Correct side of the law

Both Catherine and Beatrice are likeable characters, but, Beatrice is much more stable in herself. Whereas the young Catherine is uncertain about things, Beatrice is much more mature and has a clear view of matters, including law and justice. She only shows her fear for the law when the Immigration Officers arrive. She holds her head in her hands and reflects on the fact that she, to a certain extent, put Marco and Rodolpho in this situation and the fate they await.

She does however, tries to defend the pair by telling the Officers of the difficulties they go through in Italy, and that they are doing no harm. This protective behaviour is a complete contrast of her views on law in Act One. She says: "…if they pick him up, they pick him up that's all…" Showing at this stage she is more attached to her relationship with Eddie than with Rodolpho, and that she is not worried if they get sent back to Italy. 

Catherine is much more concerned with being in love with Rodolpho that she doesn't realise what would happen if the law caught up with them. Its only when the Officers knock at the door does she realise the horror of not seeing Rodolpho again. She also becomes conscious that Eddie has betrayed them. Catherines role in the tragic ending is to try and stop Eddie from getting hurt. When he's stabbed, she forgets the betrayal and comforts him and explains: "Eddie, I never meant to do nothing bad to you." This shows she is sorry if her relationship with Rodolpho somehow caused this.

Eddie's attitude to the law and justice is very committed throughout the play. He is nearly always paranoid about Marco and Rodolpho's welfare and the chance they might get 'picked up'. He also visits Alfieri who is a friend and a man of the law to Eddie. For example, he visits Alfieri to discuss Rodolpho's relationship with Catherine, and refuses to let Alfieri to speak until he has expresses his own thoughts and views. Eddie's view on the law is a very serious one. "Will you listen a minute, I'm talkin' about then law." This quote shows that his view is that law and justice is the top priority over anything else.

Eddie is the main cause of the tragic ending. He is jealous of Catherine, so decides to call Immigration, causing Marco and Rodolpho to be arrested. Also causing Marco to be feeling very betrayed and spits at Eddie. This act of disgust towards Eddie is the 'spark' needed to trigger the anger between them. Eddie's role in the ending is to try and prove that he is not what Marco had said him to be earlier. Eddie needed his respect back. He is also, once stabbed, seen as a 'fool' by the others (neighbours) and Marco, for thinking he can get back his name and reputation. But Beatrice and Catherine's immediate reaction is to hold and comfort him, as though he was a shrine.

Marco's attitude to the law is that he did not think of the law as THE LAW, more as vague rules that aren't enforced, guidelines more than anything 'Where is the law? Is it in a book, is it written down?' He becomes disillusioned with the law as soon as the Immigration officers take him in. He finally realises that the law is completely against him and that he will have to leave America again, and the money from his job in the dockyard will cease when Alfieri explains his situation directly to him. Marco then makes his decision to confront Eddie. Ironically, when Marco stabbed Eddie it was technically self-defence, putting him on the correct side of the law.

Rodolpho is in love with America from the minute he steps off the boat, even commenting of Eddie's house 'And they said they were poor!' The law does not play a role in his life until the Immigration officers arrive. By this time he has a promise of marriage from Catherine, so therefore the law does not necessarily apply to him. He simply carries on as normal.