How The Evil View Human Life: The Third Man

In Graham Greene’s The Third Man, Harry Lime justifies violence and murdering innocent human beings.

The Third Man. 1949.

Scene: Harry Lime is hiding from police. He is the leader of a black market gang that robbed penicillin from the military hospital to adulterate (weaken) it and resell it. This caused the death and anomalies of many children. His friend Holly Martins catches up with him. They ride a Ferris wheel and talk.

Martins:  Have you ever seen any of your victims?

Harry Lime: Victims? Don’t be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax – the only way you can save money nowadays.

Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t. Why should we? They talk about the people and the proletariat, I talk about the suckers and the mugs – it’s the same thing. They have their five-year plans, so have I.

Martins: You used to believe in God.

Harry Lime: Oh, I still do believe in God, old man. I believe in God and mercy and all that. But the dead are happier dead. They don’t miss much here, poor devils.

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