In the extract from page 5 – 8, the three main characters involved are Eddie, his niece, Catherine, and his wife Beatrice. The main action has Eddie having a conversation with Catherine and informing Beatrice, about the arrival of her cousins from Italy. In total, Eddie makes 20 speeches in total while Catherine makes 19 and Beatrice makes 3. Beatrice only appears at the end of the extract. She enters the room from the kitchen where she was most likely to be doing chores, as she was seen wiping her hands with a towel. The focus on Eddie is evidence that he is an important character and that is the one that has most interactions with the other characters.
Eddie and Catherine are having a conversation in the house when he returns from work. From the enthusiastic manner in which Catherine greets Eddie, we know that they share a close relationship. Later, we also see the two characters having a conversation with each other that also alludes to the closeness that they share. The content of the conversation that Eddie and Catherine have seem banal and unimportant. However, the manner in which they express their thoughts, especially for Eddie, allows us to have a closer peek at what they truly think and how they truly feel. This also creates a sense of suspense and prepares the audience of the later events in Miller’s plot. From the conversation, a sense of curiosity is piqued in the audience as they are subtly made aware that Eddie and Catherine do not share a completely innocent relationship.
On the surface, Eddie seems like a paternal figure who is chiding his young niece about the coquettish manner of her dressing. He tells Catherine that her skirt is too short and the way she walks gives him “the willies”. This is not a casual remark that Eddie makes. Instead, he harps on it and even when his disapproval causes Catherine obvious distress, he does not stop. Eddie is extremely overprotective over his niece and this conversation is an example of his...
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