Examine the ideas of Manliness, Hostility and Aggression in “A View From The Bridge”. How are these ideas connected? Manliness, hostility and aggression are three of the main themes in “A View From The Bridge”. They pay a very important part as different characters demonstrate and portray these themes in different ways. To some characters, manliness is a very important aspect of life. Especially because of the fact that the family we are looking at is Italian, the traditional image of a real man is one who is strong, brave, tough, the protector and breadwinner of the family.
In Italian society, the men are considered to be more powerful and dominant than the women. In the play, Eddie and Marco are the two characters, which demonstrate this very well and also show their higher importance and power in the way they talk and also their stage directions. Another theme, which is also portrayed through stage directions, is hostility. Being hostile is to show distance, conflict and to act in a very blunt, cold and unfriendly way. Throughout the play, Eddie and Marco seem to exemplify hostility, mainly through their language and actions, which creates a tense atmosphere.
Aggression is quite the opposite of hostility as instead of just having a blunt or cold feeling, or creating a tense atmosphere, you are instead, acting upon the feeling suggesting violence, abuse, anger, being forceful and using physical expression. At many times in the play, aggression has been used to prove a point. Eddie is the first character to demonstrate aggression in the play. Marco, however, is more aggressive towards the end of the play and Rodolpho seems to show no aggression at all. Eddie Carbone is the protagonist and therefore, has a big importance in all the events which progress during the course of the play.
He is a character who thinks that manliness consists of knowing ones boundaries and protecting ones territory. This is territory in which other men are regarded as hostile intruders if they attempt to enter. Eddie portrays a dominant male who is dedicated to work and to his family. He is shown as the breadwinner and at that time and place, if you could provide for your family, you were considered more of a man. However, because he is the breadwinner, he thinks he should have authority, which leads him to control and dominate.
Eddie is a simple man who feels uncomfortable when boundaries of his manliness are threatened. When Eddie says to Beatrice, “I want my name! ” (Act2 pg62), he is referring to his status, respect and how other people see him. Here he feels that he has lost his status and name to Marco. This shows he audience how important his status in the community is to him. He feels as if his manly pride is damaged. This is also shown whenever he is confused as he refuses to accept anything other than his own complicated measure of masculinity. As Catherine’s uncle, Eddie is given the role of a father.
This relationship with her consists of possessiveness and domination, which he abuses and uses wrongly. At the beginning of Act 1, he criticises Catherine’s clothes as he refers to her skirt being “too short”. This quote implies the old fashioned views of elders and how they see things to be. It also exemplifies Eddie’s overpowering and possessive nature. He tells Catherine that she is “walkin’ wavy” and that she is getting a lot of attention from the boys, which he disapproves of. Eddie’s possessiveness is caused by his own feelings, which causes hostility towards those who may be a threat to her.
In this case, it is the boys who he considers as a threat to her. He makes this point when he says to Catherine, “I don’t like the looks they’re giving you in the candy store”. Ever since Catherine was a little girl, Eddie had been the only man in her life. Now that she is older and she shows off her clothes, other men will start to become involved with her and Eddie feels that she will no longer be his little girl and that she will belong to the world. Eddie finds it hard to accept this as he has difficulties letting her free.