How does the theme of manliness differ between Eddie, Rodolfo and Marco in A View From The Bridge?

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In these three men, Eddie, Rodolpho and Marco, we are presented with three distinctly different modes of masculinity.

Eddie is a man out of touch with his emotions who is, therefore, dominated by them. He is often unable to control his feelings or the actions those feelings lead to, as seen most clearly in the act of calling the immigration office to report Rodolpho and Marco.

Yet Eddie is also a protective type of person. This trait, though sometimes positive, is responsible for Eddie's downfall as it becomes twisted up with his improper affections for Catherine. 

Rodolpho is the most effeminate man in the play, from his hair to his antics. He sings, sews and cooks. Eddie sees Rodolpho as less of a man than he is, a rival to whom he is loathe to lose Catherine.

In Eddie’s assessment, something is wrong with Rodolpho.

Eddie is not the only person to see Rodolpho as negatively different due to the lack of concern he seems to show for being "macho". This difference causes some problems for Rodolpho. 

[Rodolpho] has difficulties at work with the other longshoremen because he is too effeminate...

Marco is an Old World figure. His masculinity is defined by a deadly code that he articulates to Alfieri toward the end of the play. The silent and polite Marco shows himself to be prepared to defend his family if that should be necessary.

Marco then proceeds not only to lift the chair but also to raise it over his head, revealing himself as a hidden threat.

Rodolpho's flaws are not as obvious as those of Eddie and Marco, perhaps because Rodolpho's code of conduct is less clearly presented in the play. However, Eddie and Marco each demonstrate that the same traits that can help to protect and shelter a family can become corrupted and serve to destroy it.