A View from the Bridge

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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

But this is Red Hook, not Sicily. This is the slum that faces the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge. This is the gullet of New York swallowing the tonnage of the world. And now we are quite civilized, quite American.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Brooklyn Bridge
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

The play opens with a monologue by Alfieri, a lawyer who immigrated to Red Hook from Italy when he was 25 years old. Throughout the play, Alfieri acts as a one man "Greek chorus" who frames and comments on the actions of the characters and the nature of the neighborhood. 

In this quote, he sets the scene for the stage of Red Hook, Brooklyn, a neighborhood largely populated by poor but proud Italian immigrants. Many of the men who live here are longshoremen, or dock workers who load and unload shipments from around the world. They literally "swallow" the "tonnage of the world" by relying on the tons of goods from around the world to support their livelihoods. Though these Brooklynites have escaped the hunger and unemployment that plagued them in their countries of origin, or their parents' country of origin, their view of the ocean and their attachment to the sea is a constant reminder of where they came from, and for illegal immigrants, where they could very easily end up. Aliferi's invocation of the Brooklyn Bridge is a metaphor for the bridge between wealthy New York and the American Dream, as it connects poor Brooklyn to shiny Manhattan—an important image, and one that contributes to the play's title. 

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Listen, you been givin’ me the willies the way you walk down the street, I mean it.

Related Characters: Eddie Carbone (speaker), Catherine
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

Eddie, a longshoreman, comes home one day and warmly greets his niece, Catherine, who is equally pleased to see him.

The two are very close, to an extent that becomes a source of discomfort later on in the play. Eddie is very protective of Catherine, and in this quote, he complains that her new skirt is too short and that she walks "wavy," or in a suggesting manner with her hips, when she walks down the street. Eddie disapproves of Catherine's "wavy" walk because it attracts the attention of men. Even though Catherine is seventeen years old and on the cusp of womanhood, Eddie is still thinks of her as "his" little girl. It is important to note in this quote that while Eddie doesn't like the attention Catherine gets due to her walk, he has clearly noticed it, too, revealing feelings for Catherine that go beyond that of a protective uncle and niece, and which are eventually noticed by Alfieri and Beatrice. 

Katie, I promised your mother on her death-bed. I’m responsible for you. You’re a baby, you don’t understand these things.

Related Characters: Eddie Carbone (speaker), Catherine
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

Catherine is an orphan whose parents died when she was young. Eddie and Beatrice, Catherine's aunt, promised the girl's parents that they would take care of her. A childless couple, they raised Catherine as if she were their own. 

Eddie is a very proud man who is insistent on his promises to people. In this quote, he tells Catherine that he knows what's best for her, and that he needs to protect her to the extent that he promised her mother on her death-bed. In this case, it means that he wants her to change the way she dresses and walks, because she's attracting the attention of men. Though Eddie urges Catherine that he knows best and doesn't want her to begin dating under the guise of his love as an uncle, it becomes clear throughout the play that he wants her to stay at home due to subconscious feelings of ownership and, to an implied extent, romantic love. 

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. 

Look, you gotta get used to it, she’s no baby no more.

Related Characters: Beatrice (speaker), Eddie Carbone, Catherine
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

When the family sits down for dinner, Catherine breaks the news to Eddie that she has been offered a job as a stenographer at a plumbing company, where she will earn $50 a week. Eddie immediately objects for a variety of reasons: that Catherine should stay in school (even though the principal set her up with the job, and would still allow her to take the exam to finish her courses at the end of the year), that the neighborhood in which she will work is too dangerous (even though it is one block from the subway, and no more dangerous than Red Hook, where they live), and that Catherine is too young to go to work (even though she is almost eighteen years old, and would bring home $50 a week, a significant sum of money for the family working to make ends meet). 

In this quote, Beatrice sticks up for Catherine, and eventually convinces Eddie to let Catherine go to work. She knows firsthand how overprotective Eddie is of his niece, and also knows that she is Catherine's only advocate in achieving her freedom outside of the home. Beatrice also senses Eddie's affinity for Catherine, one that goes beyond the bond of uncle and niece, even one between an uncle who has been the father figure for a niece. Beatrice's insistence that Eddie allow Catherine to work and get out of the house is, to an extent, self-serving; if Catherine is not around as much, and works to make Eddie see she is no longer "his baby," then Beatrice can be the number one woman in Eddie's life for the first time in years. 

