“The Godfather”, a name that stands for authority, is the title of the fictional novel and feature films written by Mario Puzo and directed by Frank Coppola. Don Vito Corleone, also known as the Godfather, is the patriarch of the Corleone crime family. The Godfather is a wise intelligent man who's authoritative code rests on respect, loyalty and fear. He is loyal to his crime family and he demands the same loyalty and respect from them. There are three characters throughout the first movie and novel whose interactions display the authority of the Godfather and the importance placed on loyalty respect and fear. Amerigo Bonasera, Nazorine Pitelli and Luca Brasi all had encounters with the Godfather and through interactions we see how others regard the Godfather and to what extent he is given authority; through respect, fear and loyalty.
The movie begins with two men discussing business in the Corleone estate. It was August 1945, at the daughter of Don Corleone's wedding, when the Don, the Godfather, was accepting requests upstairs. An old Sicilian tradition was that no father could refuse a request on the day of his daughter's wedding, so the other Sicilian men “let's a chance like that go by.”(pg. 26) Amerigo Bonasera, an undertaker, was an honest Sicilian man who made his home in the United States. Don Vito's wife was the godmother of his only son, and although their wives were the best of friends, Amerigo never truly sought friendship with the Godfather. He was there today to request help to seek revenge on two boys who had abused his daughter. The godfather denies his request saying:
“We have known each other many years, you and I,”
he said to the undertaker, “but until this day you never
came to me for counsel or help. I can‘t remember the
last time you invited me to your house for coffee
–though my wife is godmother to your only child. Let us be frank. You spurned my friendship.
You feared to be in my debt.”
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