Character Analysis of Michael Corleone - The Godfather

As a tragic character, Michael Corleone has been fighting against his fate all the time. But he failed ultimately. A master once divided tragedy into three categories while commenting it: the first category of tragedy is being promoted by strong external forces, the second category of tragedy is caused by individual’s personality defects, while the last category of tragedy is that although people have done everything they should do, they are ultimately fooled by fates. As far as I am concerned, Michael Corleone belongs to the last category.

Michael are unwilling to be involved in reactionary gang because of his own life planning. At the beginning of the film, he evaded his girlfriend KAY's questioning of his family status for a time, and stressed to his girlfriend that he would not be involved in reactionary gang for several times; After becoming the new godfather, he actively promoted the legalization of family. When the legalization of Godfather 3 was about to succeed, he were even more unwilling to be involved in the new round of reactionary gang battles, and also planned to sell the gambling house, so as to allocate the benefits to every denominational administrators, as well as quit the “complicated human society” of reactionary gang.

However, no one with feelings will sit back and look unconcerned when his family is forced into desperation by the enemy. After becoming the conflict focus between the two sides, due to his responsibilities for family and relatives, Michael killed the drug dealer Sollozzo and the police chief, as thus his fate was tied up with his family. When taking refuge in Sicily, Michael also had a struggle to stay away from his family so as to live a peaceful life. However, faced with the deaths of his elder brother and wife, as well as the family’s crisis of successors, he had no choice but to take over the family task again. Aiming at surviving and strengthening the mafia world, he had no choice but to learn concealment, deceitfulness, cruelness and ruthlessness, which made his fate conform to another direction.

In a conclusion, Michael Corleone dislikes the mafia career all the time, but due to the strong responsibilities of his family and relatives, he was driven by fate to a career he intended to stay away from. Seemingly Michael's temperament has changed a lot, but the responsibility of family and unwillingness of reactionary gang career haven’s changed from beginning to end, which accompany with his whole life.

The reason why Michael is different from the old godfather

The old godfather starts from nothing, as well as he witnesses and experienced the development of the reactionary gang and the family, so that he is acquainted, calm down and fearless – it’s no big deal to back to the beginning. Moreover his volition has been trained in the process of the developments of family and other reactionary gangs, so that his powerful mindset is gradually established! Unlike Michael, who takes over the big family and the large reactionary gang forces, he naturally becomes anxious for the fear of destroying father’s career. Furthermore due to his father’s high prestige, he is afraid of the doubts, non-recognition and contradiction from his father’s former subordinates and other reactionary gangs. Therefore, he needs to prove many things with large pressure and more anxiety compared with his father, more tending to use slaughter to solve difficult issues rapidly and completely! Besides it has changed into a merchant, beneficial and economic era, sentiments between people are no longer so traditional, and mindsets of people seem not to be simple and pure. Therefore, Michael will focus more on benefits compared with the old godfather. He has received American education, which means that he is filled with half traditional Italian ideas and half modern American ideas. The non-pureness causes ambiguity, which makes him more incompatible and difficulty. Nevertheless, as far as I am concerned, Michael’s shrewdness and cleverness are as good as the old godfather, inheriting his father's personality and intelligence. In a nutshell, compared with his father, Michael does better in business while weaker in family.

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