Analysis Of The Godfather

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“I believe in America”. [1] These iconic words, uttered by the Italian undertaker Amerigo Bonasera, mark the dramatic opening shot of Francis Ford Coppola’s first film of The Godfather trilogy. An adaptation of Mario Puzo’s critically acclaimed crime novel, The Godfather (1972), this scene epitomizes the clash between the immigrant’s original, unfettered belief in the new host country, and the reality of their experiences in that country. Also the first words in Puzo’s novel, Amerigo Bonasera literally means “Good Evening America”, a signifier of the symbolic nightfall of the American empire. One cannot help but remember the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, whose name was feminized by Martin Waldseenmuller [2] in 1507 to provide the American continent with its name – The Godfather introduces characters who work to establish a re-masculinised America by revealing the inherent irony in Bonasera’s opening lines. What I intend to examine, is the dialectical notions of revenge, justice, masculinity, and morality present in Puzo’s America of the 1940’s -embodied in the form of a power-struggle between the host culture (America), and the Italian immigrant culture gaining predominance at the core of the American mafia, as represented by the Corleone family. I also intend to trace and look into the fractured expressions of

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