Character Analysis: The Sopranos Is Inherently Evil

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Many great crime movies and shows make us question the idea that anyone who operates on the wrong side of the law is inherently evil. The Sopranos is no exception, as it delves into the life of New Jersey crime patriarch Tony Soprano. Tony is more of a tragic character than an evil one, and his tragic flaw is his extreme loyalty to his crime family, despite recognizing its moral flaws. This flaw however does not absolve him of his misdeeds.
One of the characteristics often associated with an evil person is a lack of remorse for their actions. Although Tony attempts to justify his role as part of the mafia, he does seem to understand that what he does is not right. Unlike his father, Tony goes to great lengths to make sure his kids are not involved in criminal activities. In the episode “Down Neck”, after his son is suspended for stealing a bottle of sacramental wine, Tony becomes greatly concerned that he might know of his father’s involvement in the mafia, thereby having a negative influence on his behavior. In the episode “Bust Out”, when Tony is discussing his
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A recurring theme in The Sopranos is that Tony’s current occupation and lifestyle is largely the result of his upbringing. Given that both Tony’s father Giovanni and uncle Junior were part of the mafia, it is not surprising that Tony would eventually follow. It does not appear that Giovanni ever tried to dissuade Tony from pursuing a life of crime. Giovanni’s influence on Tony is nicely captured in the line from the opening credits song: “Your papa never told you about right and wrong.” Tony also blames his mother for keeping the family stuck in the mafia, as she prevented them from moving to Reno. Another line the from opening song, “born under a bad sign”, summarizes how in some aspects Tony seemed predestined to become a leading mafia member. The lack of choice in joining the mafia makes Tony more of a tragic character than an evil
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