Rosalie Aprile is the widow of mob boss Jackie Aprile on the HBO television series The Sopranos. Her character is played by Sharon Angela. Rosalie Aprile is perhaps the most stereotypical “mob wife.” She overtly defends the mob from any criticism, comparing those who speak to the cops to Judas and complaining when their parish priest criticizes the mafia. However, she also suffers the most at the hands of the mob, and has her son murdered by those who are closest to her.
What is tragic about Rosalie’s situation is that she identifies herself with the mafia and considers herself a part of it, whereas, by being a woman, she is not a part of it at all. Her proximity to the mob, first as a wife and later as the girlfriend of Ralph Cifaretto, makes her believe that she is powerful and in control. However, as a “mere” wife, she is not allowed access to any of the actual workings of the mafia and has no control over them. That feeling of power she has by “belonging” to the mafia is just a facade.
This is most clear with the death of her son, Jackie Jr. He shoots at some made men at a card game run by a soldier in Ralph’s crew. As a result, Ralph, her boyfriend, decides to have her on killed. Rosalie is frantic that her son will be killed, though she does not suspect Ralph. Nonetheless, despite her connections to the mafia, she cannot save them. In fact, because of her connections to the mafia, she cannot save them. It is her own boyfriend that is killing her son.
Rosalie Aprile is emblematic of the powerlessness that the wives of the mobsters in the show have. On the one hand, by being close to powerful men, they have a sense of that power. On the other hand, this is just an illusion, and the men they are with are a greater threat to them than anything else might have been.