The Use of Myths in the Film Scarface

The Use of Myths in the Film Scarface

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The Use of Myths in the Film Scarface


When I began thinking about the use of myths in the Howard Hawks film, Scarface, my first thoughts were about the portrayal of the myth of the American Dream. I started to write about it but then I began thinking about how I could relate this film to Greek Mythology. I thought of some interesting parallels between this story and the story of Icarus. In mythology Icarus is the son of the craftsman, Daedalus. King Minos of Crete imprisons Icarus and his father in a labyrinth that Daedalus, himself, created. To escape, Daedalus crafts two pairs of wings from wax and feathers. Daedalus warns his son not to fly to close to the sun because it will melt the wax. Icarus doesn’t heed the warning of his father and falls to his death in the sea.

In Scarface, Tony Camonte is a gangster on the rise in the world of organized crime. He builds an empire through murder and deceit and ends up dying in a barrage of police gunfire. In the movie, Tony represents Icarus. Tony seeks to create his empire through by any means necessary. He comes up from the humble beginnings of being a poor Italian immigrant to ultimately becoming a powerful mob boss. Through alienating all those close to him, he builds his own labyrinth around himself, which can be thought of as his steel fortress. He tries to escape by crafting wax wings in the form of an insatiable thirst for power. He thinks that if he just has more money or more power he will be able to escape his inevitable fate. He ignores the countless pleas of his mother to straighten up his life. Her character can be seen as Daedalus, she makes a sincere effort to steer her son to safety, but ultimately it is his decision and he ends up flying to close to the sun.

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In his downfall he ends up paranoid and alone. He has killed or alienated all those who were once close to him and realizes the money and power that he held in such high esteem mean absolutely nothing. He attempts to escape his steel fortress only to be gunned down by an army of police waiting below. He like Icarus crashes into the sea below.

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