How did Michael rationalize the decision to kill Fredo?
Michael rationalizes the decision. His reasons:
- Fredo was involved in a plot to kill him. The recklessness of Fredo’s choice put Michael’s wife and children at risk. Kay and the children were the only people Michael could never harm. Tom Hagen tells this to Kay in the novel.
- Fredo claimed he didn’t know it was a hit. That meant that Fredo was too stupid to see that Johnny Ola would never have approached him if it were anything less than a hit. Johnny promised Fredo that he would have power. Such a thing could only happen if Michael were eliminated as Michael deliberately avoided giving Fredo any power. So Fredo truly didn’t understand the enemies of the Corleone Family or he was tacitly allied with them because Fredo was only thinking of himself and getting passed over by the Don. He wasn’t putting the needs of the family first, but his bruised ego and sense of injustice.
- Michael no longer trusted Fredo. He didn’t like living in a world where he knew his own brother was willing to betray him. This was unimaginable to Michael. He figured that killing Fredo meant that he now had eliminated betrayal from any family member. He didn’t kill Kay as he could not kill the mother of his children, but he neutralized her. Killing Fredo was neutraling him in Michael’s mind.
- Michael figured Fredo would do it again as Fredo was ungrateful for all that Michael did for him. Michael would never give him power. So he decided that Fredo would be susceptible to temptation from another enemy again.
- Everything was personal to Michael- everything. He couldn’t forgive Fredo or forget what he had done.
That is why he killed him. He would not rest until it was done, However, Michael had no idea how much this decision would hurt him and even backfire on him. But that is another answer entirely.
Why did Moe Greene instantly blow up when Michael Corleone offered to buy the casino?
Because Moe was smart. He knew he was losing money. He was making deals with Barzini going around the Corleones who he owed money to. He was living on the edge. He knew the ax was coming down. That’s probably why he wasn’t in the room when Michael arrived and allowed Fredo to try to party it up and loosen Michael’s resolve—hopefully.
He knew when he entered the room that Michael was not going to make a deal with him or be lenient. He knew he was outnumbered or being maneuvered out. He blew up because he was in a corner and he wasn’t the calm kind of personality Michael could project so well. He was about to lose everything he had worked for and he loved his business. He wanted to keep it. Barzini said he could. He was furious so he lashed out.
Michael wasn’t offering to buy the casino. He was buying Moe out and Moe didn’t want to sell. Michael was stealing it out from under him and offering some compensation. When he said name your price, there probably was a cap to how much Michael would be willing to pay.
Moe would lose more than his hotel/casino, he would lose a foothold in Las Vegas and that was the city he had helped put on the map. He would be removed forever from the city he loved.
How did Al Neri compare to Luca Brasi as an enforcer?
Luca Brasi was obvious. One look and you knew that he was a hard man, determined and formidable . . . and seriously scary, even to the very dangerous and scary crowd he was in business with. The people who came to know his reputation both feared and respected him.
When Luca was with the Don, you knew who the enforcer was. Luca was socially awkward and unsophisticated, but not stupid. He was ruthless, cold, deadly effective, and intimidating. The intimidation factor was a tool that Don Vito used Luca for whenever he needed it.
Al Neri was a different kind of enforcer. A former cop, Neri was an everyman. Not a face you remembered, he could be your neighbor Fred Whatshisname. When Al dressed in an expensive suit, he looked like a lawyer. In a cheap suit, you would take him for a driver. When he accompanied Michael, he didn’t command much attention. Michael had a very different style than Vito, he didn’t need an intimidating bulldog, Michael intimidated people with that look.
But Al Neri was just as dangerous, brutal, and effective as Luca when it came to a key assassination of a New York Don-of-Dons or a surreptitious murder of his own Don’s brother.
He was a bodyguard without peer even if he didn’t look like one. Neri was far more sophisticated and intelligent than Brasi and was a better fit with Michael’s style. Neri had Michael’s confidence and attended meetings where not even Tom Hagen was allowed. Wherever Michael Corleone was, Al Neri was never far away.
