Hamlet and Brian De Palma's ScarfaceHamlet and Brian De Palma's Scarface end with massacres that destroy the wicked and the weak. No one (I think) would accuse Scarface of having any other moral...

Hamlet and Brian De Palma's Scarface

Hamlet and Brian De Palma's Scarface end with massacres that destroy the wicked and the weak. No one (I think) would accuse Scarface of having any other moral besides "Crime doesn't pay" (and even that's a stretch). Setting aside the many differences between the two works, do you think Shakespeare had some artistic vision to express with the massacre at the climax of Act V? Do you think Act V is a graphic, spectacular climax in a style similar to Scarface and other violent American crime dramas? Or is it a little of both?

Asked on by quentin1

2 Answers | Add Yours

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is a stretch, but I'll offer this view for sake of discussion...

Both stories might be offering a commentary on the "natural outcome" of certain associations character make. Those who die in Hamlet do so because of the sides they take. The character of Hamlet is probably the only exception. Everyone else aligns themselves with the "criminal element". This is also true of Scarface.

The ultimate comment being made, in the play and in many American crime dramas, may be one that suggests that "once you start down the path to the dark side, forever will it dominate your destiny." Once you are in, you can't get out.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do think that Hamlet is a tragedy, and the massacre is partly what makes it so.  Sometimes the innocent people, or the weak, do end up suffering along with the wicked.  The violence is not gratuitous, it is tragic.

We’ve answered 318,984 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question