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At the beginning of the play, Eddie and Catherine have a very intimate and happy relationship. Eddie has given her the best life he can afford, and in return Catherine loves and trusts him completely. However, their situation changes quite rapidly once Beatrice’s cousins arrive from Italy. After their arrival, a gap seems to form between Eddie and Catherine. Eddie gradually becomes obsessed with trying to stop destiny from changing his life. This obsession soon leads to the violation of every moral he has ever believed in.


Through out the first scene it is impossible not to notice Catherine’s desire to be noticed by Eddie. Her excitement when he arrives home is almost childlike. She is very keen for his approval, and asks at every opportunity if he likes her hair or skirt. It is also at this very early point in the play that the audience might get suspicious of Eddie’s true feelings for Catherine. This is a result of his constant comments on her physical appearance. While Eddie’s references to her short skirt and her ‘ walkin’ wavy’, could just be a protective father’s worries about the attention she is getting from other men, his intentions are still questionable. In his mind, now that she is wearing high heels and ‘ walkin’ wavy ’ she is drifting away from him. When he tells her this, she shows her naivety and vulnerability in crying because he disapproves. The intensity of Eddie’s protection for Catherine would have been considered odd, as most girls of her age, at that time were already married.


Eddie gets hit with this feeling of being left behind once again in this scene when Catherine tells him that she been offered a job as a secretary. At first, he refuses to let her accept the job, but when Beatrice tells him that he is stifling her, he agrees, ‘with a sense of her childhood, babyhood and the years’.


Eddie does not want Catherine to accept the job, because he wants her to finish school and get a proper education. From his own experiences, he knows that ‘you’ll never get nowheres unless you finish school.’ Eddie wants her to have a better life than his, and in this way acts as a typical father. He admires her for continuing her education, and he uses complements such as ‘you look like one of them girls who went to college’, to let her know his admiration. Eddie shows his disappointment when she tells him about the job.





He does not like the idea of her working in a place where there would be men, who he knows from his own experiences, could take advantage of his pure and innocent Catherine. Eddie shows that this is how he thinks of her, when he calls her ‘a Madonna’. This idea of her being pure and innocent also explains his resentment towards other men who could be attracted to her as they are therefore violating, and de-purifying her. The way in which Miller uses the word ‘Madonna’ is symbolic as just like the Virgin Mary, who most Catholics (such as Eddie) worship, in his own way Eddie does almost idolise and worship Catherine.


When Eddie finally allows her to accept the job, Catherine’s reaction is very childlike in the way she does not control her emotions. She runs up to Eddie and hugs him. It is at this point, that the audience realises the intensity of Catherine’s love and respect for Eddie. This is not only because of her reply to Eddie when he jokes about her leaving him, but because of the way she ‘grasps’ onto his arms, as she shouts out ‘no please!’ The very idea of going away from Eddie hurts her.


In this first section of the play Miller shows what a loving and protective relationship Eddie and Catherine have. The audience also becomes subtly aware of the unconscious sexual feelings Eddie has for Catherine.


In the next section of the play, the arrival of the cousins, especially the youngest, Rudlopho, fascinates Catherine. Catherine again voices her opinion on his ‘practically blond’ hair and in doing so shows her naivety and innocence. Eddie notices this fascination and tries to pre-occupy Catherine with making coffee and other tasks.


Later in the conversation when Rudlopho begins to sing ‘paper doll’, Eddie realises that Catherine is ‘enthralled’ in him and decides he has to stop him. He does this by using the plausible excuse of them being ‘picked up’ by the immigration. When Rudlopho stops immediately, Eddie realises his authority over everyone and he rises ‘with iron control’. This new found authority causes him to tease Catherine about her heels, by calling her ‘Garbo’, in reference to the actress Greta Garbo. Catherine however has changed even in a matter of a few hours with Rudolpho and shows her anger but she still rather obediently changes her shoes.


In this section of the play, Catherine has found someone new and has almost replaced Eddie. In the same way as she used to fight for Eddie’s attention, she now fights for Rudolphos. The arrival of the cousins has also affected Eddie. He now feels in charge and is willing to embarrass his Catherine just so he can stop the attraction.


When Rudolpho and Catherine come back from the cinema, Rudolpho tries to make conversation with Eddie, but he is quite rude and insists that he has to talk to Catherine, alone. He tries to express his feelings and while doing so tries to be affectionate by calling her ‘Katie’. He tries to tell her his worries about her drifting away from him. When this does not he tries to explain to her that Rudolpho is only ‘goin’ with her’ for his American passport. This scene is the beginning of the end, for their relationship. As when Eddie says this Catherine loses control and tells him that she ‘wishes to hell’ that he stopped it. This line in the play is important as it shows how much Catherine is repulsed by Eddie. It also shows how many things have changed in such a small amount of time, Catherine is now ready to swear at Eddie to prove her point, something she would never have done at the start of the play.


