The Dark Knight
A Parallel to Society
“Because he’s the hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now”
In today’s world, everyone needs a hero, but not just any hero, one that they can truly rely on. The movie, The Dark Knight, explores what it really means to be a hero and how society plays a role in who becomes our hero and how they become our hero. In order to better understand the parallels between this movie and society, you have to be able to not only see the symbolism throughout the film but, you must also be able to translate it. By having a better understanding of the use of symbolism in this movie, you will also be able to better understand the theme or central idea of the film.
What’s the point of The Batman? What does he stand for? Batman represents the good that is still left in society, the hero inside of us all. Even though he is a vigilante, when he takes the law into his own hands, he does so in an honorable way. Does Batman kill people? No, never in the film does it show The Batman intentionally kill someone. When it comes to seeking justice, it seems as though Batman will let nothing stand in his way, as if he has no weakness. Except he does have a weakness, and that weakness is murder, the one thing he won’t do for justice. So the hidden message here… anyone can be a hero. It just takes courage and honor. In order to be a hero, you have to believe in what is right.
“They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.”
Throughout the film, Batman is featured as a Christ-like character. When he falls off or leaps off of buildings he is positioned in the crucifixion standing point; this is shown several times throughout the film. Here is just one of many parallels between Batman and Christ in the film. Christ for many is the symbol for all that is good, so it makes sense that the writers of the film would want Batman to be a Christ-like image. Parallels and symbolism that refer to The Bible are found all throughout the film.
When you take a look at the main villain in the film, The Joker, the biblical parallels continue. So, if Batman is Christ, then the Joker must be Satan. The similarities between the Joker and Satan are uncanny. The Joker’s gestures and speech habits are similar to those of a serpent; in the Bible, Satan is called and depicted as a serpent. He licks his lips when he is lying, and all of his s sounds hiss and slither like the snake he is. He is portrayed as a psychopath to help show how ruthless the evil in society has become in today’s age and time. The villains of today are doing injustice just for the fun of it, for the anarchy of it all.
“Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
In the beginning, Harvey Dent symbolizes the people in our society who risk themselves in order to protect us as citizens from injustice every day. Harvey Dent is the voice of the people who want to see a change in their city, the voice of people who want criminals off of the streets and behind bars. He wholeheartedly believes that he can change the world. That is until his spirits are broken by a stronger unstoppable force of madness. In the end, Harvey Dent represents another group of people. No longer the man he once was, as Two-face, he no longer believes in justice because he has come to see how truly unfair the world can be. It’s sad to say but there are really people in our world today just like this, people who have fought so hard for justice only to fall just inches short of their dreams and then fall into shattered pieces of their once good selves.
“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
Personally, I am a strong believer that inside of every person there is good. I think that the writers and directors of this film feel the same way, because this movie takes a look at the good to be found in all people, even the lowest of the low. In the ferry scene, there are two ferries filled with two very different types of people. The first ferry is filled with average every day people with their families trying to escape the fate that lies ahead for them if they stay in Gotham City. The second ferry is filled with Gotham’s worst criminals; they are men who choose to ruin their lives with theft and murder. The dilemma here is that both ferries are given the detonator to the bombs on the other ferry. They are given an allotted amount of time, and if one ferry does not blow up the other, then they will both be blown up. This is a scheme set up by the Joker to show that even good people can go corrupt when they are asked to give up their own lives. But he is proven wrong when at midnight neither ferry has blown up. In the movie, this proves that deep down inside, people are good. Although, in real life, it’s not always that simple or that convincing. While the ferry scene is one of the most interesting scenes and definitely one of the most suspenseful moments in the film, it’s so much more than that. People can change; they can find the good that is living deep down inside of them.
It’s evident that symbolism played a huge part in The Dark Knight. Before, you might have thought of all of this as just pure coincidence, but as it turns out, it isn’t that simple. The writers of great movies think about things such as symbolism in extensive detail. They want for their viewers to be able to relate with the movie and make connections about the theme with the world that they are living in. After watching The Dark Knight, you want to take a closer look at your world. You want to find out who the villains are; you ask yourself what if the people who you think are great heroes will someday fall. But most of all you want to seek out that outcast within yourself, that person deep down inside of you that can make the right choice when no one else can, you search to find your inner dark knight.
“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.”