Who Is The White Knight In The Maltese Falcon

1416 Words 6 Pages
Written in 1939 and directed in 1941 respectively, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler and The Maltese Falcon by John Huston are iconic in the detective genre for reinventing what it really means to be a detective in the world of literature. Their main characters are a far cry from the Sherlock Holmes and the Philo Vance type of private eye who never make any mistakes and always get the better of the villain. Instead, their detectives are gritty, hardened, and deeply flawed. However, one detective is more honourable and moral than the other. Chandler’s detective, Philip Marlowe, has been described as “a white knight in a trench coat”, while Sam Spade is called a “blond Satan” by Dashiell Hammet in the novel The Maltese Falcon. Notwithstanding Humphrey Bogart’s dark hair in the movie, these differing descriptions are completely accurate as to the type of private-eye hero Marlowe and Spade represent. On the surface, Philip Marlowe appears to be the archetypal tough-guy private detective. …show more content…
In the picture, the knight is unsuccessful in freeing the woman and Marlowe remarks that “if [he] lived in the house, [he] would sooner or later have to climb up there and help [the knight]” because “he didn’t seem to be really trying (Chandler 4). This is the first clue that the reader is given as to how Marlowe sees himself because it visually encapsulates how Marlowe understands his role as the knightly detective in modern society. Marlowe sees it as his duty to have his own rigid morals analyzed and his honour reinforced through every case he is assigned to. When Marlowe remarks that the knight does not even seem to be trying to loosen the knots on the rope and jokes about eventually having to go up there and help him, this further indicates his dedication to being

Related Documents