Double Indemnity Themes & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 48 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Double Indemnity.
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The Femme Fatale

Phyllis fits the definition for femme fatale, but in addition to that, her sociopathic profile would define her today as a serial killer. Although the latter term had not been coined at the time Cain wrote Double Indemnity, he certainly understood the behavior of such people and found it fascinating enough to build a novel around it.

Unlike many writers, Cain is not content to rely on the simplistic view of the femme fatale, who uses her wiles to seduce an otherwise upright man into criminality and, sometimes, murder. The theme with which Cain appears to be obsessed is that evil can be contagious, and certain human beings, like Walter, are predisposed to catch the disease.

Walter is portrayed as a man who is already a criminal by inclination, although he has not yet committed any serious crime that the reader knows of. It is...

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This section contains 841 words
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Buy the Double Indemnity Study Guide
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