February 23, 2011 7 Comments
Contributing writer David Shankle gives yet another angle on Batman: Dark Knight
Nietzsche, in The Birth of Tragedy, used the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy from Ancient Greece to explain the constant struggle between Apollo’s order (law, beauty, reason) and Dionysos’ chaos (hedonistic appetites, drunkenness, sexual urges, primal instinct). The light side and the dark side. Thus, as this reasoning goes, to totally repress the darkness would be to remain ignorant, and thus misunderstand reality as it as only understood in the Apollonian context. So Nietzsche proposed that these two elements were not opposing, but rather complementary.
Batman, the Dark Knight, represents Apollo. He operates on vitruous principles and seeks law, order and justice above all things. The Joker represents Dionysos: he seeks chaos and ultimately the disruption of order. He doesn’t value material things. When rewarded with a room-full of money, he dispassionately doused it with gasoline and set it on fire. He is therefore a philosophical villain, viewing the order enforced by Batman as a mere illusion. The Joker intends to show Gotham City that these delusions of order, their “system,” is feeble. This is further highlighted when The Joker talks to Harvey Dent (Two-Face) in the hospital. Read more of this post