What do I need to know about ... Greek Tragedy? (With brief description)

The most common Greek Tragedies are of Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides, which originated in 500-400 BC in Athens. The protagonist (Tragic Hero) in the plays usually without knowing, does a tragic act where, as a consequence, is forced to suffer because of it. In Greek drama the protagonist was often a noble man - e.g. a king or a lord but Miller created his own representative type, the common man: Eddie Carbone. Consequently, Miller instills a tragic flaw in the protagonist, which in turn leads to his downfall. Arthur Miller as also choosen to include a chorus (narrator) in the play, a key feature of greek threate, in the form of Mr. Alfieri.

Key Quotations and the Tragedy's role in the novel

Before Eddie and Marco fight, Beatrice tells Eddie 'The truth is not as bad as blood' (Page 83)
Although at first glance, Eddie's flaw seems to be of sexual desires for Catherine. However Eddies tragic flaw is the fact that he is unable to admit to himself his love for Catherine. He refuses to accept the truth of his feelings which are for the 'daughter' that he has raised.

When Alferi asks him, 'She [Catherine] can't marry you can she?" Eddie is furious: 'What're you talking about, marry me! I don't know what the hell you're talkin' about!" (Page 49) and "There's nothing illegal about a girl falling in love with an immigrant"
This quotation portrays Eddie's insistent denial of the truth - his feelings for Catherine. Eddie is not able to come to terms with a new man being a part of Catherine's life, yet at the same time, is unable to understand why he is so jealous of Rodolpho. Consequently, this jealousy drives him to call the Immigration Bureau (page 67): "I want to report something. Illegal immigrants...[with greater difficulty] I'm just around the neighborhood, that's all.' in which he turns in Rodolpho and his brother, Marco. The stage directions are of great importance to the audience as it helps them see what the characters are feeling throughout the play. Here, Eddie was having 'great difficulty' in reporting the Italian brothers, which supports the fact that he is struggling in accepting the truth of why he is doing such a thing. As mentioned earlier on in the play, Eddie states: 'a guy do something like that? How's he gonna show his face?' in regard to the boy Vinny who snitched to the immigration about his illegal uncle. This shows that Eddie is already aware of how great a sin it is to do such a thing, which makes it that much more difficult to go through with but because of the jealousy which has overwhelmed him, he wants everything to be back in the same way, before Rodolpho and Marco arrived.

Thus, it is apparant that he is not fully aware of himself as a person and as a consequence, makes a tragic mistake.

When Beatrice and Eddie are arguing, Beatrice tells Eddie 'You want somethin' else, Eddie, and you can never have her!' (Page 83)
This suggests that Beatrice is aware of Eddie's feelings towards Catherine so she uses it to remind him the feeling that he has towards Catherine. She may be doing this so as to finally get Eddie's attention as he has been more focused on Catherine and has been oblivious, or maybe even ignorant of Beatrice's own feelings. She is restrained by the gender roles of the time and is expected to follow the husband. An instance that this is shown is when Eddie tells her, 'A wife is supposed to believe the husband. If I tell you that guy [Rodolpho] ain't right don't tell me his right.' Moreover, Eddie's obsession with Catherine causes him to forget about being with Beatrice and creates distance between their relationship. An example of this is when Eddie says, 'I do what I feel like doin' or what I don't feel like doin' [in the bed]'. He is no longer bothered about being intimate with Beatrice for he is too distracted.