The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett is a thrilling movie full of twists and turns and deceits. Each character wants the Maltese falcon for the rewards it will bring. Almost everyone is a villain in some way or another. I will start with Sam Spade. He is the hero of the story, but I would say he is more of an anti-hero. He plays by his own rules. He is tough and a bit hard-nosed. He doesn’t seem to be upset that his partner is dead. I feel that he knew Brigid killed his partner from day one, but for some reason he didn’t let on until the end.
Knowing this he still put up with her lies and melodrama. He obviously isn’t a man of scruples as he was having an affair with his partner’s wife. At the end I wonder did he love Brigid as he claims or was he just playing with her? I’m also left wondering was he redeeming his character by turning Brigid over to the police or was he saving his own skin? I like his character but I’m not entirely sure about his motives at all points in the movie.
I’m not sure how much I would trust him. Dashiell Hammett has constructed Sam Spade in a way so the protagonist has become a feature of the book, rather than merely a medium for the transfer of clue and information in this novel. The reader is given the chance to venture in Spades mind and inner thoughts, Hammett cleverly allows Spade to expression his values, fears and opinions to the respondent and in turn allowing them to associate, trust and relate to him.
In bringing the reader closer to the protagonist Hammett has subliminally lured the reader closer to the crime, the suspects and the victims and ultimately dragged them deeper into the noir world in which Sam Spade resides. Sam Spade, the detective-protagonist is aware that his best efforts are ultimately futile, to the extent that the corrupt urban environment will inevitably undercut and outlast his heroic attempts to see justice done, this sense of Spade wanting to achieve greater justice implies to the reader that Spade is essentially good and is resistant to the hostile world which he had devoted his life to combating.
Raymond Chandler labels Hammetts character of Spade as a “cynical, tough individual who maintains his code of honour in a world tarnished by deception and betrayal at all levels of society” In “The Maltese Falcon” Spade is described as the “blond Satan. ” Whilst his objective and inner good is clear to the readers, other characters struggle to see Spade in his true light, and describe him as a “wild and unpredictable…
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