A Mafia Familys 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 familys 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 familys 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
Roses marriage to him. As a means of reconciling this difference Petie meets
Roses 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 Santadios 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
Pippis wedding shoes. In the end it is Pippi who kills Roses husband but
not before the seeds of life had been planted for Roses 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 Dantes life as well as Cross lifetime. The exception to
this was when Dantes 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 mothers sake”. (P.429) Cross was
Pippis son and was baptized at the same time as Dante. Dante returned the
love that was shown by his mother and was obviously closer to her than any
Clericuzio. At this point Dante is in his mid twenties and has become a
cold-hearted hitman on behalf of the Clericuzio family. It is of no