He and his wife Beatrice have taken care of Catherine from the time when her parents had died. Beatrices cousins from Sicily have come to America to work illegitimately and at the moment are staying with the Carbones. The company of the cousins from Sicily in the Carbone household is causing much tension more than ever between Eddie and Rodolpho. Rodolpho is very different to Eddie since he does not look like a typical Sicilian and nor are his personalities.
The Carbones have just finished their dinner and are chatting peacefully but tension is obviously in the air. Argument starts when Eddie makes an offensive remark about life when submarines or illegal immigrants go back home to their wives I betcha theres plenty of surprises sometimes when those guys get back there, heh? It is aimed towards Marco, to make him unsure whether or not he has made the right choice to leave his wife and family in Sicily.
Unfortunately for Eddie, his comment fails to bewilder Marco who calmly tries to explain to Eddie exactly how strict life is in Italy. Eddie cannot get what he wants (Catherine) and he is trying to criticise everyone in a bid to make them uncertain about themselves. I think that Arthur Miller portrays that Marco is a real man as he explains the issue raised. By doing this Marco shows dignity and masculinity making Eddie look pathetic and humiliated, when in actual fact it was Eddies objective to humiliate Marco.
Eddie tries to provoke Rodolpho by saying that America is just as strict as Italy. But what he really means is that Rodolpho shouldnt take out Catherine to whom he is a fatherly figure; in doing so he is undermining Rodolpho and trying to represent him as being disrespectful. As it happens to be so, that in Italy, tradition has it that to take a girl out you must have permission from the girls father. Eddie implies this to Rodolpho and that he must have permission for Catherines hand.