Examine the end of Act 1 from He’s lucky, believe me… ” what is learnt about the characters and their relationship throughout this scene? This scene marks the end of the first act; it represents the climax of Act One. There is tension in the Carbone household and this scene tells the audience and the other characters on stage how everyone is feeling and their feelings towards the other characters. All from an Italian heritage, where men are portrayed as macismo and women where there to cook and look pretty.
Set in the late 1940’s it is a play about Eddie Carbone, and Italian American longshoreman. Who takes in the illegal immigrants from Sicily, Marco and Rodolpho, his wife, Beatrice’s, relatives but trouble begins when Catherine begins to fall for Rodolpho and Eddie becomes jealous. The scene begins with Eddie sitting, taking about Rodolpho. Rodolpho is in the room, dancing with Catherine, Eddie’s niece, but Eddie finds it difficult to confront him, as he doesn’t what to confront the situation as it is.
It finds it easier, simply to talk about Rodolpho rather than to him. “That’s why the water front is no place for him” In this quote Eddie is referring to Rodolpho’s sexuality, when this play was set, being a homosexual was seen as a weakness and you were seen as being abnormal. In Eddies point of view Rodolpho seems gay, he has blond hair, is creative and likes to sing, he “ain’t right”. Even when Rodolpho and Catherine stop dancing, Eddie carries on talking about him, as though he wants Rodolpho to hear what in is saying.
Eddie carries on hinting about Rodolpho’s sexuality, “if I could cook, if I could sing, if I could make dress,” he is implying that it is wrong for men to behave in this manner, they should be big, masculine and strong. Throughout all of this no one is particularly listening to what he is saying, but watching him. “(He has been unconsciously twisting a newspaper into a tight roll)”, as Eddie is an inarticulate man, his actions speak louder than his words and we see that through his speech he is working himself up, becoming tense and agitated.
He has become annoyed with Rodolpho, as he has been talking about him; he is now frustrated with him and wants to take his anger out on something. The Italians wouldn’t really talk about their problems; they would solve their problem with a fight. “(Suddenly the rolled paper tears in two. Eddie suddenly gets up and pulls his pants up over his belly)” His is an important gesture, Eddie is trying to show to everyone that he is the dominant male in the household,
Eddie is also displaying the gesture that he is ready for a fight, by pulling his pants over his trousers, the thought of fighting is really on his mind so he starts to talk about it. “What do you say, Marco, we go to the bouts on Saturday night. You never seen a fight, did you? … What do you say, Danish? You wanna come along? ” Eddie calls Rodolfo “Danish”. This is possibly making fun of Rodolfo’s blonde hair or it may be that he is referring to a Danish pastry, light and feminine.
Eddie thinks he can make fun of Rodolfo because he appears to be less masculine than Eddie or Marco. “I bet you’ve done some fighting” Eddie is asking Rodolpho this question, really he is satirising him because he knows that Rodolpho has never done any fight, so he is rubbing it in, he is being sarcastic. At this point, Catherine knows something is wrong, she is “nervously happy” She is delighted that Eddie is trying to make an effort to try and be nice to Rodolpho but is unsure whether he has any ulterior motive.
Catherine goes to make some coffee and Eddie becomes “weirdly elated, rubbing his fists into his palms” When Catherine asks about coffee he says “Make it nice and strong. ” He is implying that he is a man, and can take his coffee really strong, and that he can take anything that is coming to him. Again he is referring to their Italian heritage that as he is stronger that makes him better. Rodolpho doesn’t want to fight with Eddie, he respects him as Eddie has taking them in his home and could easily ring up the authorities and get them arrested.
Rodolpho is embarrassed by the situation; he knows what Eddie is trying to do. Eddie insists that he’ll teach Rodolpho. In the end Rodolpho grazes Eddie. Eddie doesn’t see it as a let down, instead he sees it as a reason to retaliate, and he knows Rodolpho wasn’t putting everything into the punch, but now he has a reason to hit back. Eddie can now hit back harder. Eddie tricks Rodolpho, “(He feints with his left hand and lands with his right. )” This now becomes the turning point of the play, “Marco rises” Catherine runs to Rodolpho.