In the next section, Eddie goes to Alfieri, a lawyer, because he wants to stop the relationship legally. In his speech Alfieri describes eddies eyes, as ‘tunnels’ this shows the audience how obsessed he already is with Catherine and Rudolphos relationship. In his speech Eddie shows just how much Catherine means to him. He wanted her to have a better life then him, and now he feels that she has been stolen from him. Alfieri tries to put into words that there ‘is too much love’ and that ‘it sometimes goes where it mustn’t’. Eddie does not understand what he is trying to say and because of this Alfieri has to actually say, ‘she can’t marry you can she Eddie?’ It is at this point that the audience is assured that all of Eddie’s sexual desires for Catherine are sub- conscious.


The last section in this act, is when everyone realises that there is a problem. While talking about Italy, Rudolpho mentions that it is ‘more strict in our town’. Eddie uses this as way of showing that he does not like the way he is out so late with Catherine. Her love for Rudolpho is shown when she challenges Eddie’s authority when she asks Rudolpho to dance. Eddie freezes and starts to make a speech about how he can sing, dance, cook, and make dresses. Through out the speech he constantly makes remarks questioning Rudolpho’s sexuality.


In this section, Catherine shows that she is not Eddie’s little girl any more and that she does not want be. When Eddie challenges Rudolpho to a fight, Catherine is fearful for Rudolpho’s safety, showing that if necessary she will take his side.


In this first section of act , Catherine admits to being scared of Eddie, as she knows her love for Rudolpho is making him angry and that this anger can only result in violence. She is confused, as she cannot understand how loving Rudolpho, which is so natural to her can be hurting Eddie so much. In her speech, Catherine sounds very much so like Eddie’s wife, ‘I can tell from a block a way if he’s blue in his mind… I can tell you if he is hungry or wants a beer.’ Over the years, the family has evolved and Eddie has pushed her into believing that she can be a better wife than Bea can. This is making it harder for Catherine as she does not want to ‘make a stranger out of him’, but she also wants to marry Rudolpho. At the end of this section, Eddie kisses both Catherine and Rudolpho; this shows the audience the intensity of his obsession.


This obsession soon leads him to contact the immigration bureau as a last attempt of breaking them up. In doing this he shows how he has been taken over, he is not only betraying the cousins and his own morals, but also Catherine who is the person he is trying to protect.


At this point in the play, Catherine still loves Eddie although he has changed so much, but she no longer acts like a child. She appears almost business like, she is in control, when Eddie tries to persuade her out of the wedding, her answer is simply, ‘no we’ve made it up already. However, when the immigration officers come to ‘pick up’ the cousins, she turns into an animal, trying to protect the man she loves.


It is only at this point in the play that Catherine truly hates Eddie, the one man who she has loved and respected her whole life, has betrayed her. She shows her raw emotion as she says, ‘to hell with Eddie!’ and calls him a rat that belongs in the rubbish. This part of act , is the complete opposite of the happy family at the beginning of the play. It is at this point that Bea finally puts Eddie’s true feelings in words. Catherine is horrified and Eddie is described as shocked, horrified, agonised, crying out. At the start of the play there was an intense relationship between Eddie and Catherine, and Bea was pushed out, but now be is the person who is trying to reunite the family.


In conclusion, throughout the play, Eddie feels very complex, sub-conscious, sexual desires for Catherine. He feels frustrated that another man is getting the attention that he wants so desperately. To make matters worse in his mind the person who is taking his place is not even a proper man. As Alfieri says in the prologue, ‘everyone settles for half’ this is Eddie’s problem, he will not settle for half. In the past, this determination has never been a problem; in fact, it has helped him look after Catherine the best he is able. However, now that Eddie’s desire is Catherine it becomes a problem. He cannot have her without breaking his morals, but he cannot live without her, without breaking his heart. In a way, Eddie’s only answer was to go about things the Italian way, to the death. After all what else could end a play about obsessive love, jealousy, and betrayal?


Up until and throughout act 1, Catherine has led quite a sheltered life, although she has grown up in quite a violent neighbourhood. This is why she does not realise what the consequences of her actions could mean. In her mind Eddie is just trying to ruin her life, she cannot see that Eddie is gradually becoming more obsessive about her. This is why in act two she starts to show her strength of character. She seems to grow up more. However, her hostility towards Eddie all ends at the end of the play in Eddie’s final moments, is all taken back in her last line, ‘Eddie, I never meant to do anything bad to you.’ I think this line shows that although their relationship did not change, it just developed. After all, at the beginning of the play, the atmosphere was almost unnatural, but towards the end, the relationship was mature.





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