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How Did the Arrival of Immigrants Affect the Carbone Household

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Submitted By Leinisteili
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How does the arrival of the immigrants affect the Carbone Household?

As the play progresses, the audience is introduced to Beatrice’s cousins – Marco and Rodolpho. It is soon realised by the audience/reader that the the arrival of the guests cause mixed feelings in every member of the Carbone family, which are displayed in the play by Miller’s language and stage directions. However it is important to understand Marco and Rodolpho’s characters to better acknowledge the changes they cause within their host’s household.

Marco and Rodolpho seem to have total opposite personalities and goals. Marco is focused on aiding his family and and getting a better life for them –this results in the audience sympathising with him as he displays faithfulness towards his wife and kids. This is further intensified by the stage directions offered by Miller, such as “His eyes are showing tears….He is near tears” these phrases prove that Marco’s intentions to aid his family is genuine which further contributes to the audience’s sympathetic feelings. On the other hand, Rodolpho is displayed as a character of outstanding an unique personality who has ambitions for his own self. The very first that we hear about Rodolpho is that he is blonde unlike his brother, “How come he’s so dark and you’re so light,Rodolpho?”. This phrase is used here by Miller to place a differentiating line to let the audience know the differences between these two’s personalities and ambitions. Unlike Marco, Rodolpho wishes to stay in America forever and become one. His ambition is to get rich and then return back to Italy – unlike the sympathy which is caused by Marco’s goals, audience is fascinated by the prompt and unique character of Rodolpho in a sense that he is the only person in the room who has got his own dreams and determination to work towards for and additionally does not stop himself from speaking his mind.

One of the most significant facts to discuss is how is Eddie affected by the cousins’ arrival. The audience can see from the very first moment that Eddie and Marco are friendly with each other. This can be proved by the stage directions such as “He shakes Marco’s hand…Take’s Marco’s bag” “He goes to Eddie offering his hand”. Developing sympathy towards Marco from Eddie can be explained by number of facts. Firstly Marco is a family man, he acknowledges the responsibilities which comes with having a family and works for them “you could send them something next week already” Eddie uses encouraging sentence to give Marco piece of mind because Eddie himself is the only man in his family and experiences same responsibilities as Marco does “ I’ve supported you this far” – which means that Eddie works for his family as Marco does. Another reason why Eddie has taken liking towards Marco is perhaps the fact that Marco’s married. As the audience saw from the previous scene, Eddie is over protective of Catherine and is disgusted even by a thought that any other man might look at her. This makes Marco a perfect companion as he too, is married and doesn’t present any danger to Eddies undisclosed fears. On the other hand Eddie’s antipathy towards Rodolpho is undeniable and impossible to miss. Firstly, Eddie addresses only Marco from the very beginning “You Marco?” “Takes Marco’s bag...he is coming more and more to address Marco only” this creates a tension between Eddie and Rodolpho’s Eddie is feeling threatened by Rodolpho’s fresh and unique characteristics, which seem to attract his precious niece Catherine. The audience sees the change of tone in Eddie’s speech as he discusses Rodolpho’s ambitions “What you do with a motorcycle” Eddie shows scepticism in relation with Rodolpho’s dream as well as “ Why cant you just walk” Eddie trying to reason with it and in a way discourage him, while previously Eddie was seen to encourage Marco with his intentions. It is noticed by the audience that Eddie consonantly tries to force Catherine out of the room “How is the coffee doing?...What happened to the coffee” it can be said that Eddie is trying to reason with his insecurities by sending Catherine off and preventing her from listening to Rodolpho. Eddie’s agitation towards Rodolpho is present after the later one starts to sing. While Eddie uses legitimate excuses to reason with him stopping Rodolpho from singing the stage directions give away his true intentions “he is flushed...Eddie has risen, with iron control,even a smile” this phrase suggests Eddie’s deep anger towards Rodolpho and his song as he is described to require iron control and while smiling the word “even” draws the attention as in his angered state he “even” attempts to smile again. As much as Eddie is threatened by Rodolpho and his actions, it could be a mere fact that these two are the polar opposites of each other that make Eddie dislike Rodolpho. This could be proved by the fact that Eddie is an ordinary man, with a mundane job and routine, tied down by conservativeness “you’ve been giving me willies with the way you walk down the street” these said Rodolpho in comparison, is adventurous, young boy who has unique dreams. The audience may consider the fact that the arrival of Beatrice’s cousins almost have made Eddie more aware of his jealousy towards Catherine and put the seeds of uneasiness.

As much as Rodolpho is disliked by Eddie, Catherine seems to develop the opposite feelings towards him. Catherine instantly takes interest in Rodolpho “He’s practically blonde!” the exclamation mark suggests Catherine’s astonished tone while saying this which underlines her interest in Rodolpho. Catherine’s keenness to know more about Rodolpho is apparent to the rest of the characters as well as the audience. This is suggested by Miler I ways such as : “You married too?No… I’m crazy for Paper Doll” The fact that Catherine directly asks Rodolpho if he’s married or not one again underlines her interest in his character. However, fascination and liking aren’t the only feelings Catherine expresses, with the arrival of the guests Catherine’s attitude towards Eddie is seen to be changed. While before she was “almost in tears because Eddie disapproved” her decisions, Catherine is said to be “Embarrassed and angry”. With this stage directions Mille once again suggests Catherine’s fascination towards Rodolpho as she is embarrassed that Eddie has shamed her into being a little girl who has to obey him in front of Rodolpho, as well as the fact that she expressed drastically changed emotion towards Eddie – anger. This can be argued together with a fact that for the first time in the play Catherine talked back and reasoned with Eddie “Leave him finish, it’s beautiful!” while in the beginning she “tried to joke him off”. These give the audience an idea that with the arrival of Marco and Rodolpho Catherine has gained some sort of right an independence in the house.

Beatrice at this time, seems to display the same caring and affectionate feelings towards her cousins as she was towards her husband and niece. “ Beatrice kisses Rodolpho” “Listen, you’re welcome Marco” however, new emotion displayed by Beatrice catches the eyes of the audience “she gives Eddie a cold look, restrained only by the strangers” This might suggest that the fact that Eddie stopped Rodolpho from singing rather forcefully, upset Beatrice’s feelings. However, Miller might be hinting to a fact that Beatrice is realising Eddie’s feelings towards Catherine might have a phallic subtext in it.

Lastly the audience witnesses the fact that the tensions has been added to the play following the arrival of the immigrants, which is largely a result to Eddie’s attitude towards the brothers and Catherine’s fascination by Rodolpho.

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