A View from the Bridge
by Arthur Miller
To hear Eddie tell it, Rodolpho is the spawn of Satan. He's the evil blond Italian who's come to steal away the beautiful Catherine. Of course, Eddie isn't exactly the most reliable source, so, let's do our own investigation.
What do we know for sure about Rodolpho? He's definitely Italian. He comes from the lovely isle of Sicily, which is apparently loaded with fountains and orange trees but is a little short on jobs. We also know that he likes to sing and he's pretty good at it. He tends to do this in inappropriate locations like Eddie's apartment and down at the docks. Other favorite pastimes include: dancing, sewing, cooking, long walks on the beach…OK, we're not sure about the beach part.
The fact is that we really aren't sure about a lot of things concerning Rodolpho. Eddie interprets all the traits we've just mentioned as sure signs that Rodolpho is gay. Yes, Rodolpho may be gay. Then again, Eddie could just be desperately grasping for any reason to get Catherine back. We can't know for sure.
Eddie also accuses Rodolpho of just wanting to marry Catherine so that he can become an American citizen. Once again, Eddie may be right about this. Catherine straight up asks Rodolpho about it, saying, "Would you still want to do it if it turned out we had to go live in Italy?" (2.36). Loverboy replies, "No; I will not marry you to live in Italy. I want you to be my wife, and I want to be a citizen" (2.43). Probably not exactly what she wants to hear. Of course, you have to ask yourself, would a guy who's trying to trick her give such an honest answer? If he was a total sleaze, wouldn't he be all, "Yes, yes, anything for you my precious darling." Then again he may super crafty. He may have just said that because he knows that's what an honest person would say. Then again…Ahhhh! It looks like there's just no way to know the real Rodolpho. In the end, Miller leaves us with a guessing game. What do you think?