A View from the Bridge


Major characters




Catherine is Beatrice’s niece but, following the death of her mother, she has become essentially an adopted daughter to Beatrice and Eddie. She has a pivotal role in the play. Events are focused around her and happen because of her. She is attractive, warm, innocent and eager to learn things. She is desperate to maintain Eddie’s favour yet unable to please him. Like Eddie, she does not understand the intensity of the unspoken relationship existing between them. She ‘walks wavy’ and wears high heels indicating her burgeoning sexuality which is markedly juxtaposed with the childish innocence with which still clutches at Eddie. According to Beatrice, Catherine’s naïve flirtatiousness is partly to blame for Eddie’s destruction.


She is fascinated by Rodolpho because he represents another life and another attitude. Catherine has lived a very sheltered life and knows very little of the outside world – she is amazed that a captain of a ship can be bribed, is fascinated by the thought that oranges and lemons can be found on the trees in Italy and asks Rodolpho to ‘Teach [her]’ just before they sleep together. Eddie sees Rodolpho as using Catherine to escape from his life of poverty in Sicily but, ironically, it is Rodolpho who comes to represent escape for Catherine. Catherine often runs away from situations and will not face the truth. It requires Beatrice, for example, to make it clear to Catherine that she has to grow up and that she can no longer walk around the house in her slip in front of Eddie.


Catherine is astounded and wounded at Eddie’s betrayal of Marco and Rodolpho which rudely awakens her, dragging her out of the comfortable confines of her world Red Hook. By the end of the play, Eddie’s terrible jealousy and Rodolpho’s stories and sexual influence have worked together to enable her to see the world in a different light; to ask questions that had not occurred to her before and to make judgments that she could not previously have voiced. As such, although Miller may in some ways be criticized for portraying ‘flat’ and undeveloped female characters in this play, it is clear that Catherine does go through some form of character development. Nonetheless, however, her internal struggle as a character is far less obvious to us than Eddies and, indeed, she still serves more as an (albeit oblivious) instrument of his destruction than a character in her own right.



Page No




Catherine is ‘almost in tears because he disapproves’ of her skirt and her exciting news easily gets side-lined until p.17 when she says ‘We didn’t tell him about me yet.’




Catherine is shocked that ‘Even the Captain?’ has been bribed and is involved in smuggling immigrants into America.




When Rodolpho arrived Catherine says ‘[wondrously] How come he’s so dark and you’re so light, Rodolpho?’




Catherine asks Rodolpho ‘You married too?’ even though Beatrice must have told her he was not




She pleads on Rodolpho’s behalf ‘Why don’t you talk to him Eddie? He blesses you and you don’t talk to him hardly.’




Confused by Eddie’s treatment of her she asks ‘You mad at me?’




When Eddie asks her about her feelings for Rodolpho she ‘[with a blush but holding her ground.] Yeah, I like him.’ but later ‘[she looks at him for the consequences, smiling but tense.]’




She believes that the relationship between her and Rodolpho ‘just seems wrong if he’s [Eddie] against it so much.’




Beatrice confronts Catherine with her behaviour: ‘You think you’re a baby’ ‘You still walk around in front of him in your slip.’ ‘When he comes home, you throw yourself at him like when you was twelve years old.’




Beatrice has a different perspective. She believes that ‘it ain’t only up to him, Katie, you understand.’ Although is this just because she loves Eddie and wants to absolve him partly of the blame for his confused relationship with Catherine




Catherine is ‘[astonished] when Beatrice says Eddie believes she is jealous of Catherine. According to Catherine ‘It’s ‘the first I thought of it.’ but as, Beatrice says, ‘you should have thought of it before.’




After learning that she has to change her behaviour to Eddie [She is at the edge of tears, as if a familiar world had shattered.’




In comparison to Rodolpho and Marco’s visit to Africa, Catherine complains that ‘I was never even in Staten Island.’




Catherine ‘[flushed with revolt] puts on ‘Paper Doll’ and says] You wanna dance, Rodolpho?’




Rodolpho accuses Catherine that she is ‘full of secrets.’




When discussing whether they could go back to Italy Catherine admits ‘[quiety] I’m afraid of Eddie here.’




Of Eddie, Catherine says ‘I want him to be happy; I mean – I like him Rodolpho’ ‘You think it’s so easy to turn around and say to a man he’s nothin’ to you no more.’ ‘I can tell a block away when he’s blue in his mind and just wants to talk to somebody quiet and nice.’


‘I can tell … before he even says anything. I know when his feet hurt him, I mean I know him and now I’m supposed to turn around and make a stranger out of him?




Just before they sleep together Catherine says ‘Teach me. I don’t know anything, teach me, Rodolpho, hold me.




When Eddie catches Rodolpho and Catherine after sleeping together she decides to leave with Rodolpho saying ‘I can’t stay here no more. You know I can’t.’




When Beatrice says she can’t go to the wedding because Eddie won’t let her, Catherine says ‘To hell with Eddie … I want you at the wedding.’




To Eddie, after his betrayal, she says ‘You got no more right to tell nobody nothin.’




Catherine exclaims ‘[In horror] B!’ when Beatrice tells Eddie that he can’t ‘have’ Catherine, finally bringing his feelings out into the open.