for a handful of years, send money back to his wife and children, and then return to Italy to establish a more stable life for his family.

In this quote, Rodolpho, Marco's younger and unmarried brother, notes that he has more superficial aspirations: to become an American, and then return to Italy wealthy, where he will buy a motorcycle. From the moment he steps foot in America, Rodolpho has the American aesthetic, rather than the American dream, in mind: with no family to take care of, he quickly spends his earnings on new clothing and trips to the movies. Rodolpho wants a better life for himself, and as a young, unattached man, this life is one of beautiful things and entertaining pursuits. It is this carefree spending, seemingly antithetical to the hard work Eddie has put in to provide for Beatrice and Catherine for the last twenty years, that eventually makes him suspicious that Rodolpho is courting Catherine only to earn his American citizenship, and then to leave her as soon as he can. To Eddie, Rodolpho's pursuits in America are all self-serving and frivolous, in opposition to the thrifty work ethic immigrants are supposed to have when arriving in the land of opportunity at last. 

I’m gonna buy a paper doll that I can call my own, A doll that other fellows cannot steal.

Related Characters: Rodolpho (speaker)
Related Symbols: “Paper Doll”
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

Marco and Rodolpho tell Eddie, Beatrice, and Catherine about the lack of opportunities in their town in Italy--there is plenty of beauty, but absolutely no employment. Rodolpho proudly recalls the day that a famous opera singer set to perform at a hotel got sick, and being a singer himself, Rodolpho took over and entertained the visitors for hours. He romanticizes the memory mostly due to the fact that he claims "thousand lira" tips rained down from the crowd, and that he and his brother were able to live for six months off of that night (though Marco refutes the claim and states it was more like two months). Catherine implores him to sing, and in this quote, he sings a few bars of the song "Paper Doll."

Eddie quickly becomes angry and tells Rodolpho to stop singing, even though Beatrice and Catherine want him to continue--he has a beautiful, high tenor voice. Eddie claims he wants Rodolpho to stop because the neighbors may become suspicious if they suddenly hear singing from a house where previously no such voice came from. However, it is also likely due to the content of the song that Eddie becomes paranoid. The lyrics are about keeping a woman away from other men, as if she were a "paper doll" that could be kept in a pocket for "safekeeping." Eddie views Catherine like his own paper doll, a child that will be his forever. He can already sense that Catherine's allegiance to him is waning in light of her enchantment with Rodolpho, and it is the combination of the content of the song and annoyance at Rodolpho's talent that prompts Eddie to shut up his houseguest. 

Beatrice:
The girl is gonna be eighteen years old, it’s time already.

Eddie:
B., he’s taking her for a ride!

Beatrice:
All right, that’s her ride. What’re you gonna stand over her till she’s forty?

Related Characters: Eddie Carbone (speaker), Beatrice (speaker), Catherine, Rodolpho
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

Rodolpho and Catherine frequently stay out late at the movies, a new development that makes Eddie upset. He claims he worries for her safety, but Beatrice knows it is due to his unusual affinity for Catherine. 

In this quote, Beatrice repeats her refrain to Eddie that Catherine is a grown woman, and is allowed to make her own choices, including what men she associates with and where she spends her evenings. Eddie refutes Beatrice's claim that Catherine is perfectly safe with Rodolpho, and states that he believes Rodolpho is only expressing a passing interest in Catherine until he marries her and acquires American citizenship. Beatrice tells Eddie that that is Catherine's choice. This is clearly true, but as a statement it's likely also self-serving for Beatrice: if Catherine marries Rodolpho, then she will be out of the house, and Eddie will be forced to stop doting upon her. This will make Beatrice less uncomfortable about Eddie's interest in his niece, and will also shift Eddie's attention back to her, his wife. 

Alfieri:
Is there a question of law somewhere?

Eddie:
That’s what I want to ask you.

Alfieri:
Because there’s nothing illegal about a girl falling in love with an immigrant.

Related Characters: Eddie Carbone (speaker), Alfieri (speaker), Catherine, Rodolpho
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

Fed up with his inability to convince Catherine that Rodolpho is up to no good, Eddie goes to Alfieri to see if the law can intervene in what seems to be the impending marriage of Catherine and the immigrant. 

