Good and Evil – Jared
August 25, 2008 Leave a comment
As most of you know, the second in what is becoming a huge series of movies centered around everyone’s favorite “caped crusader” was released recently, shattering box office records and eclipsing record after record. My partner in crime, Mr. Tilly, dragged my oh so willing backside to the movie theater again to see once again what I personally believe may be the most thrilling, diversely appealing, action packed, and visually stunning film I have ever watched. The Dark Knight has so many themes woven so closely together that the second time through, they became oh so clear. It is the overarching theme of good battling evil that I am going to discuss here.
The Dark Knight in many ways is a collection of plots woven together into a near seamless and complex story. Good and evil proves to be the fundamental root of the story, with the characters of the Joker and Batman contrasting the two sides.
The Joker lives and breathes for nothing more than his own enjoyment of pain, anger, and destruction. The Joker is the “holy grail of evil”, someone that the devil himself would be proud of. This evil seeks to take the best with someone and to tear them down to their [evil’s] level. A depraved and despicable level where more than the established order is preyed upon. The very core of mankind is cast aside and replaced. In the Joker, and hence evil’s world, everything mankind values, life and love, is replaced with death and greed.
The evil of the Joker is a pure unadulterated evil. The Gotham mob, the corrupt police, and the petty thieves and drug dealers fall far short of the evil of the Joker. As Alfred puts it so eloquently, some men “just want to watch the world burn.” The evil the Joker personifies only serves to highlight the good Batman personifies. Where the Joker steals, Batman protects. The Joker threatens innocent life, and Batman defends it with his own. The Joker tries at every opportunity to enslave the people of Gotham to fear and Batman serves as a symbol of hope, despite the Joker’s best attempts. These ensuing battle between evil and good is a fight where everyone is caught in the crossfire. The Joker makes a statement in the interrogation cell to Batman that “you [Batman] complete me.” When good or evil is present, the other inevitably contrasts. But good has one manner of conquering evil that even the wily Joker cannot understand: Sacrifice.
In sacrifice love triumphs. Love is something evil cannot understand and seeks to destroy. Love defies the self-interested greed of an individual and leads them to exhibit sacrifice for another. This is the character of the Batman. He takes the evil that the Joker throws at Gotham’s citizens, and Batman steps between the two, shielding the polis from the evil threatening to tear Gotham apart, even to the point of becoming the evil Gotham fears so much. That is the sacrifice that evil can not understand and is unable to truly overcome.