“The Big Sleep” – Is Marlowe a Knight Essay

Published: 2021-09-11 22:10:12
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Category: History

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Philip Marlowe is the principal character in Raymond Chandler’s book “The Big Sleep”. In this story we follow Marlowe as he encounters extortion, kidnapping, seduction and murder in his attempt to solve his client’s black mailing problem. I intend to demonstrate that throughout the story, Marlowe continues to be an excellent example of a modern day knight.
In medieval times, knights were soldiers who fought for their king and country. They were recognized by their king for their loyalty, bravery, experience in battle and courtesy to his fellow people. To have the title “knight”, you were expected to have not only the strength and skills to face combat but also the control to suppress one’s aggressive side and replace it, when appropriate, with a chivalrous side which is to say, courtesy toward women. Translating this into modern times, a knight would be someone who is brave but courteous, honourable and honest, polite and respectful of women no matter what the situation may be and most of all relentless in the pursuit of justice.
Marlowe leaves the Los Angles police force because he thought that they were corrupt and unjust towards the general public. This shows that he is honourable, honest and loyalty to the people he had the responsibility to protect, namely the citizens of Los Angles. It also shows that he is an honest man in a corrupt world. Throughout his investigation Marlowe is faced with many temptations to become corrupt but he maintains his honour.
Marlowe is hired by General Sternwood to investigate a blackmailing attempt. We quickly meet one of Sternwood’s daughters who tries to seduce him but he refuses to let it happen which shows his respectfulness toward women. Later in the book, when he rescues Carmen he finds her naked but, again, we see him act with respect when he refuses to take advantage of the situation because it would not be “right”. He says: “Come on, Let’s be nice. Let’s get dressed” . Another example of his respectfulness is illustrated by the clam that “you have to hold your teeth clamped around Hollywood to keep from chewing on stray blondes” . he refuses to be disrespectful.
Marlowe shows he is a man prepared to work for low pay to find the truth. Sternwood is clearly a sick but very rich man but Marlowe refuses to take advantage of him and charges his usual fee of “Twenty-five dollars a day and expenses” . Once he starts his investigation, Marlowe is driven to find the truth and this drive propels Marlowe through the book. Once he begins, he is relentless in his pursuit of his goal.
Knights were brave, whether its was fighting a dragon to rescue a damsel tied to a tree as depicted in Sternwood’s stain glass window or shooting a man to rescue Vivian as Marlowe did to Canino rather than running away at the first sign of danger when Canino shot at him first.
In conclusion, Marlowe is brave but courteous, honourable and honest, polite and respectful of women no matter what the situation may be and most of all relentless in the pursuit of justice. All of these character traits are those that must be displayed by a knight.

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