Samuel Spade In Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon

776 Words4 Pages
The protagonist of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, Samuel Spade, is a very mysterious man; one who trusts only himself. He solves the problems he encounters alone, and without the help of authority. To him, both the laws and ideas of morality get in the way of his work as a detective. This leads to assumptions that, as a person, he is immoral, to the extent that he is considered similar to the devil. There are comparisons between him and the devil throughout the novel - The author goes out of his way to refer to Spade as a “blonde Satan”(3). Spade’s goal is to outsmart those around him and to emerge winning in the competition of intelligence between him and Gutman, the main antagonist of the book. Even Brigid O 'Shaughnessy, Spade’s potential love interest, is caught in the middle of this “game”, causing both her and Spade to have problems. He likes to manipulate people, tricking them into telling him information so that he can proceed with his schemes. Spade, as a character, was written to confuse the reader, given his difficult to understand personality. As a character that operates on his own strict moral code, it…show more content…
His need to win drives him more than love or any other emotion. That drive could be mistaken as detachment from emotions because of how strong it is. It became obvious when he gave up Brigid, Gutman, Cairo and Wilmer to the police in order to save himself, after he had told Gutman he wouldn’t that he has a great self interest. A characteristic that some force of evil may be portrayed as. Spade gives the impression that he thinks he knows everything and owns the world. “ ‘I know what I’m talking about,’ he said in a low, consciously patient, tone. ‘This is my city and my game.’” (177) The word game is also brought up again representing that his drive to win is overall a major part of his
Open Document