Comp 1 - The Dark Knight - Hero or Villan
The Dark Knight - Hero or Villain
The movie of the “Dark Knight” spins a story of good vs. evil. However, to me it tells a story of a greater conflict; that struggle that I think we each must face within our life of whether to take the path that is thought by society to be righteous, or the one of our choice and decision of what we believe in ourselves and of what society should ultimately be.
At the beginning of the movie we are introduced to the Joker who is set on creating mayhem and villainy for the sheer sport of it. He is antisocial in all ways, but seems to have more realism than anyone else. He robs a bank that is owned by Gotham’s gangs and by doing so makes himself a target for them. Batman is left puzzled by this a strained villain who seems to pose no real threat, except that he needs to be caught. Through the movie Joker is seemly one-step ahead of Batman until the District Attorney, Harvey Dent, realizes that The Joker is a mad genius and needs to be sought after.
The Joker presents Gotham with the truly diabolical dilemma in giving the city an ultimatum to come up with Batman’s true identity or watch more people killed each day. Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, wants to give in, but is torn. He is at a point of conflict between true immediate protection of the city by showing himself, and not giving in so that he can continue to serve. The twist comes when, just as Wayne decides that he must comply and let the truth out, Harvey Dent proclaims that he is Batman. At first this works but then the Joker starts killing people anyway.
Joker goes on to kidnap both Dent and his assistant Rachel Dawes, who is in fact the person most valued to both Harvey Dent and Batman - the love of their lives. As the Joker’s plan proceeds, Rachel is killed and Dent is badly scared in separate explosions. Bitter and alone, Dent becomes “Two Face” in both appearance, as a result of the explosion, and in character, seeking revenge for losing Rachel. To protect the Police Commissioner, Lt. James Gordon, and his family, Batman is forced to kill Two Face, even though the public thinks of Dent only as a hero.
With this act toward the end of the movie Batman seems to bring out the age-old challenge of picking between the lesser of two evils. Should the image of a proclaimed public hero, who turned out to be a villain, be tarnished so that the truth can be known? Harvey Dent was the “White Knight” in the public eye but, as “Two Face”, he allowed his internal emotional conflict to control his external outlook on the world instead of thinking it through and seeing reality. In truth, unknown to the world, he was/became just as screwed up as the villainous society he fought so hard to rectified: dramatic irony at its best.
Batman, as Dent’s killer, becomes the contrasting “Dark Knight”. He is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, telling Lt. Gordon that, in order to insure that all the criminals stay in jail, they must never know what really happen. “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I can do those things because I'm not a hero, like Dent. I killed those people. That's what I can be.”
Batman then tells Gordon that he will be the scapegoat to be hunted, but will still protect the city that thinks him to be a villain. Asked “Why's he running, Dad?” Lt. James Gordon answers, “Because we have to chase him. He didn't do anything wrong. Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A ‘Dark Knight’.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote in words so eloquent and so true, “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.” Which shows that even those greatest of heroes or heroines come out of or from some type of tragic turn of events that push them into that path. All heroes start and end some were, but should their good live on, as Batman decides, or should the words of Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony, “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with (Harvey Dent) Caesar ....”, ring true?