The Anti-Hero in ’The Godfather’ (part one) and ‘Of Mice and Men’ Essay

The Anti-Hero in ’The Godfather’ (part one) and ‘Of Mice and Men’ Essay

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From your garden-variety run-from-the-law thug, to the misunderstood maniacal scientist or the introverted girl scared of finding her away about the world, the term ‘Anti-hero’ is too broad a character to typecast; and so to reflect thematic issues associated, we can’t simply plunk the subheadings of ‘greedy’, ‘abusive’ or ’crazy’ etc upon them. The only independent variable, in the making of an anti-hero, through our own experiences and contextual environment, is their ability to make a connection with us. Be it with the presentation of our desires through their actions or the recognition of ourselves when imagined being faced with similar conditions. They may showcase the regular personality or universally felt emotions and in both glorified and/or horrified aspects, the anti-hero is more relatable then their ‘perfect’ counter part of ‘hero’. To illustrate this concept and to demonstrate the scope of variety between them, the two text’s investigated are ’The Godfather’ (part one) and ‘Of Mice and Men’.

The 1972 release, ‘The Godfather‘, first a book by Mario Puzo before being transformed into three-part film by Francis Coppola - is the movie hailed a masterpiece, rendering many imitations, parodies and shameless impersonations. This infamous gangster text which, while confirming our preconceived notions of the mafia; a life of murder, gambling, male chauvinism, blackmail and corruption, can tell the tale of what might be “the greatest family movie ever made”. Appealing to our sense of intrigue, the audience, as onlookers inside such a secretive, often glamorised world, respond not with repulsion but instead are enticed to feel a sense of loyalty to the family including us in the environment where mobsters are “never to tel...


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...upon the individual reader. However a act such as this, with no selfish motivation, committed with only compassion in mind, is one which, again, defies any application of a ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ classification. The action is the pinnacle incarnation of the anti-hero; where George can be courageous while victimised and Lennie pitied while relieved. The territory of acts by anti-heroes can stir contradictory and indefinable reactions from their readers.

The anti-hero, becoming an increasingly popular device in modern literature and film, while each evidently different in context and situation, gives its audience the thrill of knowing that not all ‘goodness’ comes in the form of capes or armour. A protagonists mistakes are permissible and flaws are forgiven because, really, like the characters we make allowances for, we can fall under the term ’anti-hero’ too.

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