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Examples Of Greed In The Maltese Falcon

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Greed Expressed in the Maltese Falcon Crime. Secrets. These words are often associated with the mystery genre. What often comes to mind is the common detective story, where a crime and a detective are introduced. Then, the heroic detective apprehends the culprit by deduction from clues. However, in the 1920s, a new era of crime fiction arose: American hard-boiled crime fiction. In this type of crime fiction, a sense of “graphic sex and violence, vivid but often sordid urban backgrounds, and fast-paced, slangy dialogue” is added to the environment (“Hard-boiled dectective…” Ralph Willet). In the Maltese Falcon, a film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s the Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade is presented with a case to find Ruth Wonderly (who later turns…show more content…
In the beginning of the film, Spade is seen struggling to control his greed because he never misses an opportunity to make some quick money even if that involves his collaboration with the antagonists. However, at the end of the film, viewers realize that he still ends up apprehending the criminals. As a result, “Spade’s ongoing involvement in the Maltese Falcon case is a source of doubtful speculation” (“Detective Fiction” Rzepka 196). It is worth mentioning that Sam Spade is an “outlaw hero”. In The Thematic Paradigm, Robert B. Ray defines an outlaw hero as someone that “portrayed the law, the sum of society’s standards, as a collective, impersonal ideology imposed on the individual” (454). In other words, Sam Spade is the film’s interpretation of the law. He represents someone who is “outside the law” and has his own interpretation of justice. In this case, he is even a suspect to his own partner’s murder. Viewers are trying to understand Spade’s character and his motivations while Spade is trying to unravel the criminals’ intentions. On the one hand, Sam Spade is in charge of solving the case because he is the detective assigned to the case. On the other hand, instead of arresting the criminals involved, he makes a deal with them. Furthermore, it is important to note that Spade takes money from Gutman and O’ Shaughnessy to provide the impression that he is corrupt so that he may fit in. As a detective, he is still morally obliged to “resolve” the situation as demonstrated by his response to Brigid after they all find out that the falcon is worthless. In that scene, Brigid asks, “Would you still have done this to me if the falcon had been real and you had been paid your money”? Spade responds, “Don’t be too sure I’m supposed to be as crooked as I’m supposed to be. That kind of reputation might be good for business- … making it easier to deal with the enemy”. Spade
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