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Vito starts the assassination by meeting with Don Fannucci, negotiating with him to lower the cost of protection, and succeeding. Shortly afterwards, Vito kills the Don and takes the money back.

My question is, why did Vito bother showing up with less money than was asked of him if he was going to kill and rob Fannucci anyway? From the conversation prior, it sounded like Vito and company had enough money to meet the original demands. Vito would have still met with Fannucci to pay him so the assassination route or plans wouldn't have changed. By negotiating, Vito risks potentially failing, angering Fannucci, and possibly getting roughed up or disabled before he can retrieve his gun (if not killed outright, it's unclear how much muscle or authority Fannucci actually had when Vito killed him.)

Why did Vito bother negotiating?

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Why did Vito bother negotiating?

It's not precisely negotiating....just another tactic.

Certainly, he gives Fanucci less than was demanded but at the same time he indicates that he will come up with the balance.

          FANUCCI
        (Sicilian)
    I think there's only two hundred
    dollars under my hat.
        (he peeks)
    I'm right.  Only two hundred dollars.

          VITO
        (Sicilian)
    I'm a little short.  I've been out
    of work.  Let me owe you the money
    for a few weeks

Fanucci doesn't take offence, indeed, he seems quite impressed with Vito. This sort of "negotiating" would be expected...it demonstrates that Vito has character and strength.

This was a permissible gambit. Fanucci had the bulk of the money and would wait. He might even be persuaded to take nothing more or to wait a little longer. He chuckled over his wine and said, “Ah, you’re a sharp young fellow. How is it I’ve never noticed you before? You’re too quiet a chap for your own interest. I could find some work for you to do that would be very profitable.”

The Godfather - Mario Puzo

In fact, the novel makes it clear that athougth Vito had already determined to kill Fanucci, he hesistates before taking the final step and takes more than enough money to pay Fanucci what he asks.

And yet he hesitated before taking the first step toward his destiny. He even packed the seven hundred dollars in a single fold of bills and put the money in a convenient side pocket of his trousers. But he put the money in the left side of his trousers. In the right-hand pocket he put the gun Clemenza had given him to use in the hijacking of the silk truck.

The Godfather - Mario Puzo

  • 1
    again a case of the books showing more than the movies. definitely time for me to get the books – Nicholas Aysen Jul 16 '18 at 9:54
  • So, if I'm understanding this answer correctly, the negotiation was more a cultural norm than a step in the assassination. So is there a quick reason why Vito's friends are so against the negotiation? Or is that complicated enough to warrant its own question? – GGMG Jul 16 '18 at 17:31
  • 1
    Vito's friends are more afraid of Fanucci than Vito. Vito has pretty much worked out that Fanucci isn't as big a deal as everyone thinks he is...I really recommend reading the original novel which covers all of this. – Paulie_D Jul 17 '18 at 6:37

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