The Complexity of Tony Soprano and Emotional Connection with Viewers

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  • Topic: The Sopranos, Tony Soprano, Jennifer Melfi
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  • Published : May 1, 2013
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Nick Serrano
Rebecca Chawner
ENGL 1011-038
December 3, 2012
Cover Letter
The small group conference didn’t really affect my revision process. The only criticism I took into consideration was from the teacher. Strengths in my draft are the usage of examples from the episodes of The Sopranos, the actual length of the summaries, which were short and concise, and the consistency of my thesis throughout the paper. Weaknesses in my draft might be the length of some dialogues used as examples.

I made drastic changes to my thesis due to the feedback I received. I expanded on my analysis of the message the producers send and what Harold says in his article. Other things I changed were the organization of some main topics to help the flow of the paper and make it more logical for the reader. I also eliminated an analysis due to it being somewhat extraneous.

The Complexity of Tony Soprano and Emotional Connection with Viewers
Mafia; a term most of us make synonymous with crime, murder, money, extortion, bodies in trunks and men with mozzarella on their breath. The hit HBO series The Sopranos encompasses most of these ideas in a more realistic fashion than the movies do. With six seasons comprising of over eighty-six hours of connecting with the cast and it’s boss of the family, Tony Soprano, there’s no question the audience is able to see multiple dimensions of the main characters. James Harold, a modern-day philosopher, proves this by saying “… The gangsters in The Sopranos, especially Tony, are portrayed in deeply psychological and often quite intimate ways” (Harold 300). Tony Soprano shows antagonist qualities by being frequently active in running one of the most powerful mob families in New Jersey; yet at the same time shows protagonist traits by supporting his family through his unlawful doings and making an effort to be a good father/husband. This makes him one of the most complex characters in television. Due to his complexity, we as an audience become more emotionally connected and a question of morality comes into play when we identify ourselves with the things Tony does, good or bad. A hidden message of accepting immoral acts is something the producers of the show are sending out to viewers.

Aside from the problems at home, Tony is dealing with the FBI breathing down his neck a lot harder than usual in season six. Agent Goddard and Agent Harris usually have lunch at Tony’s deli just to let their presence be known. Finally Tony decides to let them in on some useful information that could benefit him and possibly the safety of others: Tony: “If I was to know something possibly… terror related and I helped you out; can I bank the result in good will?” Agent Goddard: “Well, what happens is I would personally write you what is called a five k letter, say a document setting forth your cooperation. This letter will be placed in your file and if you were ever convicted of a crime… it’d be presented to a judge when he/she would be considering sentencing guidelines.” Tony: “Well there were a couple of guys, Arabs maybe. They used to hang around The Bing. The point is they used to be around all the time these two, and then suddenly they disappear, I mean completely. Then a couple of days ago I see ‘em with these guys with the head gear and the beard and the whole fundamental bit.” (The Sopranos) Notice how Tony is reluctant to reveal information he has unless he benefits from it in some way. This is one of those moments where the antagonistic side is showed just slightly, but the protagonist dimension of his personality overcomes it by letting the authorities know about possible terrorists he might have crossed paths with. He eventually gives the names and numbers of the suspects to the agents and they are very grateful for his information. Although he’s trying to save his own skin, he doesn’t want to be morally at fault of any lives lost if these two men were in fact under the suspicion of...
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