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Sam Spade: Angel Or Demon?

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Is Sam Spade a good man? I would tend to argue against it. A good man would be oriented toward helping others and his community. He would be mostly free from sin, yet Sam Spade is guilty of four out of the seven deadly sins, and as evidence I offer up his actions contained within the film The Maltese Falcon.

Within the first few scenes of the film Spade's character is revealed as a womanizer. He has had affairs with both his secretary and his partner Miles Archer's wife. Throughout the film Spade also develops an affair with Brigid O'Shaughnessy. By the end of the film, the only woman having relations with Spade that isn't left out to dry is his secretary. The denotations of Spade's personal life are obvious. They point to his being a less than good man and guilty of lust.

Spade also seems to have questionable motivations for his pursuit of the Falcon itself, namely money. After the killing of Miles, Spade can simply quit himself of involvement in the whole affair and tell the police everything he knows. Yet after money is mentioned to him, he immediately attempts to maneuver himself into a position which involves the receipt of a considerable sum of cash. Spade's greed also becomes apparent during his discussion of a retainer fee with Joel Cairo. Cairo offers one hindered dollars, but Spade demands and takes double that amount. Clearly Spade is also guilty of greed.

On several occasions Spade asserts himself over those around him, exhibiting excessive pride. He dominates any conversation he participates in, and When Joel Cairo attempts to search his office by force, Spade reacts violently, knocking Cairo unconscious. When Cairo objects to being slapped by O'Shaughnessy, Spade takes it upon himself to punish Cairo, as if he were a higher being with the right to judge other in such a manner. With regards to Wilmer, Spade is especially derogatory. He seems to give Wilmer no respect with the sole reason being Wilmer's youth. Spade gives the general impression of a person who believes that they are better



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