Leotardo's Tears

If I remember correctly, Phil’s eyes well up immediately after Tony tells him that he experienced some dreadful thing in his coma, and that Phil might have experienced something similar during his heart attack, something awesome and awful. Does Phil have to surrender his mob boss suitcase, as Tony/Finnerty does?

The Sopranos is a great American tragedy in the mode of “Death of Salesman.” In the play, Willy Loman ends up running his car off the road without ever discovering “who he was.” Will Anthony Soprano/Kevin Finnerty the salesman ever find out who he is? I doubt it. The man in the French beret is “too old and fat,” as Gandolfini recently described himself, for the harrowing descent into Hell.

To admit that he is an inveterate killer, scam artist, and thief; to turn himself in to the gods for casually crushing lives—the psychological damage of such self-disclosure would trigger the madness of King Lear. This fate is worse than the death or life sentence that Tony prophesies for himself.

Channel surfing on Christmas Eve, Bobby Jr. clicks on Casablanca. Revellers raise a toast, “Here’s to America!” What is the best that America can offer Willy Loman and Kevin Finnerty? Redemption. Redemption is one of the great American leitmotifs. It is the stuff of Frank Capra movies and the cult of heroism that raises generals to presidents.

What other motif fuels the American dream? Liberty. But the pursuit of freedom, as David Chase portrays it, is pretence for psychological narcissism and crass materialism. Chase’s vision of the American dream echoes that of Willy’s son Biff, who challenges his father to “take that phoney dream and burn it before something happens.”

On this eerily Silent Night, Blanca (white/pure) compliments Carmela on her “nice” house (casa/clan): Casablanca. The Casa Soprano is as rotten as the floorboards of Carmella’s spec house.

One last clip: in it a character rues, “In Casablanca life is cheap.” The scene fades to black. The chorus has spoken.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p098.ezboard.com/bthechaselounge ... vellino</A> at: 6/9/06 3:54 pm

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