Tried to delve deeper into the overall meaning of the ego within noir or The Maltese Falcon, enjoy!
3rd Analysis: Digging Deeper
“Spade’s face became pale and hard. He spoke rapidly in a low furious voice: ‘Think again and think fast. I told that punk of yours that you’d have to talk to me before you got through. I’ll tell you now that you’ll do your talking today or you are through. What are you wasting my time for? You and your lousy secret! Christ! I know exactly what that stuff is that they keep in the subtreasury vaults, but what good does that do me? I can get along without you. God damn you!” (Page 109, last paragraph)
This is it. This is the boiling point for Sam Spade, the hardboiled detective, that truly reveals what he’s capable of. Through the entirety of The Maltese Falcon, Spade has remained cool headed, under control, and able to contain his ego. Yet, with the fat man or “G”, Sam fully embodies his masculinity and demands control over the only character who could likely have him killed at the flick of a wrist. His ego has taken over and pushed him to his maximum, what does this mean for the other characters or the story?
The Maltese Falcon and the noir genre has revealed its base being built upon sexuality, masculinity, and gender, but the thing that can effect how any given character will work with these traits is their ego. Spades ego, now revealed to be bolstered and solid, is his support and his success. It is how he pushes himself to be better and stronger…and on several occasions to get what he wants (which is in reality just about everything he does).
However, how could the detective be a perfect character? A strong man with an ego to back everything up, but an ego that could be his downfall or even a denial of weakness. Spade knows this “G” is strong, even with annoying henchmen, and could potentially ruin him. So he must push back hard…but what of his other situations? His ego is a cover for what truly is a man that can’t be an honest boyfriend or someone full of greed.
This applies for all the other characters as well! Their own ego or stature is only what they tell themselves. Brigid and her timid or even violent outburst, Cairo’s bashful yet persistent pleas for information, the Police’s belief in their own cause, and once again Sam’s twisted thought of what is right through his own means.
The characters of Noir are only as good as their ego allows them to be, that built up with the mentioned trio of traits is what truly makes the character. The sickening part of Noir’s or atleast The Maltese Falcon’s main detective’s ego is that it isn’t just a factor into the characters confidence, but also what reinforces his pride and self centered decisions.