Eddie:
There was a family lived next door to her mother, he was about sixteen—

Beatrice:
No, he was no more than fourteen, cause I was to his confirmation in Saint Agnes. but the family had an uncle that they were hidin’ in the house, and he snitched to the Immigration.

Catherine:
The kid snitched?

Eddie:
On his own uncle!

Catherine:
What, was he crazy?

Eddie:
He was crazy after, I tell you that, boy.

Beatrice:
Oh, it was terrible. He had five brothers and the old father. And they grabbed him in the kitchen and pulled him down the stairs—three flights his head was bouncin’ like a coconut. And they spit on him in the street, his own father and his brothers. The whole neighborhood was cryin’.

Related Characters: Eddie Carbone (speaker), Beatrice (speaker), Catherine (speaker)
Page Number: 17-18
Explanation and Analysis:

Prior to Marco and Rodolpho arriving at the house, Eddie and Beatrice tell Catherine the cautionary tale of a boy who informed Immigration officers that there was an illegal immigrant, his uncle, living in their house. They do so in order to warn her not to do anything to bring attention to the two illegal Italian immigrants they are soon to have live in their home. This story illustrates the pride that Red Hook residents have in their blood relatives, and the collective horror and shame that the neighborhood feels when someone betrays one of their own. Though the concept of justice is palpable throughout the neighborhood, as Alfieri notes in his opening monologue, it is a kind of vigilante justice rather than one that aligns with the actual law (which would approve of the arrest of an illegal immigrant). This anecdote illustrates how protective each family feels for its members, and the shame and disappointment thrust upon anyone, even a young boy, who betrays it (as Eddie himself will later).

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. 

It means you gotta be your own self more. You still think you’re a little girl, honey. but nobody else can make up your mind for you any more, you understand? You gotta give him to understand that he can’t give you orders no more.

Related Characters: Beatrice (speaker), Catherine
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

Eddie becomes upset about the amount of time Rodolpho and Catherine have been spending together. For years, she has been his "little girl," always doting upon him when he comes home from work, but ever since Rodolpho arrived, they stay out until late at night seeing movies. Eddie confronts Catherine to tell her that he thinks Rodolpho is up to no good, meaning that he is only seeking a green-card marriage. This upsets Catherine, who goes to Beatrice and tells her that while she wants to get married and leave the house one day, she worries about how Eddie will react. 

In this quote, Beatrice tells Catherine that if she wants Eddie to treat her like a grown woman, she has to start acting like one. Eddie and Catherine are very close, since he has been the father figure in her life since she was very little. Their relationship, it seems, has not evolved as she matured into an adult, a stunted growth that has caused tension as Catherine prepares to leave the house in pursuit of marriage and a career. Though Beatrice does not explicitly say that the nature of Catherine and Eddie's relationship makes her uncomfortable, she doesn't only urge Catherine to act more mature for own Catherine's benefit; as Eddie's wife, it also makes Beatrice uncomfortable how much attention her husband pays to their niece. If Eddie cannot learn to treat Catherine like a grown woman, then it is in Beatrice's best interest to urge Catherine to act like one. 

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. 

We all love somebody, the wife, the kids—every man’s got somebody that he loves, heh? But sometimes . . . there’s too much. You know? There’s too much, and it goes where it mustn’t. A man works hard, he brings up a child, sometimes it’s a niece, sometimes even a daughter, and he never realizes it, but through the years—there is too much love for the daughter, there is too much love for the niece. Do you understand what I’m saying to you?

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Eddie Carbone, Catherine
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

During their talk, Alfieri tries to steer Eddie's emotions towards letting go of Catherine, rather than seeking legal action in order to break up the immigrant and his niece. 

In this quote, Alfieri subtly, though more explicitly than Beatrice, tells Eddie that his love for Catherine borders on inappropriate behavior. In plain terms, he is implying that Eddie's interest in Catherine goes beyond the love of an uncle who has been a father figure to his niece, and into the uncomfortable realm of romantic feelings for a younger female family member. Though Eddie has always claimed that his feelings of ownership for Catherine are really paternal instincts of protection, the fact that he is seeking legal recourse in order to separate her from a potential husband is concerning to Alfieri. Even as a third party who is not a part of the family, Alfieri can tell that Eddie's feelings for Catherine broach inappropriate--and potentially illegal--sentiments. 