In this quote, Alfieri fails to give Eddie the answer he seeks. He informs Eddie that there is nothing illegal about Rodolpho and Catherine falling in love with each other. The only way in which the law can object to the situation is that Rodolpho is an illegal immigrant, although, of course, by marrying Catherine, he would be able to apply for citizenship. Though "sham marriages" are illegal, from every angle except for Eddie's suspicions, Catherine and Rodolpho are genuinely smitten with one another. Eddie's only recourse to split up Catherine and Rodolpho would be to give up Rodolpho's name to Immigration--an act that, in Red Hook, is considered to be one of merciless betrayal. 

Act 2 Quotes

Do you think I am so desperate? My brother is desperate, not me. You think I would carry on my back the rest of my life a woman I didn’t love just to be an American? It’s so wonderful? You think we have no tall buildings in Italy? Electric lights? No wide streets? No flags? No automobiles? Only work we don’t have. I want to be an American so I can work, that is the only wonder here—work!

Related Characters: Rodolpho (speaker), Catherine
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

One day while home alone, Catherine confronts Rodolpho about his intentions. With the idea placed into her head by Eddie, she asks him if he is only interested in her to acquire U.S. citizenship. Rodolpho angrily rebuts her accusation, and in this quote, he says that he is in America to work, not to have a sham marriage for citizenship. He is interested in Catherine only because he loves her. Unlike his brother, he is not desperate for work, since he does not have a family to personally support. Implicit in this quote as well is a critique of America, and of the common idea that America is inherently greater than all other countries. As Rodolpho states here, the only thing America has that Italy doesn't is jobs—so if he wasn't working, and he didn't really love Catherine, he'd rather be in Italy.

Don’t, don’t laugh at me! I’ve been here all my life. . . . Every day I saw him when he left in the morning and when he came home at night. You think it’s so easy to turn around and say to a man he’s nothin’ to you no more?

Related Characters: Catherine (speaker), Eddie Carbone, Rodolpho
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

When Rodolpho tells Catherine that she should no longer care what Eddie thinks of her, Catherine feels wounded. Beatrice and Eddie raised her as if she were their own when her parents died, and she feels indebted to them.

In this quote, she feels insulted that Rodolpho would be so dismissive of Eddie, who similarly took in two Italian immigrants that he had never met before. Though overly protective of Catherine to an uncomfortable degree, neither can deny that Eddie is hardworking and welcoming--at least, when his guests comply to his demands. Eddie is the only father Catherine has ever known, and though his doting upon her seems strange to outsiders, she has always been complicit in their bond. She feels confused about this budding relationship with a new man, especially since the only other man she has ever had such a bond with--Eddie--so vocally disapproves of the courtship. While Catherine longs to spread her wings and go out on her own, she feels massive guilt (largely due to Eddie's words) about denying the man who has given everything to her. It is due to this guilt and reluctance to leave that the separation between Eddie and Catherine is so painful and difficult for all members of the family. 

Catherine. If I take in my hands a little bird. And she grows and wishes to fly. But I will not let her out of my hands because I love her so much, is that right for me to do?

Related Characters: Rodolpho (speaker), Catherine
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

Rodolpho, like Beatrice and Alfieri, has noticed that Eddie is overly protective of Catherine. Though Catherine expresses her worry about how Eddie will feel if she leaves the house to marry Rodolpho, he assures her that she has the license to make her own way in the world once she is grown.

In this quote, Rodolpho uses the metaphor of a baby bird to symbolize Catherine's situation with Eddie. Even though Eddie has raised her, Catherine still has the right to leave the home now that she is fully matured. Rodolpho, a romantic man who loves all things beautiful, works his way into Catherine's heart with flowery language such as in this quote. Here, he quite literally tells Catherine that if you love something, set it free--though in this case he is referring to the fact that her uncle should set her free from the chains of his love for her, so that the two young people can be married. 

Alfieri:
To promise not to kill is not dishonorable.

Marco:
No?

Alfieri:
No.

Marco:
Then what is done with such a man.

Alfieri:
Nothing. If he obeys the law, he lives. That’s all.

Marco:
The law? All the law is not in a book.

Alfieri:
Yes. In a book. There is no other law.

Marco:
He degraded my brother. My blood. He robbed my children, he mocks my work. I work to come here, mister!

Alfieri:
I know, Marco—

Marco:
There is no law for that? Where is the law for that?

