Hamlet and Scarface / Gina Montana and OpheliaPursuing the Scarface/Hamlet comparison, I think you can compare Gina, sister to Tony Montana (as played by Al Pacino), to Ophelia. Gina begins the...

Hamlet and Scarface / Gina Montana and Ophelia

Pursuing the Scarface/Hamlet comparison, I think you can compare Gina, sister to Tony Montana (as played by Al Pacino), to Ophelia.

Gina begins the movie as a wide-eyed fresh-faced girl who just wants to have fun. Tony tries to keep her pure from his life of crime, but she thinks he's too cruel and controlling. In the movie's final shocking scenes, Gina becomes a victim of Tony's corruption. We see her topless, strung out on coke, and speaking unmentionable obscenities towards her brother before she gets shot. All the while Giorgio Moroder's plaintive "Gina" theme plays in the background to underscore the pathos of lost innocence.

Ophelia meets a similar fate. She interprets Hamlet's cruelty as madness, but you could argue he's just trying to protect her--he doesn't want Claudius to think the two are still seeing each other. After Hamlet kills Polonius, she loses her sanity and we see her singing crude, bawdy songs. Though she dies as a probable suicide--not the victim of murder--her death is still pathetic and shocking. Shakespeare's effects are more subtle than De Palma's, but you get the point.

The reason I make this comparison is that some critics who like the play Hamlet fault it for the death of Ophelia and the elaborate climax. They feel that it's too crude. Is the finale of Hamlet an expression of some moral vision, or is it stylized, extravagant violence similar to the slo-mo balletic violence in today's crime movies (Scarface, Bonnie and Clyde, etc.)?

Asked on by quentin1

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

Posted on

This is an interesting characterization. I agree with you that there is more to this comparison. In each case, the girl was a victim of ambition. I do not think that the fault was entirely Hamlet's though. After all, it was Claudius who started the whole thing. Would the same thing happen to Ophelia if Claudius had not gotten involved?

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