Eddie is a character whose quest in search of his ambitions and dreams ended up absorbing his life, and eventually killing him. The arrival of Marco and Rodolfo from Sicily acted as a catalyst because it destabilized Eddie’s control over Catherine as she went out more with Rodolfo and obeyed him less. Eddie became obsessed with of returning to a life where he had ultimate control over Catherine. This obsession is perhaps related to his pent up lust for Catherine that he cannot express because it would be a complete social taboo.
Eddie yearns to achieve his dream even though it is unachievable because Catherine is maturing and realizing she does not need him anymore. This is what results in an inevitable fate of doom for Eddie that Arthur Miller repeats throughout the play by the use of foreshadowing for example when Alfieri says that Eddie’s “eyes were like tunnels”. The use of the word “tunnel” shows the inevitable and straight direction in which Eddie’s fate is heading in. This sense of inevitability is characteristic of Greek tragedies, the style of play of which ‘A View from the Bridge is based on.
Eddie’s disturbing imagined world is contrasted against the stereotypical dream of an Italian American immigrant to show how perverse it is. The Italian American dream of 1950’s America is to settle down, find a job in order to support the family. This is summed up by Rodolfo who claims “Me, I want to be an American”. Eddie on the other hand has taken the Italian value of family too far. His obsession to be able to keep control of his adopted daughter Catherine results in extreme measures that force him to talk to Alfieri in search of a solution and when that fails, he sees the phone booth as his only option, and one that he felt compelled to take because of his absolute reluctance to compromise. The phone booth gradually glows in the scene where he calls the immigration office. This shows the triumph of Eddie’s desperation to achieve his imagine world over his conscious to do what is proper in society.
As the play progresses Eddie becomes more and more manic in search of world that he seeks to uphold. This is not a conscious decision on his behalf but his inability to understand his emotions results in him becoming more fraustrated and in turn, out of control. Arthur miller makes Eddie take two visits to Alfieri throughout the play to show how Eddie’s desperation has progressed. In the first Eddie is anxious, yet composed and manages to string together a cohesive argument that makes the audience sympathize with him. He claims that “suppose he ain’t right”, referring to Rodolfo.
By his second visit, Eddie turns out of control as he sees his imagined world slipping further away from him with the news of the marriage of Catherine and Rodolfo. Arthur Miller puts many ellipses in the script to show Eddie’s tangled thoughts that he himself cannot comprehend. These two visits are mark two versions of Eddie: the Eddie that believes for the most part that he has done nothing wrong and the Eddie that no longer considers what’s just and therefore has no conscience of himself.
Other characters in the play support Eddie and try to make him better person until he calls the immigration bureau and then everyone turns against him. Beatrice is the only character that supports Eddie throughout the whole play but even she doesn’t agree with his ideology. Catherine turns from the girl who (stage direction) “Strikes a match and holds it to Eddie’s cigar” to the woman who calls him a “Dirty rat”. This shows as Eddie become more processed by his vision of his family, people turned more and more against him.
Arthur miller creates a disjunction between Eddie’s vision of reality and actual reality by making Eddie become more unstable and obsessed with his dream through his speech and actions. His obsession drives him to the point where he no longer cares other people’s opinions of him. This drives him to do things totally unacceptable in the community like the double kiss of Catherine and Rodolfo and calling the immigration bureau. All these actions are rooted from Eddie’s inability to compromise. As Alfieri says at both the beginning and ending of the play, “Now we settle for half and I like it better. If Eddie had done such a thing, he would not end up dead, and he might have been closer to achieving his vision of his future.