Alfieri:
There is none.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Marco (speaker), Eddie Carbone, Rodolpho
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

After being arrested by the Immigration officers, Alfieri meets with Marco and Rodolpho to discuss their options--of which, really, there are none. Alfieri agrees to bail them out on the condition that they don't immediately seek revenge on Eddie. 

In this quote, Alfieri's conversation with Marco mirrors his conversation with Eddie, in that he tells both men that there is no law to appease their hatred: Eddie for Rodolpho's courting of Catherine, Marco for Eddie's betrayal. The kind of justice that these men seek is the right to retain their pride, to retain something of which they, legally, have no right (Eddie's feelings of ownership over Catherine's life, Marco's residency in the United States as an illegal immigrant). The fervent sense of justice that the residents of Red Hook feel is one of pride and vigilante law. Alfieri, as a lawyer, is legally obligated to tell his clients what the law can or cannot do; as an immigrant and member of the Red Hook community for 25 years, he urges his clients not to commit crimes for the sake of revenge and pride. The robbery that both men claim is not a motive that would stand up in a court of law, nor should it fuel violence on the streets of Brooklyn. And yet, citizens of these streets often feel that when the law fails their needs, they must take matters into their own hands.  

I want my name! He didn’t take my name; he’s a punk. Marco’s got my name—and you can run tell him, kid, that he’s gonna give it back to me in front of this neighborhood, or we have it out.

Related Characters: Eddie Carbone (speaker), Marco, Rodolpho
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

Rodolpho tells Eddie that Marco is coming to the house, insinuating that it is in search of revenge. Though Rodolpho acknowledges that he, to an extent, disrespected Eddie by not asking him for permission for Catherine's hand in marriage, he also acknowledges that Eddie greatly betrayed him and his brother by giving them up to the police. 

In this quote, Eddie states that beyond refusing to accept Rodolpho's apology--or apologizing for his own actions--he wants Marco to apologize to him in front of the neighborhood. When Eddie says he "wants his name," he means that he wants his reputation back. In Red Hook vigilante law, betraying one's own relatives to the police is unforgivable. Eddie, however, feels as if something even more unforgivable has been done to him: the loss of Catherine. Despite feeling that he has been justified in his actions, here, Eddie wants Marco to publicly acknowledge that he and Rodolpho have done him wrong, so that the neighborhood won't think that he is a "rat" and treat him as such. 

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Rodolpho Character Timeline in A View from the Bridge

