A View from the Bridge

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Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Immigration, Home, and Belonging Theme Icon
Love and Desire Theme Icon
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon
Justice and the Law Theme Icon
Maturity and Independence Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in A View from the Bridge, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Respect, Honor, Reputation Theme Icon

One of Eddie’s main concerns in the play is his honor and the respect (or lack thereof) he gets from those around him. Other characters are also concerned with these issues, as matters of personal honor and reputation are of great importance in the close-knit community of Red Hook. But these issues are explored most fully through the character of Eddie. Eddie works hard to support his family and has a proud sense of personal honor. At the beginning of the play, he is a respected, well-liked member of his community. But the play follows his tragic demise as he loses the respect of others and his good reputation. He constantly worries about being disrespected or dishonored by Catherine, Beatrice, Marco, and especially Rodolpho. Closely related to the concepts of honor or respect is the idea of reputation, which can be understood as a more social form of honor. In addition to Eddie’s personal sense of honor, he is greatly concerned with his reputation amongst his neighbors. He is infuriated when Marco spits on him and accuses him of turning him in to the Immigration Bureau (even though Eddie really did do it) because these actions are disrespectful and dishonor Eddie, but especially because they occurred in public, in front of the neighborhood. After Eddie’s reputation is tarnished, his neighbors Lipari, Louis, and Mike ignore and ostracize him.

While Eddie does lose the respect of others around him, part of the problem with his obsession with respect and honor is that he has a rather warped idea of the concepts. Whenever Beatrice or Catherine disagrees with him, he interprets this as a sign of disrespect. Furthermore, he thinks that Rodolpho disrespects and dishonors him merely by spending time with Catherine. In the end, Eddie loses the respect of his family and community precisely because he is so overly concerned and defensive regarding his own honor and reputation. He interprets all sorts of things as affronts to his personal honor and lashes out against those who he thinks are disrespecting him. Then, ironically, this very habit of overreaction causes Catherine, Beatrice, Rodolpho, and Marco to lose actual respect for him gradually. Nonetheless, even after Eddie’s self-destructive decline, Beatrice and Catherine show some respect for him, when he is stabbed by Marco. And Alfieri ends the play by affirming that he still mourns Eddie respectfully, granting Eddie some vestige of a positive reputation after all.

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Respect, Honor, Reputation ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Respect, Honor, Reputation appears in each act of A View from the Bridge. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Respect, Honor, Reputation Quotes in A View from the Bridge

Below you will find the important quotes in A View from the Bridge related to the theme of Respect, Honor, Reputation.
Act 1 Quotes

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

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.

The kid snitched?

On his own uncle!

What, was he crazy?

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

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).


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Act 2 Quotes

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. 

To promise not to kill is not dishonorable.



Then what is done with such a man.

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

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

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

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

I know, Marco—

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

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.  

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

Why! What do you want?

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.

How can you listen to him? This rat!

Don’t you call him that!

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.