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. 

This is my last word, Eddie, take it or not, that’s your business. Morally and legally you have no rights, you cannot stop it; she is a free agent.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Eddie Carbone, Catherine
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

After confronting Catherine and Rodolpho--and kissing both of them, to prove his ownership of Catherine and his belief that Rodolpho is a homosexual--Eddie goes to Alfieri, to beg him to find a reason to use the law to separate Catherine and Rodolpho. Much like their previous conversation, Alfieri refuses. In this quote, he firmly tells Eddie that Catherine is old enough to make her own decisions, and that Eddie has no agency over whom or when she marries. Eddie longs to find some way to prove that Rodolpho is a homosexual, and that he is only interested in using Catherine to get a green card, but Alfieri says there is no way the law can intervene in these suspicions. It is this conversation that prompts Eddie to take matters into his own hands, and to invoke the law the only way he can think of: calling the Immigration Office and informing them of two illegal immigrants living in his apartment. This is an act of desperation that comes from a place of extreme hopelessness and lack of control, and though it is "right" from a legal perspective, on any other level it is an act of betrayal. 

The law is only a word for what has a right to happen. When the law is wrong it’s because it’s unnatural, but in this case it is natural and a river will drown you if you buck it now. Let her go. And bless her.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Eddie Carbone, Catherine
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quote, Alfieri insinuates that the only way the law might intervene in the case of Catherine is if Eddie does something drastic to act upon his feelings for her. Even though he is not a part of the family and has not seen firsthand how attached to Catherine Eddie is, Alfieri can tell that Eddie's feelings of ownership for Catherine come from a place of romantic, not just paternal, love. Alfieri's hands are tied: he anticipates that something tragic will happen, and all he can do is to urge Eddie to let Catherine live her life as she pleases. He warns Eddie that these feelings of attachment and rage will only serve to hurt him, not hurt those whom he has hatred for. And by hurting himself, he will end up scarring those that he loves--namely, Catherine. 

That one! I accuse that one!

Related Characters: Marco (speaker), Eddie Carbone
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

After Eddie's outbust, Rodolpho and Marco move to an upstairs apartment in the same building, thanks to Beatrice's quick arrangements. Eddie realizes too late that two other immigrants are also living in the flat, and therefore will be caught by the Immigration Officers. The officers arrive and take the four immigrants away. No one is in doubt that it is Eddie who did this, and as Marco is being dragged away, he spits in Eddie's face. In this quote, he accuses Eddie of tattling on the immigrants in front of the whole neighborhood. As we know from Eddie's previous anecdote about the young boy who gave up a relative to Immigration, to betray family members squatting in the neighborhood in order to find work and send money back to their families is an unforgivable crime. By resorting to his last hope to involve the law in separating Catherine and Rodolpho, Eddie has in fact committed the worst crime that a Redhook citizen can commit in the eyes of vigilante law: betrayal. 

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.  

This is not God, Marco. You hear? Only God makes justice.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Marco
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

Though Marco seeks revenge for Eddie's betrayal, he has no legal recourse whatsoever. As an illegal immigrant, he is not allowed to be living or working in Brooklyn, and in the eyes of the law, Eddie has done the right thing. However, in the eyes of community and family justice, Eddie has committed an unforgivable act of betrayal. In this quote, Alfieri urges Marco not to act on his vengeful feelings, no matter how angry he is. Alfieri knows that Marco is desperate: when he is sent back to Italy, his starving family will be awaiting his return. The U.S. was his only chance for a livelihood. Without any work, he and his family will continue to suffer. To Marco, Eddie has stripped him and his family of their entire future. Alfieri knows that this desperation and hopelessness might drive Marco to murder Eddie. In this quote, he urges Marco not to murder his betrayer, since while he feel like he must make his own justice, God will know that he has sinned, and he will one day pay the ultimate price. 

Eddie:
Didn’t you hear what I told you? You walk out that door to that wedding you ain’t comin’ back here, Beatrice.

Beatrice:
Why! What do you want?

Eddie:
I want my respect. Didn’t you ever hear of that? From my wife?

