Free Essays - Analysis of the Maltese Falcon

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I don’t recall if Gutman said it in the movie about the Falcon being coated by lacquer to obfuscate that it’s really made of gold and jewels. I think it was implied that nothing is what they really seem to be. This is what I believe Dashiell Hammett was trying to communicate through his novel, ‘The Maltese Falcon.’ In this paper I will write about why I believe what is Hammett trying to convey through his cast of characters. These characters are unlike the image and stereotype cast upon their roles.

Sam Spade isn’t exactly the typical (stereotypical?) main character or rather a detective character (I think for any main character.) By his looks/appearance, “He [Spade] looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan” (p. 3). Suggesting he is not angelic looking like lets say Humphrey Bogard (an indication that the movie isn’t true to the novel). The film ruined the ironic un-charming hero concept the novel have and so do I as one of my first example of the “things-are-not-what-they-seemed-theory-for-Hammett’s message.” Spade is callous, avaricious, and shares a similarity with Mike from ‘The House of Games.’ Why I think Mike and Spade are similar? For one thing Brigid O’Shaughnessy gave Spade a talk/speech about him using her pretty much the same thing Ford asked Mike in the airport. Brigid’s comment (p. 211-212) “You’ve been playing with me? Only pretending you cared-to trap me like this? You didn’t-care at all? You didn’t-don’t-I-love-me?” Ford’s “You used me...” speech is strikingly similar to Brigid’s including the reaction from Mike/Spade. The two men both refused to show sympathy and they did both had sex with their respective victims women except Mike ends up dead and Brigid ends up in jail. Ford and Mike and Spade and Brigid share many similarities from the two women being used and the men conning these women. We know what Mike did already and Spade used his devilish charm to get Brigid to solve the case. He conned her into giving him money, win his trust, and played with her feelings. The comparison between Mike and Spade is to show that Spade is more of a con men than a detective which I hope are (usually) depicted as law-abiding, straight-arrow, gentlemen. Spade is a proto-badass character. I think Hammett is trying to convey that heroes aren’t always good.

Brigid O’Shaughnessy (whom I will refer as Brigid because her last name is long) is a complex character in which that she appears to be a typical damsel-in-distress but suppose to be “a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime.

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