Where is the Motive?

One of the things which bothers me the most about The Godfather is the explanation for Michael’s switch to a life of crime. In the beginning, Mario Puzo makes it very clear that Michael has tried to avoid becoming a part of the family business. He went to college and joined the military despite his father not wanting him to do either of these. Michael was the favorite son, and it is clear that Vito wanted him to become the next Don. With all of these indications that Michael wanted to remain as far from the business as possible, his sudden decision to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey is a bit confusing. Though his desire to protect his father and his anger at the attempt on his father’s life is made very clear, not enough of his logic in choosing to kill is shown. I probably would not have been so bothered by this if we had not been given lots of details when Vito decided to kill Fanucci. At this point, Puzo provides the progression of Vito’s logic as he decides that killing Fanucci is the best plan. If he was able to provide such good motivation for Vito, why could Puzo not do the same for Michael? Why does Michael’s decision feel so much more rushed/forced?

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