Al Neri ended up an underboss to Michael and the very wealthy personal associate to the richest man on earth by 1979.
Why did Michael fire Tom Hagen as Consigliere?
Short answer: just as Michael tells him, Tom is not a wartime consigliere. While Tom is skilled with legal maneuvers, basic intelligence gathering and diplomacy, a wartime consigliere needs also to be ruthlessly skilled at things like espionage and counter-espionage. Much of “Godfather 2” is Michael’s struggle with deception and routing out duplicitous agency.
Recall in the first “Godfather” that Sonny berates Tom for not being a wartime consiglieri, specifically, not a Sicilian.
Tom’s biggest failure as consiglieri was not seeing the angles which put Barzinni and Solozzo in cahoots – many of which stem from “the old country”. Were Tom Sicilian, he might have questioned how Solozzo “The Turk” came to have heroin processing plants in Sicily in the first place and investigated this more deeply. Tom also suggests to Don Corleone that it might be a good idea to get into the drug business or else the “five families” might. He was unaware that they had already gotten into the business and Solozzo was only looking to Don Corleone for legal and political protection. Tom did not suss out that the Tattaglia’s were a front for Barzini – he was playing catch up the whole time.
Given his character, Michael realizes Tom won’t be able to rise up to the difficult and international maneuvers which he is planning for the family interests. Given Tom’s strengths, he is also much more valuable to Michael as a legitimate lawyer for the family.
What was the point of Vito’s story in The Godfather 2
To demonstrate that the spirit of man cannot be completely extinguished, if even one nine-year-old boy, deprived of a family, and with only his wits to survive, refuses to allow the crashing waves of circumstance to crush him, like so much driftwood splintered against a rocky cliff.
It’s also to illustrate that a man can rise from the lowest reaches of societies depths to attain success and prosperity, both for himself and his family. Even if it requires flaunting the laws and regulations of that society, which generally serves to prevent men like Vito Corleone, who arrived in the New World as just another among the lower masses wishing to make their way into a life of abundance and advantage.
Vito Corleone’s story was to demonstrate that when the structured hierarchy of society disallows someone with no education, little money, and only the willingness to perform physical labor, from achieving success, that it is still possible to attain that success, if only by going outside and around confines of society’s borders.
The story of Vito Corleone fleeing Sicily to America from Don Ciccio, only to have Don Fanucci attempt to put his foot on Vito’s throat, was to demonstrate that one man can extricate himself from a life of poverty, if only he is willing to take responsibility for his life into his own hands.
What did the end of Godfather Part 2 mean?
It’s a devastating coda that underlines the tragedy of this family in general and also looks at Michael’s constant struggles against the grain of the family.
I mean first we learn that it was Sonny who introduced Carlo to the family, and therefore to Connie, which gives greater depth to the events of Part I.
Then you sort of mentally tally up everyone in that scene who’s now dead: Vito (natural/unnatural causes), Sonny (killed), Fredo (killed — by Michael), Tessio (traitor, killed) and Carlo (traitor, killed). The only two survivors from that scene are now people Michael feels he can’t trust anymore: Hagen (pushed away by Michael’s paranoia) and Connie (who went behind his back letting Kay see the kids). Mama Corleone is passed on. Apollonia, dead. Clemenza, dead. Pentangeli is dead. His unborn son, aborted. He still has his kids, but without Kay, there’s a distance there.
His mob family is crippled, his real family has almost disappeared.
The final shot of Michael alone is just that. He’s Alone with a capital A.
And then what the viewer has to do is go back to him talking to Mama Corleone:
“What did Papa think — deep in his heart? He was being strong — strong for his family. But by being strong for his family — could he — lose it?”
And then you look again, young Michael, alone at the kitchen table and then older Michael, alone at his estate, and you think, yes, you can lose your family.