Thornhill's Transformation

“Thornhill is an irresponsible, shallow man who undergoes a transformation through his quest to clear his name.”
Discuss this statement and explain why Hitchcock has created Thornhill in this mould.

In the film North by Northwest, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the main protagonist, Roger Thornhill undergoes a transformation through his quest to clear his name. Initially he is depicted as a shallow and irresponsible adman; however through the duration of the film Hitchcock moulds his character to highlight issues surrounding the cold war and thus the nature of identity and the refusal to consider the morality of actions.
In the initial scenes of the film, we are introduced to Thornhill’s shallow side, the irresponsible business man who fabricates facts for a living. Hitchcock’s mould of a superficial man is reinforced within the first few minutes of the film when he lies about his secretary's physical condition and rudely and inconsiderately commandeers a taxicab for both of them from another waiting customer; he justifies it by claiming that he was doing the right thing by making the other passenger, “feel like a good Samaritan.” Through this, we gain insight into Thornhill personality, his disregard of sympathetic issues like illness and his egotistic and contemptuous nature. This is further reinforced, “In a world of advertising there isn’t such thing as a lie, only an expedient exaggeration,” suggesting that he only lives on the surface of his deceptive world of advertising, refusing to initiate any kind of deep responsibility hence displaying his shallowness. Hitchcock moulds this initial arrogance to demonstrate the ignorance behind how people react to the war. It seems as if the war is an ongoing event proceeding in the background, rather than a nation’s patriarchal obligation to be aware of what is going on. Thus, implying the refusal to consider the morality of actions is largely dependent on one’s ignorance.
As danger manifests, individuals become...