A View from the Bridge
by Arthur Miller
Beatrice gets accused of attacking her husband all the time. Her husband, Eddie, tells her, "You didn't used to jump me all the time […] It's a shootin' gallery in here and I'm the pigeon" (2.142). Is Beatrice really this pushy aggressive woman he describes? Let's see. When did she take shots at Eddie?
Fire one: "When am I going to be a wife again, Eddie?" (1.361) She says this to ask Eddie why they're not having sex anymore. What do you think? Is this a delicate way to address a sensitive subject or is she slamming her husband?
Fire two: "You going to leave [Catherine] alone? Or you gonna drive me crazy?" (1.468) She takes this "shot" after Eddie has just argued with Catherine in the street over Rodolpho. After she asks this, Eddie turns guiltily and walks out of the house. Is she beating up on her husband or trying to tell him what he needs to hear?
Fire three: "You want somethin' else, Eddie, and you can never have her [Catherine]!" (2.316) By this point in the play, it's pretty darn clear that Beatrice is telling the truth. Of course, this blunt revelation seems to drive Eddie into his fatal duel with Marco. So, is Beatrice just saying what needed to be said or attacking her husband when he's in a vulnerable state?
Beatrice might have a mouth on her. She might have a habit of laying out some uncomfortable truths, but in the end she sucks it up does what Eddie tells her to do. The best example of this is probably when she decides against going to Catherine's wedding. Why? Because her husband forbids it. This guy has just symbolically raped, via forced kisses, both her niece and her cousin. Beatrice says that Catherine, "goes around shaking all the time, she can't go to sleep!" (2.129) On top of that, he's called Immigration on her cousins, which is viewed not only as a sneaky betrayal of family but as a betrayal of her entire community. Beatrice also knows full well that Eddie's inappropriate feelings for their seventeen-year-old niece are the cause of it all. Still, after all that, she sides with her husband, saying she won't go to the wedding.
How can she still be loyal to him? Is it because they're Catholics? The Church is none too fond of divorce. Is it because it's the 1950s? Women didn't have much power then. She is a housewife and has no experience with the working world. In a way, society has trapped her there.
Then, of course, there's the possibility that, despite it all, she still loves Eddie. She believes there's a good soul under all that stubborn bluster. It may be as simple that. All the moments that Eddie saw as shots at him may have just been her way of expressing that love. One of the last things she says to him, right before she out and out tells Eddie that he wants Catherine is, "Listen to me, I love you, I'm talkin' to you, I love you" (2.314).