The Third Man Vs Casablanca

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Narratives have historically centered around the journeys of their protagonists. Whether the journey is to show the development of a historical setting or a character's personal search for identity, these quests are used to not only develop the story, but to illustrate the complexity of the human condition. One of these often complicated aspects of humanity being the conflict between rational and passionate thinking. Two fantastic examples of texts that explore these aspects and themes through the heroes journey are Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) and Micheal Curtiz's Casablanca (1942). These films were shot and distributed during and shortly after World War II. Historically, the war left many in difficult financial and geographical situations,…show more content…
Both stories have different methods of illustrating authority and how suspicion is developed, but the central idea of mistrust is still very apparent. Many of these notions formed as a product of the social climate these people were living in. During war the possibility of betrayal and surprise attack are always high; products of these fears often lead to groups of people feeling that higher powers cannot be trusted. In the case of Casablanca, Rick's quest as the main character initially has him as a passive agent when it comes to what authority figure he trusts or even cares about. However, Rick's journey leads him to eventually change his mindset once he learns more about the conflict at hand. Rick has frequently negative encounters with the Nazi soldiers, as well as being a former American war hero. It is through this that Rick's main voyage leads him to using rational thought, or at least historical events as a judge to find where his new alliance lies. In The Third Man, Holly goes through a very different series of events, but I find he still comes to a similar conclusion. Holly's journey to find his friend's murderer is one that is littered with almost constant misdirection; one of the main sources of this confusion is through the lacking communication between Holly and the police forces. However, after almost half of the film having Holly antagonize the police force as he…show more content…
In The Third Man, Holly falls in love with Lime's former lover, and I believe she felt something for him as well. However, the performances in the film illustrate that there was still too much tension left with the absence of Lime. Both characters believe it to be wrong to follow up on their feelings, especially after Lime is discovered to be alive. In the conclusion of Holly's quest we find that Lime's “real” death at the hands of Holly has driven a permanent spike between the two potential lovers. Holly made the rational decision to kill Lime and end his criminal activity, instead of the emotional action of saving Lime and reuniting the two lost lovers. Rick acts similarly during his narrative when he makes specific decisions to avoid his former love interest, Ilsa. In the end Rick knows that his emotional decision would be to try and steal her away from Victor, her current significant other, but he decides otherwise as it would only damage Victor's chances for survival even more. As well, Rick knows that Ilsa is in love with Victor now, and it would hurt Ilsa too much to make her choose between the two. Both of these heroes choose the selfless decision, despite suffering the immediate consequences of sacrificing passion. These selfless decisions are only exemplified more through
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