Catastrophic Reactions

A View from the Bridge (1955)
by Arthur Miller (1915-2005)

Eddie Carbone was born to self-destruct. In the author’s words: “Nothing was permitted which did not advance the progress of Eddie’s catastrophe in a most direct way.”[i]  Eddie’s story had “its absolutely unswerving path.”[ii]  Eddie is an archetype for humanity in the sense that most people and every human community are destined for a sad and painful demise.

First, Eddie is at the mercy of his emotions. In raising his niece from childhood, he becomes emotionally involved with her much as he might had she been his daughter. As she reaches womanhood and is inevitably preparing to leave his home, he is unable to let her go. His emotional involvement is not healthy nor appropriate. He cannot transcend from the reactions of his emotions to the response of his feelings which would be healthy and direct him in wholesome behaviors within the unfolding situation. Instead, he projects his shadow onto the situation and the people involved and spins out of control in his emotional anger and fear.

Catastrophic Reactions

[i]     Miller, Arthur. All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge and After the Fall. New York: Penguin Books, 1995, page 378.

[ii]     Ibid.


Find a much more in-depth discussion in printed books by Roy Charles Henry.

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