When we first met Eddie at the beginning of the play, he was a stern but kind husband to Beatrice and uncle to Catherine. He only cared about what was best for his family and tried to offer them the best advice that he could. However, events happened in his life that caused him to stop caring so much about Beatrice and started caring much more about Catherine. Eddies unavoidable feelings led him to think about what it was he actually did feel towards Catherine, and it is only at this point in the play that the other characters confront each other with what they think Eddie is feeling incestuous instincts towards his niece. However, the realisation of his lust is about to make Eddie reconsider his motives for trying to win the heart of his niece.
When we see Eddies conversation with Alfieri, we appreciate why losing Catherine to Rodolfo is so difficult for him. Throughout the dialogue in this scene, we are presented with opinions and feelings that Eddie has never spoken of to anyone else, which represents a very strong trust between the two men. One of these feelings is jealousy: ¦when I think of that guy layin his hands on her, I could I mean its eatin me out, Mr. Alfieri, because I struggled for that girl. Another feeling that Eddie shows is fear for his niece: ¦what about it if the only reason for it is to get his papers?
When an audience of the 1930s would have seen this, they would find it a crime. In America in the time of the Economic Depression, many people were illegally migrating from all over the world to America to seek a better life. If they were caught in America illegally, then they would be immediately deported back to their home country. However, the chance of being deported would have been less if the migrant had married an official citizen of the United States. In this case, if Rodolfo married Catherine then there would be less chance of Rodolfo being sent back to Italy. If someone in the audience then had felt that this was the only reason for Rodolfos love, then they would have been outraged with his actions and felt that he should get what he deserves and be deported.
Eddies opinion about Rodolfo is made perfectly clear in this scene. He says to Alfieri what it is he thinks of him and his actions. The most prominent opinion is that he aint right, implying that Rodolfo is a homosexual and that the only reason he is marrying Catherine is in fact to get his American citizenship papers. This opinion has not just been made clear in this seen though. Throughout the play we see Eddie making comments to other characters about Rodolfos sexual orientation, such as when he is complaining about how late Catherine and Rodolfos date has taken, he says to Beatrice that he just hope[s] thats his regular hair, thats all.
In the 1930s, it was not very common for males to get their hair coloured, so if a man did then it was considered that there was something nor right about them. Another opinion is that even if hes a punk he should still let Catherine go and wish her luck. If Eddie were to do this, then he would not forgive himself and regret it for the rest of his life. This is why Eddie never gives up in his fight to keep Catherine for himself.
The opening of Act Two highlights the extent to which Catherine and Eddies relationship has deteriorated and how painful this is for Catherine. We are first presented with this when Catherine gives into Rodolfos emotional prompts and she tells him why she wants to move to Italy. She says to Rodolfo, Im afraid of Eddie here. This is the first time throughout the entire play that Catherine has admitted to being scared of Eddie, because she knows how angry she is at Rodolfo for loving her, and also how jealous he is that he cant have her as his own. Even though she knows deep down why she is afraid of him, she doesnt tell Rodolfo why.
She says, I dont know! and tries to get Rodolfo to leave the subject alone, however he refuses. We see how painful it is for Catherine that her relationship with Eddie has broken down when she speaks of their history, Ive been here all my life¦ Every day I saw him when he left in the morning and when he came home at night. You think its easy to turn around and say to a man hes nothing to you no more? and eventually breaks down into a fit of tears.
Eddie has been there for Catherine ever since her mother died when she was a little girl. Eddie has been like a father to her, providing for her every need and trying his best to show her what is right and what is wrong. It is especially hard for Catherine because she knows that it is Eddie who has broken down their once outstanding relationship because of his pure jealousy and incestuous lust. If she could have her own way, then they would still be friends like they once were, but it is now too late because Eddie has been blinded by jealousy, anger and perverted sexual urges. It is more painful for Catherine than anyone else because she knows that its not her fault that their relationship has broken down, and also that she could have done something to stop this from happening.
Up to this position in the play, there has not been a point where Eddie has given into his violent urges and acted upon impulse towards Rodolfo and Catherine. However, the climax of increasing tension between the characters is shown when Eddie is possessed by his own rage and jealousy and his kisses both Catherine and Rodolfo. This shows us Eddie desperately trying to do two things the first of these (the kiss towards Catherine) is trying to see if she would respond positively towards him, possibly by kissing him back or not resisting, just to see if she still loved him, or even if she felt the same way towards him.
However, when she forces him away from her, he directs his sexual attention to Rodolfo. The second thing that Eddie tries to do is show that Rodolfo is actually homosexual, and he thinks that by kissing him it will make him admit it. If he didnt admit it, then he would still kiss him back, which would also prove his sexual orientation. When Rodolfo does not return Eddies passion to him, he demands that he leave the country. Because Eddie cannot prove that Rodolfo doesnt feel loving feelings towards Catherine, he demands that he leaves the country alone (Get outa here. Alone. You hear me? Alone) as a final attempt to break him and Catherine apart.