Examine the effects of the Sicilian Code of Honour which dominates the philosophy of the Italian-American community in the play ‘A View from the Bridge’ is a play set within the New York in the Red Hook area just after the years of the Great Depression in 1941. America was desperately in need of laborers and other countries were desperately in need of work. This lead to many immigrants transporting themselves to America. This brings us to the play which centers on two characters that enter the country illegally in search of money.
They have entered into a community that not only bought their willingness for work into the country but a community dominated by the unwritten law of the Sicilian moral code. Eddie and Marco are both deeply committed to the code of their society and it is their deep belief in this which leads to the tragic outcome of the play. It is because of Eddies and Marcos interpretation of the Sicilian Moral Code that the characters end up fighting Eddie being the patriarch of the family, is used to getting things his own way. Yet throughout the play he sees himself being challenged by the other characters.
Two main conflicts arise during this play. The first is when Catherine proposes that she get a job instead of furthering her education “No-no you gonna finish school. What kinda job, what do you mean” When Eddie repeats the word ‘no’ you can see that he is worried. Eddie feels worried that Catherine is going to detract from the role of him being the sole breadwinner of the family. “Look did I ask you for money? I supported you this long I can support you a little more. ” Catherine in this part of the play is breaking the Sicilian Moral Code for women.
Women are expected to stay at home in this type of community but as Catherine plans to go to work and not stay at home she is going against the unwritten law. When Rodolfo enters the household and starts to go out with Catherine he begins to dislike Rodolfo. Eddie’s dislike for Rodolfo is constantly heightened throughout the play by the many things Rodolfo does. Rodolfo is described as a homosexual figure by others in the community. Eddie starts commenting on Rodolfo’s bad side when he and Catherine start seeing each other. “He ain’t right. ”
Says Eddie to Alfieri when discussing Rodolfo Eddie acts in a friendly manner when he first meets Rodolfo, but as the play progresses, when for instance Rodolfo comments on Catherine’s beauty, he begins to show hostility towards Rodolfo; “(laughs indicating Catherine) especially when they are so beautiful. ” As Eddie picks up on these comments he tries to find any fault in Rodolfo “He’s like a weird. ” What perhaps further increases Eddie’s dislike for Rodolfo is when Rodolfo breaks the Sicilian Moral Code by not asking Eddie if he could take Catherine out on a date.
Not only is Rodolfo breaking the Sicilian moral code, but this perhaps makes Eddie’s jealousy flare his unnatural love for Catherine. There is a suspicion within the play by characters such as Alfieri that perhaps Eddie loves Catherine more then just as a daughter. “She wants to get married, Eddie. She can’t marry you, can she? ” Alfieri is hinting here that Eddie secretly has strong feelings for Catherine. This of course is against the Sicilian Moral Code. This unnatural love not being allowed effects the play so we can see that the Sicilian Moral Code does inevitably govern the philosophy of the play.