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English Literature

Character

Catherine

  • She is 17 years old, the orphaned daughter of Beatrice's sister Nancy.
  • She is attractive, energetic and cheerful. Yet she is also naive - she has never known anything of life outside the Carbone household.
  • She loves Eddie like a father.
  • She wants his approval for everything that she does: right at the start, she is desperate for him to admire her new skirt.
  • Later we hear that perhaps she is too familiar with Eddie now she has grown up: Beatrice tells her not to wander round the apartment in her slip, which shocks and saddens Catherine - the stage directions say, "She is at the edge of tears, as though a familiar world had shattered." She had never before imagined there was anything wrong with her relationship with Eddie.
  • She is excited at Marco and Rodolpho's arrival - they represent the world outside her own sheltered life. She is attracted to Rodolpho straight away - so she is reluctant to take off her high heels when Eddie tells her to!
  • She is initially torn because her love of Rodolpho is at odds with her love for Eddie.
  • She tries to encourage Eddie to talk to Rodolpho: "Why don't you talk to him, Eddie? He blesses you, and you don't talk to him hardly."
  • She is loyal to Eddie and tells Beatrice that her marriage to Rodolpho would be wrong if Eddie is against it.
  • However, she is prepared to take sides: when Eddie spars with Rodolpho at the end of Act 1, she rushes to help her lover. (This prepares us for her choosing to marry Rodolpho in spite of Eddie's wishes in Act 2.)
  • By the start of Act II, she has become quieter and more withdrawn, concerned about the rift between the two men she loves. She mourns to Rodolpho, "I mean I know him and now I'm supposed to turn around and make a stranger out of him?"
  • However, she is strong enough to leave Eddie to get married, and is furious with him both for betraying the brothers and for forbidding Beatrice to attend her wedding ceremony, calling him "This rat!"
  • During the play, she turns from a child into a woman, capable of making her own decisions. Despite her new independence and maturity, she blames herself on Eddie's death: "Eddie, I never meant to do nothing bad to you." Do you think she is partly responsible for the tragedy [tragedy: A type of drama in which characters undergo suffering or calamity and which usually ends with a death. A sad or catastrophic event causing suffering or death. ]?

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