Turning Points In The Third Man

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The Third Man (1949) directed by Carol Reed, is a film that takes place during World War II in the war torn country Vienne. American writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) comes to Vienna for work promised by his childhood friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). However, upon arriving to Vienna, Holly learns that Harry was killed in an untimely vehicle accident. After certain events, Holly then is led to believe that Harry's death might not have been accidental due to his involvement in the underground crime world. It was learned that Harry had been selling stolen penicillin from hospitals on the black market which happened to be diluted by so much, it was actually killing people. Holly is morally caught between wanting to help is friend, the man he thought he knew so well but wanting justice for the victims that died by his friends hands. Holly then ends up helping the police to lure out Harry so he can be …show more content…
The moral dilemmas that Holly goes through are the turning points in his character, they are what challenged his own moral values and what led to his own questioning of what is right and what is wrong. Holly followed his code of western morals and ideals until the moment he kills Harry in the sewers, despite the fact he had been the one who decided to help the police to bring justice to Harry's victims. In the end, Holly took it into his own hands because he knew that was what needed to be done in that moment. Harry's nod to his friend at the end was a sign of his own acceptance of his fate and the crimes he commited, he gave Holly the permission to end his life. The morally ambiguous nature of the events that Holly ends up going through, in a city lost to its own morality, only drove Holly to lose his own moral compass of western values despite his best efforts

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