Plot and Subplot

The main plot of ‘A View from the Bridge’ is that of incest. From the beginning there are clear undertones of Eddie’s intentions towards Katherine from the point they are onstage together. Eddie tells her how he wishes she didn’t walk in such a ‘wavy’ manner as to attract the men but it is also clear he has a less than parental outlook upon the situation. This also continues with how he doesn’t want Katherine to get a job or leave the house because he wants her to be with him all the time.

Later on in the play Beatrice discusses Eddie’s intentions towards Katherine with her and tries to make it clear how she shouldn’t behave around him as she feels it gives the wrong message. This again is brought up by Beatrice in Act 2 when she is arguing with Eddie about how he should go to her wedding, B. tells Eddie ‘You can’t have her’ referring to Katherine and his feelings for her. This also implies that B. is well aware of why Eddie isn’t so close to her since Katherine has gotten a boyfriend. Eddie and Beatrice’s lack of a sexual relationship could also be put down to how Katherine has grown as a woman and how Eddie has become more and more physically attracted to her. As the play goes on you see more how Eddie has gradually become jealous of Rodolpho and Katherine’s relationship, Rodolpho is used as a catalyst which makes Eddie react on his feelings for Katherine.

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Eddie begins trying to split the pair up which again leads onto another part of the plot with which he tries to humiliate Rodolpho in as many ways he can think of, Eddie first begins by pretending to teach Rodolpho how to box, at first it seems Eddie genuinely wants to become friends with him but this turns out to be an attempt at putting Rodolpho in his place. This links to the idea Eddie has that Rodolpho ‘ain’t right’ because he is slightly effeminate and less masculine than Eddie would expect a man to be.

Eddie is trying to show he isn’t a real man by humiliating him in a masculine way because boxing is a male sport that Rodolpho would not be very good at because Eddie assumes he isn’t masculine. Eddie also says before he humiliates Rodolpho ‘the kid ain’t bad’ suggesting that Rodolpho is better than he though he would be leading him onto his next course of action. After the events Eddie fakes with his left and actually hits with his right leaving everyone stunned at his action. Rodolpho then asks Katherine to dance as if almost aware why Eddie hit him trying to humiliate him in front of her, this symbolises how Rodolpho is taking Katherine away from him almost as if protecting her from him.

Eddie’s thoughts of Rodolpho stem from their first meeting, at the beginning of the play the main plot would seem to be the arrival and concealing of the two immigrants. The two brothers Marco and Rodolpho were from Italy and were cousins of Beatrice, the beginning of the play opens up by telling the audience they are expecting them. When the two get to the house Eddie instantly warms to Marco as he is the more masculine of the two, not just because of his personality and character but also his more apparent physical masculinity apposed to Rodolpho. Marco from his first entrance is described as a dark haired man who is also later described as a large man who is capable of lifting heavy weights by the two dock workers who are friends of Eddie.

Rodolpho on the other hand makes a bad impression on Eddie because he looks less masculine and also behaves less masculine, Rodolpho begins singing and Eddie frowns upon this behaviour shouting at him to stop singing saying he doesn’t want anyone to realise the immigrants were there. This is the first hint that Eddie does not like Rodolpho but is just a slight dislike. As Rodolpho and Katherine become closer and closer Eddie finds more reasons to dislike Rodolpho, the main being that he is taking Katherine away from him but also how he behaves at home and work. On one occasion when Eddie is waiting for Rodolpho and Katherine to come home he sees his friends Louis and Mike who begin talking to him about Rodolpho.

Mike and Louis begin saying how funny Rodolpho is but never go into detail about how he is funny; Eddie thinks they are laughing at Rodolpho because he isn’t as masculine as the other workers rather than finding him genuinely funny. Eddie feels awkward about the whole situation feeling he should defend Rodolpho because it made his family look weak, by saying ‘he’s just a kid’ this gives the impression Eddie feels Rodolpho may grow into a more masculine man over the years, rather than the laughing stock Eddie thinks he is.

At this point Alfieri is used as a device to show that time has passed and Rodolpho and Katherine’s relationship has been going on for a while. Later on in Act two Eddie, being drunk, walks in on Rodolpho and Katherine after making love and is outraged at what they have done he tells Rodolpho to leave and Katherine threatens to leave with him. Eddie grabs Katherine and proceeds to kiss her, this is the first time Eddie acts on his feelings and Katherine is outraged at what Eddie is doing.

This not only symbolises how Katherine is his but it’s also used as a device to insult Rodolpho saying he isn’t good enough for her. Eddie then proceeds to attack Rodolpho pinning him down and kissing him also, at this point Eddie becomes very dislike by the audience and is also trying to show Katherine that Rodolpho ‘ain’t right’ by portraying him as weak. The audience would also be outraged at the two kisses as incest is morally wrong and would be shocked at Eddie’s behaviour, the idea of two men kissing would also be considered disgusting at the time the play was written and performed making people dislike Eddie even more for inciting such behaviour.

Throughout the play you see Eddie’s morals dissolve, he begins with the idea of upholding loyalty and looking after his family in any way he can but in the end betrays his relatives causing conflict in the family. When Rodolpho and Katherine’s relationship becomes too much for Eddy he goes to visit Alfieri to ask him for advice on what to do about the relationship believing there is still something wrong with Rodolpho and his relationship with Katherine is also not right. Alfieri tells Eddy that he has no legal rights the only law they are breaking is hiding illegal immigrants, this is the initial seed that Alfieri plants and it makes Eddie think all he can do is get rid of Rodolpho by turning him in.

Later on when the Immigration services arrive Eddie regrets what he has done but Marco then realises it was Eddie that gave them away shouting “He killed my children!” leading Eddie to defend himself making Marco out to be a liar. By the end of the play Marco has been let out of jail and goes to see Eddie, the two get into a fight in which Eddie draws a knife. Eddie chose not to run or give himself up but instead fought because of what he believed in trying to defend ‘his name’. Eddie is killed by his own hand when Marco manages to protect himself from Eddie’s blade. At this point the play ends on the significant point that Eddie was a victim of circumstance and he was the one who caused his own problems.