Goodfellas Paper

Topics: Mafia, Goodfellas, Tragic hero Pages: 4 (1136 words) Published: April 9, 2012
Paper on “Goodfellas” movie

Martin Scorsese does an exquisite job of making this film real. When Henry is still young, his innocence is displayed so subtly, but with profound clarity. The same can be said for all the scenes in the movie. The characters often seem to live in a different world, with their frequent killings and the absence of emotion that they display. Then all of a sudden, you'll find yourself identifying with the character, and they will seem so classically human. The Gangster, as Robert Warshow puts it, is a “quintessential 'tragic hero', a character whose very nature and deeds ultimately condemn them to a short and fruitless existence, outside of the boundaries of normal society”. The Gangster's place within cinema is an important one, and the genre has now developed to a point of sophistication far beyond the flailing reach of the petty criminals on which it was based.

To discuss how Henry Hill fits the pattern of a tragic hero we first have to go into detail about who and what the mafia is. The Mafia are groups of criminals that developed for the purpose of protecting those who cannot go to the police for “protection”.[1] Its roots can be traced back to Sicily, where the Mafia was based on the premise that any member suffering an injustice was to take personal vengeance while avoiding all contact with legal authorities.[2] Even in the modern day American Mafia, each family ruled it's own territory and when others from outside the territory interfered they were dealt with through violent methods. The wise guys paid for their protection by paying the head of their local family. This payoff was also known as paying tribute to the boss. Like in “Goodfellas”, gangsters can be described as materialistic, street-smart, immoral, and self-destructive.

With the “Good” fellas, Henry starts on his climb to the top; a path that all tragic heroes see. His parents were justified in their discouragement, but unfortunately in life (especially...
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