Sopranos Characters – Vito Spatafore
Vito Spatafore is a member and later captain within the DiMeo family on the HBO television show The Sopranos. The character is played by Joseph R. Gannascoli, who actually played the different small part of Gino in the first season, and so impressed the producers that they decided to bring him back in a different role. Vito Spatafore is primarily known for having been killed for being a homosexual, just as John D’Amato was. However, Vito was a prominent character on the show long before his outing in the Fifth Season. What he represents is a character who is made desperately lonely by the criminal life in which he lives, but who cannot escape his desire for it.
Vito was one of the most ruthless and ambitious members of the Aprile crew. In discussions with other members of the crew, he consistently recommends the most violent solution, though not necessarily in the way that one might expect. When his brother is badly beaten in the third season, he is the primary person seeking out vengeance. Further, when Tony is near death following his shooting in the sixth season, Vito tries to manoeuvre into the position of boss.
What Vito has is a strongly internalized sense of the mafia hierarchy. Most of his suggestions are about preserving the current order and rules. When non-made people shoot at made people, he is vocal about revenge, such as with Tony B. In fact, he even kills his own cousin, Jackie Jr., for shooting at made men. He even suggests killing Tony if Tony were to start a war with New York. He even raises a major complaint over having food thrown at him by Christopher: he is a captain, and Christopher is not.
What we see gradually, however, is how lonely the character of Vito is. This becomes most clear when Finn sees him engaged in a homosexual act in Season Five. At first, it’s a little unclear whether he wants to hurt Finn to cover it up, but it eventually becomes evident that he really just wanted to go to a baseball game with him. He and Finn have a love of baseball and now Finn knew his secret, so he pursued a friendship.
However, Vito pursued the friendship so awkwardly that he scared Finn to the point of quitting his job so as to get away from him. This is the theme of Vito’s relationships for the rest of his appearances on the show. Once he is cut off from the mafia because of his outing, he can only interact with civilians, but he has absolutely no idea how to do so. He runs off to Vermont and starts a relationship with another man, but he simply cannot integrate himself with their leisurely life or work ethic. He eventually leaves out of boredom, but is killed on his return.
Vito provides an example of the way in which violence can sever us from others and prevent us from making relationships. Vito standing there with his baseball tickets after being stood up by Finn is one of the most pitiful moments on the show, but Vito has put himself in that position by destroying his ability to interact with others.