Audience agree Essay
Catherine says Eddie is “a rat” who belongs in the sewer. To what extent by the end of the play, does the audience agree with her? To begin with, the point at which Catherine says this, it is a very emotive moment; it’s at the climax of the play. It is the first time Catherine has confronted Eddie by telling him exactly how she feels. She is fed up of being controlled by him and is therefore unhappy with the way he treats Beatrice also.
It annoys her that Beatrice is not defending herself and when Eddie does not allow her to go to Catherine’s wedding, she does not even answer back. This results in Catherine unusually insulting Eddie in an enormous way, “He’s a rat! …he bites people when they sleep!… and poisons decent people, in the garbage he belongs!” Here Catherine is releasing all her anger and intense emotion which has been built up over the years, now she finally has found the courage and independence to let Eddie know he cannot make her decisions for her anymore, as if it is a threat.
However while she says this, she is “weeping”, so it is unlikely she meant it. It is unusual for Catherine to disrespect Alfieri, as in the past she has a close relationship with him. She says to Eddie, as soon as he gets home, “I’ll get you a beer” and “I’ll light it(cigar) for you”, she likes to ‘fuss’ over him, this shows that she cares a lot for him, so she is a kind and caring person. This particular incident, when calling Eddie a “rat”, some would say is out of character. When she says, “Eddie go away please”, perhaps at this point she is regretting what she said before.
The audience however may agree with Catherine, that Eddie is “a rat”, because of the way Eddie’s character has been portrayed. From the beginning of the play Eddie is the overprotective guardian who seems to be possessive over Catherine. “I promise your mother…. I’m responsible for you”, Eddie fells he is responsible for Catherine and misinterprets the role of a guardian.
In Catherine’s eyes, he is “controlling her life, by not giving her freedom as she is growing up. Many people may argue that he has no right over her, as technically he is not her real father. He is unable to accept that she is growing up, some how he needs to realise that she is now seventeen and he can not continue to treat her like child.
He does not let her make her own decisions, an example of this in the play is when he does not let her take the stenographer job, even though he knows how much this means to her, he is at first stubborn and does not let her take it. He says this is not what he has “in mind” for her, and he continuously says, “I want”, not once is he thinking about what she wants only the fact that it is not what he wants for her. Again he is trying to control her which is unnecessary, it seems like he is being selfish and the part of the reason why he does not want Catherine to take the job is because he would loose control of her, which is why he wants her to stay at school; where he can keep an eye on her!
Beatrice at this point influences the audience’s view of Eddie when she says “she’s seventeen…. you gonna keep her in the house all her life?” this shows that she knows that Eddie is being unreasonable, and perhaps shows the audience an idea of what life was like for women in those days, women were not expected to work and many were not able to make their own decisions, only the ‘man of house’ had the rights.
Therefore Beatrice encourages the idea of Catherine taking this job because it is not likely for her to be offered any thing like this again. This certainly encourages the audience to sympathise with Catherine, and see this as a negative aspect of Eddie’s character. Eddie perhaps changes his mind, only because he feels embarrassed and that Beatrice has insulted by saying this. He does not want her to think he is not being a good guardian to Catherine.
Another example of Eddie’s bad character is when Catherine finds herself attracted to Rodolpho, this is clear to Eddie because of the way Catherine is giving more attention to him rather than Eddie. When Eddie stops Rodolpho singing “kid you don’t want to be picked up, do ya?”, it is clear that Eddie is getting frustrated and is just using the fact that Rodolpho’s singing could be suspicious to others, as an excuse.
We know this because he keeps on trying to explain himself to Marco as though he is trying to convince himself as well as Rodolpho and Marco that he has a valid point, and that Eddie does not like the idea of Catherine and Rodolpho ‘getting close’. The reality is that Eddie is jealous of the attention Catherine gives Rodolpho, whereas normally it is Eddie who receives all the attention. This strange behaviour encourages us (audience), to assume that he has started to develop unusual feelings for Catherine, Eddie’s disapproval of Catherine and Rodolpho, many would say, is unnecessary and unfounded.
Other evidence to support the assumption that Eddie has unacceptable emotions towards Catherine, is that because of these feelings, his relationship with Beatrice is also suffering, Beatrice says to Eddie, “when am I gonna be a wife again?” Eddie says, “I don’t feel good…I’m worried about her”.
This shows that his feelings for Catherine are strong enough to confuse himself about his relationship with wife! If he were genuinely concerned for Catherine, it would not have interfered with his relationship with his wife. Their relationship problems pre-date the cousins’ arrival, so there is ‘something’ else which results in his lack of interest in Beatrice. ‘This is the aspect of Eddie’s character, which influences the audience the most, to describe him as a “rat”!
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 12 October 2017
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