A Mafia Family’s Use of Violence
Violence can either be used as mean of attaining power or as means of revenge. It is a highly known fact that the main focus of a stereotypical Mafia family should centre around the use of violence. “The Godfather” as well as “The Last Don” are two novels which hold true to this focus and are interestingly enough both written by the same author: the late Mario Puzo. Although being written more than twenty-five years apart, the two novels almost mirror each other throughout. For instance, near the beginning of each book the only daughter of each family gets married. Aside from that we also see one son die in each novel as well as the husband of the family’s only daughter to be killed by the family. Throughout all these instances the only thing dissimilar regarding the two Mafia families is their reasons for violence. A family’s use of violence is determined by how much power they hold. In “The Godfather”, the main purpose behind all killing and violence can be directly related to attaining power. On the other hand, “The Last Don” is a novel in which all cases of violence are used for the sole purpose of revenge.
The killing of one of the sons in both novels by Puzo appears to be the most prominent deaths. The unfortunate son in “The Last Don”, Sylvio, is a very caring and nurturing individual who wishes to have his younger sister, Rose, marry the man of her choice. Her first choice is the son of a rival Mafia boss. He is a part of the Santadio clan. For obvious business reasons Don Clericuzio does not wish his daughter to become involved with the rival son let alone have him become a part of his family. Therefore Don Clericuzio strictly forbids Rose’s marriage to him. As a means of reconciling this difference Petie meets Rose’s lover to seek the solution to their marriage. On the way home after making arrangements to persuade his father to let his sister marry, Petie is sideswiped in his sportscar by a member of the Santadios and gunned to death. The fact that the Clericuzio clan is the most powerful family in the world means that the killing of any Santadio would not be by any stretch for personal gain of wealth. The Don of each family lays the seeds for generations to come which helps explain the future killings in this book. It is Don Clericuzio who as an act of revenge plans the total wipeout of the Santadio family. He lets the wedding between his daughter and the Santadio’s son proceed sending only his nephew Pippi to go as “representation” of the Clericuzios. All goes well at the wedding as Pippi dances among his foes. Rose and her new husband go to the wedding bed that night and only that night. In the middle of the night a band of the Clericuzios storm the Santadio mansion and kill all of their men. They wear masks to disguise themselves from Rose but it is to no avail as she notices Pippi’s wedding shoes. In the end it is Pippi who kills Rose’s husband but not before the seeds of life had been planted for Rose’s child who was to be named Dante. Don Clericuzio had avenged the death of his son Sylvio. Unfortunately this was only the beginning of the chain of revenge.
The after effects of the Santadio-Clericuzio war was laid to rest by all of the Clericuzios except for Rose who was deeply in love with her husband. The hurt was evident throughout as she shunned upon the presence of anybody but her dear son Dante. Rose ended up going mad and became a senile old woman by the time she was fourty years old. The Clericuzio family kept the war against the Santadios quiet throughout Dante’s life as well as Cross’ lifetime. The exception to this was when Dante’s mother would often whisper the truth about it to him. For this Dante,”..dreamed of vengeance on Pippi, and though these were fantasies, he thought them for his mother’s sake”. (P.429) Cross was Pippi’s son and was baptized