The timeline below shows where the character Rodolpho appears in A View from the Bridge. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
A man escorts Beatrice’s cousins, Rodolpho and Marco, to Eddie’s apartment. Marco and Rodolpho enter the apartment and meet Beatrice and... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Eddie tells Marco and Rodolpho about the work they will have, on the docks. They talk about how there are... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Catherine asks if Rodolpho is married. He isn’t, and he says he wants to stay in the U.S., become... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
...that I can call my own, a doll that other fellows cannot steal.” Eddie tells Rodolpho to stop singing, as it will alert neighbors that someone new is staying in the... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
...his family a few weeks in the future. Eddie is waiting impatiently for Catherine and Rodolpho to return from seeing a movie. He tells Beatrice that Rodolpho is supposed to stay... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Eddie asks Beatrice if Catherine has said anything about Rodolpho, and Beatrice says that Rodolpho is “a nice kid." Eddie disagrees, and Beatrice says he’s... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Eddie says that Marco “goes around like a man,” in contrast to Rodolpho. He says he didn’t bring Catherine up for someone like Rodolpho. Beatrice changes the subject... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Eddie goes outside and talks with two neighbors, Mike and Louis, about Marco and Rodolpho. They compliment Marco’s strength and work ethic, but then say that Rodolpho “has a sense... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Eddie asks where Catherine and Rodolpho have been, wanting to make sure they haven’t gone to Times Square. Catherine says that... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Eddie asks Catherine if she likes Rodolpho. She says she does, and he warns her that Rodolpho doesn’t respect her, and hasn’t... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Catherine is upset, and insists that Rodolpho loves her. She runs into the apartment and Eddie follows her. Inside, Beatrice angrily tells... (full context)
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...wants him to do, since there is nothing illegal about Catherine falling in love with Rodolpho. (full context)
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Eddie says that Rodolpho is only interested in Catherine in order to become an American citizen, but Alfieri says... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Eddie then tells Alfieri that Rodolpho “ain’t right.” Alfieri tries to get Eddie to be more specific, and Eddie says that... (full context)
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Eddie says that people on the docks call Rodolpho “Paper Doll” and “Blondie,” and laugh at him. Alfieri again tells Eddie that there is... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
...just to support Catherine and raise her. He angrily talks about how he has taken Rodolpho in and given him shelter, and now he “puts his dirty filthy hands on her... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...but was powerless to stop it. Back at Eddie’s apartment, Catherine tells Beatrice about how Rodolpho and Marco once went to Africa on a fishing boat. Marco and Rodolpho talk about... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
...find more children there than when they left. Marco says, “the women wait, Eddie,” and Rodolpho says it’s “more strict” in Italy and “not so free” as it is in America.... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Rodolpho assures Eddie that he has respect for Catherine and asks if he has done anything... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Catherine puts on a record, playing the song “Paper Doll,” and asks Rodolpho if he wants to dance. Rodolpho and Catherine dance, and Beatrice asks Marco about the... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Eddie says that the docks aren’t the place for Rodolpho to be working, and says he would work somewhere else if he could make dresses,... (full context)
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Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Rodolpho grazes Eddie’s jaw, and Eddie tells him to try to block his punch now. Eddie... (full context)
Act 2
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
...it is now the 23rd of December. Marco and Eddie are working, and Catherine and Rodolpho are alone at the apartment. Catherine asks Rodolpho what he would think about living with... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Catherine tells Rodolpho she doesn’t want to stay here because she is afraid of Eddie. Rodolpho says they... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Starting to get mad, Rodolpho says he is not desperate enough to “carry on my back to the rest of... (full context)
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Catherine tells Rodolpho that she’s lived with Eddie her whole life, and asks, “You think its so easy... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Catherine starts to cry and embraces Rodolpho. She tells him, “I don’t know anything, teach me, Rodolpho, hold me.” Rodolpho takes her... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
...Eddie that she has to leave, and Eddie says that she will stay, and that Rodolpho is the one who should leave. Catherine says she can’t stay in Eddie’s apartment, but... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
Rodolpho is shocked and tells Eddie to stop. He says that Catherine will be his wife,... (full context)
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
...wife is planning to rent a room in an apartment above them for Marco and Rodolpho. Alfieri tells Eddie that he hasn’t proven anything about Rodolpho, but Eddie insists that “he... (full context)
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Eddie says that Rodolpho “didn’t give me the right kind of fight,” and tells Alfieri that he kissed Rodolpho... (full context)
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
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...living in his apartment. He goes to his apartment and asks Beatrice where Marco and Rodolpho are. They have already moved into an apartment upstairs. (full context)
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Eddie says he doesn’t want Catherine to move in with Rodolpho and Beatrice gets upset. Eddie says, “this is my house here not their house.” He... (full context)
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Eddie says that a wife should believe her husband, and insists that Rodolpho “ain’t right.” He says that Catherine is a baby and doesn’t know what she’s doing... (full context)
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...at night if she wants to now, and maybe meet another man, someone other than Rodolpho. Catherine says she is settled on Rodolpho. (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
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...Beatrice that two other illegal Italian immigrants are staying upstairs in the same apartment as Rodolpho and Marco. Eddie worries that these two other immigrants might get caught, and lead the... (full context)
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
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...did you do?” The immigration officers come down the stairs of the building with Marco, Rodolpho, and two other immigrants. Catherine tries to say that Rodolpho is American and was born... (full context)
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
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...Marco. The officers take the immigrants outside. A butcher named Lipari, whose apartment Marco and Rodolpho had moved into, sees the other two immigrants, his family members. He and his wife... (full context)
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Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Later, at a prison, Alfieri and Catherine visit Marco and Rodolpho. Alfieri says that Marco can be bailed out until his immigration hearing, but only if... (full context)
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...the sewer. Beatrice tells Catherine to stop saying this, and shows some sympathy for Eddie. Rodolpho comes in, and tells Eddie that Marco is coming. Beatrice tries to get Eddie to... (full context)
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Rodolpho tries to tell Eddie that they can still be “comrades,” and Eddie says he wants... (full context)
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...she is just telling the truth, as Marco arrives. Eddie goes outside to meet him. Rodolpho begs Marco not to kill Eddie, and Beatrice tells Eddie to get back in the... (full context)