Let us follow the woman, because she tries to catch the man. She is a bounty hunter, heedless of justice. She wants money; her clients want their money back. The terms of the deal are clear: If the police could help, she would have no clients. – Moral grandstanding is pointless. She grew up poor & entered the high class by fraud: her beauty is deceptious, if the truth about her is ugly, mercenary. She loves & needs money; he has money.
Catherine falls in love with Crown. The plot now seems insoluble: if she catches him, he must die or face jail; if she does not, she must lose him. The law separates two who belong together. They were both looking for trouble & found it. Neither understands the law; startlingly, both successfully pretend to be law-abiding. Perhaps their lawlessness is more conventional than their law-abidingness…
Love may be dimwitted; certainly, beauty wins no wars. Yet she promises him happiness & survival both. The problem with McQueen is that people adore him, which makes him too public, which his manliness resents. Without revolting, he would always work for them; & never be happy for himself. But his manly revolt threatens destruction. Death frightens the woman: he may have gone too far; she may have pushed him there. His aloofness & contempt for the people contradict his excellence, for they cause suffering. He wishes to love the woman without the city & she indulges him, because the city forbids women adventure.
Catherine is a city girl. The civil peace allows her to live: she may be as clever as him, but not as aggressive. She could make him safe for the city if she could reconcile him to the city. She may break some laws, but she is no traitor – as of yet, neither is he. If she could distinguish the lawlessness of love from the love of money or power, which also become lawless, she might save them both. Apparently, love is only accidentally connected to beauty. It becomes urgent to learn what is most lovable.
Ironically, both could have lived, had they not tried to live together. Their coming together is inevitable, being alike. Poetic justice requires that they get what we think they deserve. She underestimates the lawlessness of love, being conventional. Ironically, this is because she underestimates the seriousness of the love of laws civil life requires. She knew love was dangerous & deceptious, but never expected to be deceived herself. She loved being beloved, thinking the beloved gets the good. He was a lover; changing roles tempts tragedy, if beauty hides necessity. Probably, she would have to lie to him for him to learn the truth.