A View from the Bridge


Major characters




In contrast to Marco, Rodolpho seems to be young, over-excited and childish. Although he is certainly more effeminate than most men there is no real substance to Eddie’s accusation that he is a homosexual. The fact that he sings, can make dresses and is laughed at by the other men at the docks may only indicate that he does not fit in with their stereotypical idea of what a man should be: it does not mean that he is gay. Indeed we know that he sleeps with Catherine; he genuinely seems to want to marry her and he is outraged after Eddie kisses him during their fight.


Rodolpho is lively, fun and energetic, he sings and dances at the slightest request and Catherine is immediately attracted to him. This may well be because, as Beatrice implies later, he is merely the first boy that Eddie has ever really let her go near but it also seems that he represents something more exotic, adventurous and exciting than the simple, constrained life Catherine has been living for the first seventeen years of her life in Red Hook. Ironically, despite the fact that it is Rodolpho who has escaped to America from the poverty of Sicily, he seems to act as a form of escape for Catherine from the limited horizons of the Carbone household.


Despite his occasional childishness, Rodolpho also demonstrates considerable sensitivity. He is gentle with Catherine; respectful with Eddie, trying hard to win his approval; he understands that Eddie is trapping Catherine like a little bird in his hand and that this is not right; he tries to convince Marco to abandon his vendetta against Eddie and, even in the final scene, he tries to diffuse the tension between the other two men by trying to reconcile his differences with Eddie and pleading with them both not to kill the other. Rodolpho’s endearing characteristics and occasionally naïve gentility throw Eddie’s jealous bitterness into an even uglier light.



Page No




Rodolpho’s first words are ‘This will be the first house I ever walked into in America! Imagine!’




He tells the Carbones tales from Italy ‘you make a few lire to push the taxi.’ Because ‘the horses are skinner than the goats … in our town the horses are just fo show.’




He is fascinated by how much money can be earned in America ‘How much? We hear all kinds of figures. How much can a man make? We work hard. We work all day and all night.’




‘I have no money to get married. I have a nice face but no money.’




Rodolpho is certain that he wants to stay ‘forever’ and says ‘Me, I want to be an American!’




He dreams about the motorcycle he will buy when he is back in Italy to deliver messages – for him it is all about delivering messages ‘quickly and with great noise.’ ‘The machine is necessary.’




He recounts the time that he sang at the hotel ‘Thouand lire notes they threw from the table … we lived for six months on that night.’ (Although Marco corrects this to two months)




Says that Catherine could be an actress because she is ‘beautiful.’




According to Eddie, Rodolpho ‘sings. Right on the deck, all of a sudden, a whole song comes out of his mouth with motions ... He’s like a weird.’ ‘Witch that wacky hair, he’s like a chorus girl or summin’.’ In contrast, ‘Marco goes around like a man. Nobody kids Marco.




Mike says ‘That blond one though. He’s got a sense of humour. [Louis snickers]’




When trying to persuade Catherine that Rodolpho is just after a passport, Eddie says ‘He’s a hit and run guy.’ ‘He’s only bowin’ to his passport.’ and ‘He’s got bright lights in his head.’


With his first pay ‘a snappy new jacket, he buys, records, a pointy pair new shoes and his brother’s kids are starvin’.’




Eddie’s various circumlocutions for homosexual are ‘platinum blond’, ‘if you close the paper fast you could blow him over.’ ‘high pitched’ ‘Paper Doll, they call him.’




When Catherine is trying to find out whether Rodolpho really loves her, he says ‘All the answers are in my eyes.’




Rodolpho responds ‘You’re fooling me.’ when Catherine suggests living in Italy.




‘My brother is desperate, not me. You think I would carry on my back the rest of my life a woman I didn’t love just to be an American?




Rodolpho describes Eddie and Catherine’s relationship in the following way ‘If I take in my hands a little bird. And she grows and wishes to fly. But I will not let her out of my hands because I love her so much, is that right for me to do?




Rodolpho calls Catherine ‘Oh, my little girl’ just before they sleep together and Catherine asks him to ‘Teach me.’




In the argument with Eddie he is reduced to ‘[tears of rage]’




He pleads with Marco ‘Marco – promise the man [Alfieri]. Please, I want you to watch the wedding. How can I be married and you’re in here?’ Please, you’re not going to do anything. You know you’re not.’




Trying to make amends with Eddie and prevent a fight with Marco, Rodolpho says ‘I wish to apologise. It was wrong that I do not ask your permission. I kiss your hand.’ but Eddie ‘snaps’ his hand away


‘I think, maybe when Marco comes, if we can tell him we are comrades now, and we have no argument between us. Then maybe Marco will not –‘




As Eddie goes up the stairs to the street to fight Marco ‘[Rodolpho streaks up and out past him and runs to Marco] No, Marco, please! Eddie, please, he has children. You will kill a family!’