The Maltese Falcon Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 46 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Maltese Falcon.
This section contains 821 words
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Throughout most of this novel, the protagonist, Sam Spade, seems to be too cynical to hold any deeply held convictions. His love life is defined early on by his affair with Iva Archer, the wife of his business partner, whom he openly detests. Financially, he seems perfectly willing to sell his services to whoever offers him the most money, at one point taking on both Joel Cairo and Brigid O'Shaughnessy as clients, even though their interests clearly conflict. His encounters with the police and the district attorney imply that Spade is more interested in making sure that his business is not disturbed by the events surrounding Miles Archer's death than he is in seeing justice prevail.

And so it is a surprise when, at the end of the novel, Spade's behavior turns out to be directed by a code of honor that he understands clearly and...

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This section contains 821 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Maltese Falcon Study Guide
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The Maltese Falcon from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.