From the first few lines you can tell that the play is going to be a tragedy. Alfierie is a lawyer and only bad things happen in connection with a lawyer. Were only thought of in connection with disasters. Alfierie is an intermediary. He is able to narrate the story to the audience but also be part of the play. This is much like the chorus in Greek tragedies. Alfieries first prologue is set after the play has actually finished in chronological order. The whole play is a memory of his. The play is about Eddie Carbones eventual death and events leading to it.
Eddie is a longshoreman. He, his wife (Beatrice, b for short) and his niece Catherine live in a slum part of New York near Brooklyn Bridge. Eddie is a typical Italian man, he believe that he should be all powerful and that the women should stay at home while he goes out and gets the money. Eddie is very possessive over Catherine, he is almost incestuously possessive of her. He doesnt want her to get a job. He wants to be the only one brining in money and Catherine is capable of brining in more or about the same amount each week as Eddie.
This will mean that she would become more independent and there for she would have to grow up and that would mean that Eddie wouldnt have so much control over her. This is what brings eddies downfall, not letting Catherine grow up. When Rodolpho and Marco arrive Eddie seems to get on quite well with Marco because he thinks that he is much like him but he does not seem to like Rodolopho because he sees that he likes Catherine and subconsciously is scared that she likes him too.
This turns out to be true. So Eddie then shuns Rodolpho. But Marco sees this and then with the chair incident threatens him but no with any words. Marco is able to put Eddie I his place for a bit. Lifting a chair up by one leg with one hand on the bottom is quite hard and takes some strength. Marco proves to Eddie that he is stronger than he is. He has almost become an enemy of eddies by now. After Eddie and Rodolphos fight when he and Marco our kicked out, that is when Marco and Eddie become enemies.