Eddie simultaneously grapples with three tragedies. He has a complicated identity because of his complicated relationships with his family and lovers. Eddie is the son of a distant, unaffectionate, alcoholic father (the Old Man) who led a double life, the lover of a woman who is his half-sister, and the son of a woman who loved so hard that she killed herself upon discovering the Old Man's betrayal. Eddie's confusing and painful relationships contribute to his need to have ultimate control of every situation. Eddie instigates a full-blown power play by returning to May, repeating his cycle of abandonment and dependence with her.
His life is chaotic especially now that he is attempting to have relationships with both the Countess and May. His need for control and order manifests itself in his macho attitude and over-the-top need to have power over other people. Eddie transforms his macro mess into a microcosm of order in the way he tries to keep May at his mercy and Martin confused and frightened of him with his verbal attacks. Eddie transforms his pain into an often cruel, malicious, and manipulative self-empowerment. He becomes threatened by the idea of May living on her own, independently, without him. Though he has begun a relationship with the Countess, Eddie wants to have his cake and eat it to by keeping a door open in his relationship with May while continuing his Countess affair. Eddie is May's soul mate. They have a passionate attraction and magnetic feeling for each other that can be full of love or hate for one another. May will always be a part of Eddie and he knows that but is dealing with the fact that May, a mirror to his self Is not the right one for him anymore. He has returned not to get May as he says, but to try one desperate last attempt to try to be with her when he knows in his heart he has moved on and can never stay in one place for long.
Another way Eddie tries to control May is by maligning her for having a date with Martin. Eddie is a hypocrite and unknowingly so when he insults her and becomes jealous even though he has left May and conducted an affair with another woman.
Eddie shares several characteristics with his father, the Old Man, and fears that he is similar to his father. The Old Man has caused so much of Eddie's pain that he unknowingly repeats some of the Old Man's problems such as drinking heavily and having two lovers.
Eddie does not see his behavior as desertion or neglect. He has wanderlust. He follows his dreams whenever they take his fancy and he does not see May's point of view. He has a distracting, passionate feeling for May that overwhelms him but it is not powerful enough to make him stay in one place. It will never weaken but it will also never be enough to satisfy his attention completely.