Double Indemnity Themes

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The 1944 film Double Indemnity is based on a novel written by James M. Cain in 1943. The director of the film, Billy Wilder, brings the novel to life in a very sinister way. The film is about an insurance salesman, Walter Neff, who gets entangled in a plot to kill an unhappy wife’s, Phyllis Dietrichson, husband over greed. They work together to stage a suicide that is later determined as accidental, but in reality it is a murder. Little does the salesman know, the wife will get what she wants no matter the cost.
This paper will dissect the movie to help illuminate underlying themes and how the seven deadly sins are portrayed. Every main event in the film includes one of the seven deadly sins, if not more. The main characters commit these sins;
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If you commit one of these sins, when you die you will go to Hell. The seven deadly sins are pride, greed, lust, wrath, gluttony, envy, and sloth. Pride is an emotion that shows someone’s personal value irrationally. Greed, also known as covetousness, means to long for money, power, or position. Lust is a feeling of intense desire for the body or objects. Wrath, also known as anger, is an emotion that often leans to hurt or threat of others. Gluttony is an excessive desire for food. Envy means to want what others have. Finally, sloth is another word for …show more content…
Her entire demeanor suggests submissions of anger towards every character close to her throughout the film’s entirety. Her wrath drove her to commit the murder of her husband’s first wife. The anger seems to be outsourced since a clear explanation was never provided, perhaps left to interpretation. The only mention of a legitimate source of protest would be her husband’s lack of motivation for their marriage. At few points her stepdaughter, Lola, also displays wrath. While her intent is nowhere near as malicious, it is clearly brought to her father’s attention in regards to her boyfriend. Third, is the sin of sloth. Sloth is a double-edged sword in this case. On one hand, it can either show that Phyllis is too concerned with her personal gain to pay any attention to the plan Walter meticulously fabricated. On the other it could play to the part of Barton Keyes, Walter Neff’s fellow employee. With his vast knowledge and over bearing will to follow a strong “hunch”, Barton thought nothing out of the ordinary when the case was brought to his attention. He said one

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