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English Literature

Dramatic effect

The Character of Eddie

Eddie is the main character in the play.

The drama revolves around Eddie. He is the focal point. Everything rests on Eddie's reaction to events. At first this is comparatively minor: will he or won't he allow Catherine to take the job at the plumbing company? Yet soon it becomes crucial: will he or won't he understand that he cannot keep Catherine to himself - that he must allow her to live her own life?

Eddie is the centre round which all the conflict in the play revolves.

  • Verbal conflict with all the other characters at some point or another. He often deliberately starts arguments - for instance, he questions the virtue of the wives of Italian immigrants: "I betcha there's plenty of surprises sometimes when those guys get back there, heh? Even his jokes are barbed and bitter.
  • Conflict within himself as he grapples with his love of Catherine.
  • Physical conflict with Rodolpho and, ultimately, Marco.

This creates a lot of tension, with each scene of conflict becoming more intense than the one that preceded it. The tense atmosphere during the boxing at the end of Act 1 leads on to the shock near the start of Act 2 when an enraged Eddie kisses both Catherine and Rodolpho and starts a fight - which in turn prepares us for the final scene.

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