Related Characters: Eddie Carbone (speaker), Beatrice (speaker), Beatrice
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

After Catherine and Rodolpho move out of Eddie's bottom-floor apartment and into a neighbor's flat upstairs, Eddie refuses to speak to them. On their wedding day, he refuses to attend as well, and forbids Beatrice to go.In this quote, Beatrice, fed up with Eddie's irrational anger, says she is going to go anyway. More than space from the couple, Eddie wants his pride back. By losing Catherine, whom he has come to see as his property over the years, he feels as if a part of himself has been "stolen" by Rodolpho. He has no reason for not wanting Beatrice to attend, except out of spite. He knows how much Catherine cares for them, but he feels that her love for him is not enough--if she truly cared for him, she would never leave the house, and would stay as his "paper doll" forever.

Catherine:
How can you listen to him? This rat!

Beatrice:
Don’t you call him that!

Catherine:
What’re you scared of? He’s a rat! He belongs in the sewer!

Related Characters: Beatrice (speaker), Catherine (speaker), Eddie Carbone
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

When Eddie refuses to attend Catherine and Rodolpho's wedding until Marco apologizes--and forbids Beatrice to attend as well--Catherine becomes very angry.

In this quote, she calls Eddie a "rat" in an outburst, referring to the fact that he "ratted" on Marco and Rodolpho to Immigration due to his jealousy for Rodolpho's relationship with Catherine. Though Catherine has thus far been reluctant to break ties with Eddie, due to the bond that they have had for the majority of her life, the Red Hook ideals of justice give her license to denounce her uncle in the wake of his betrayal. Just like with the anecdote of the boy who ratted out an uncle at the beginning of the play, the only time that it is communally acceptable to denounce and publicly shame a family member is if they betray another family member.

Beatrice, though initially encouraging of Catherine to become less close with Eddie, is very quick to defend her husband. This defense reveals the self-serving nature of Beatrice's conversations with Catherine, when she told her to grow up and encouraged her to get a job, get married, and leave the house. Beatrice has clearly felt competition with the young girl for Eddie's affection for years. Though she does not approve of Eddie's betrayal, the love and allegiance she feels for her husband will always come before anything--even the vigilante law that pervades Red Hook, and even before the niece she raised as if she were her own child. 

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. 

Maybe he come to apologize to me. Heh, Marco? For what you said about me in front of the neighborhood? . . . Wipin’ the neighborhood with my name like a dirty rag! I want my name, Marco.

Related Characters: Eddie Carbone (speaker), Marco
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

As Eddie previously mentioned to Rodolpho, when Marco arrives at the house while on bail, Eddie tells him that he wants Marco to "give him his name"--to apologize to him publicly, so that his reputation can be restored. As news travels quickly in the community, all of Red Hook knows that Eddie Carbone gave up his relatives to the police--an unforgivable act that others will assume was done spitefully for the government payoff. Of course, the members of the Carbone household know that it was done vengefully so that Catherine would not marry Rodolpho, and thus escape from Eddie's clutches. In this whole ordeal, Eddie has not only lost Catherine and her trust to another man, but he has also lost his pride--something he wants Marco to give back to him. However, he knows that the furious Marco will not comply, and ends up provoking him into a physical fight. 

I confess that something perversely pure calls to me from his memory—not purely good, but himself purely, for he allowed himself to be wholly known and for that I think I will love him more than all my sensible clients. And yet, it is better to settle for half, it must be! And so I mourn him—I admit it—with a certain . . . alarm.

Related Characters: Alfieri (speaker), Eddie Carbone
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

As the framing device and "Greek chorus" of the play, Alfieri closes the play with a monologue, just as he opened it. After Marco kills Eddie with the knife that Eddie hoped to stab him with, Alfieri reminisces on the kind of man that Eddie was. Prior to the betrayal, he was commonly known as a good, hardworking man. Alfieri notes that Eddie was "himself purely"--though it was not good of him to have such strong feelings for Catherine, and to do what he did to Marco and Rodolpho, everything mad that he did was done for the passion of the love he felt. Alfieri insinuates that he will "love him more" than all of his "sensible clients," because though Eddie ultimately brought about his own death, his actions were largely fueled by too much love--until they were funneled into hatred. This closing commentary by Alfieri highlights the nuances of Eddie's character, as both the protagonist and the villain of the play--the man whose love ended up killing him. 

No matches.