The Maltese Falcon- It symbolizes the greed it evokes from the characters. It brings out the worst traits and causes people to do terrible things to gain wealth, at all costs.
The gun- symbolizes the actions that happen that no one sees? i dont know, cause we never see the murders happen. Im unsure of what other symbols there are.
A hard boiled egg- Symbolizes Spade's personality, because he defined the hard boiled detective role as a self-reliant, tough, honorable, clever, emotionless.
The maltese falcon(Again!!) -Symbol of false wealth. Those who seek ways to cheat and lie to get rich end up with nothing at all, because these schemes are all image and no substance.
A phone- Because information and dialogue is an important part of the novel. The witty dialogue is part of the entertainment, and the characters are developed through dialogue. Also, information and false leads are what drives the novel, and gaining information is where most action takes place.
One word that inspires the actions of each character in the story. “Fat-man”Gutman, Brigid and Cairo, the three villains, consistently seek the riches to be gained from the falcon. In the process Brigid murders Spadeʼs partner, while the other two are led on a wild goose chase and end up empty-handed. As a result of their hunger for money, Gutman is murdered, Brigid is ceded to the police, and God knows what happened to that ignoramus Cairo. Seriously. However, even the mighty, noble Sam Spade is affected by the infectious selﬁshness in the air. He initially takes his
assignment to ﬁnd the maltese falcon because the money is good, and seems to be driven by payment throughout his search for the maltese falcon and his partner’s murderer. Only after heʼs received $1,000 from the fat man did he turn
the Brigid in to the police. It could be argued that the clever Spade was aware of Brigidʼs guilt from the start, but withheld his knowledge for personal gain! Hammett depicts the evil of gluttony by displaying the betrayal, violence, and
misery that it breeds.
While Gutman is the embodiment of greed, OʼShaughnessy is the prime exampleof the constant betrayal taking place in the novel. This woman makes Bill Clinton look like a trustworthy person. She lies about EVERYTHING up to and including the point when she is arrested. Gutman is killed by his own henchman, Cairo. Spade is dragged into a chase for his
partnerʼs killer while she is right in front of him all along, that lying harlot. Sam can trust no one but himself, because the Maltese Falcon evokes a constant cloak of deceit from all those who wish to obtain it. Itʼs not strikingly shocking to encounter deceit in a detective novel. But again, deceit is yet another trait that is brought out by despicable self-interest. The characters, unlike us in any way, will beguile, cheat or forsake anyone to secure wealth for themselves. This theme exhibits the human attitude of concern with nothing but their own well-being.
Okay, we get it, the themes are a little redundant, but itʼs not our fault Dashiell Hammett wasnʼt thinking about theme Analysis when he wrote the book! Anyway, the fuzzy line of morality is trampled, run over and disregarded in the heinous acts that take place. Obvious examples of dastardly actions outside the bounds of ethicality include Brigidʼs murder of Archer, as well as the murder of Gutman, etc. But once again, our dear hard-drinking, bad-guy-punching Spade isnʼt completely ﬂawless either. Before his partnerʼs death, he had an affair with his wife. Although he does the right thing by ﬁnding the assassin, his motives are left ambiguous. He appears to have a strong sense of honor (regarding business issues at least) as shown in the quote, "When a man's partner is killed he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you're supposed to do something about it". Because Hammett writes in a particularly objective style, we only know each characterʼs actions, not their inner thoughts. Therefore, whether Spade persevered out of righteousness for his partner, or self-interest we do not know. The line of
morality grows blurrier. The plot thickens. I just wanted to ﬁt that phrase in there somewhere.