Freudian criticism also interprets the sexual and pleasure-seeking motives behind characters and their creators.
Since Eddie Carbone loves his niece, Catherine, as more than just his niece, he dislikes when she dresses up or takes up a job, as he feels it will attract other men, which he does not want occurring due to his true desire to secretly be with her. Catherine later falls in love with illegal immigrant Rodolpho. Due to this reason, Eddie calls the immigration office on Rodolpho to have him and his brother Marco deported. Eddie says, “I want to report something. Illegal immigrants. Two of them.” (Miller 66).
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Eddie, therefore, has named the illegal immigrants even though they are family as he considered them threats to his desire and wishes to have Catherine for himself. We can interpret that the motive behind the author choosing the actions of the main protagonist is to reveal his own trials and tribulations when he was called to trial during the McCarthy Era and was called upon to name friends who were communist sympathizers. When accused of being a ratter, Eddie denies the charge as a self-defense mechanism, a psychological strategy adopted to cope with reality and maintain self-image. This can be interpreted to reveal that Miller, who had refused to take names in front of the HUAC, forgave and understood the mixed motives of friends like Kazan, who had named him as a communist sympathizer because of mixed motives, including jealousy over losing Marilyn Monroe to Miller (Bigsby 119). Further, Rodolpho’s song “Paper Doll” has a title and lyrics which says, “I’m gonna buy a paper doll that I can call my own, a doll that other fellows cannot steal” (Miller 28). A Freudian critic may say that the song “Paper Doll” symbolizes Eddie’s true feelings on how he wishes he had control over Catherine. This expresses Miller’s own feelings of failure, “Nothing could make Marilyn happy for very long,” he flatly observed (Meyers, 119).
In the final analysis, it can be seen that through the character of Eddie and his tragic conflict over unresolved sexual and pleasure-seeking motives, Miller unconsciously sheds light onto his own psyche, desires, and anxieties.