Mythological Themes in the Dark Night

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Mythological Themes in The Dark Night

Modern day films have recycled ancient mythological symbols and themes that pre-existed many years ago. Themes in today’s films may appear different than those of ancient Greece, but in many ways these themes remain prevalent. One example of a movie that contains mythological and archetypal themes is “The Dark Knight” by Christopher Nolan. This film is about the character Batman or also known as Bruce Wayne, who is in a battle to protect Gotham city from the Joker and other dark forces. The three main mythological themes that are most prevalent in this film are the villain or the trickster, the hero and the mentor.

First, one must understand what an archetype or mythological archetype means, in order to examine specific examples. Carl Jung states archetypes are “ideas that constitute to the ‘collective unconscious’ of humanity and continue to manifest themselves in modern-day symbols, fictional characters, and the like.” (Danesi 2002) Basically Jung is saying that we subconsciously take these pre-existing themes and ideas and apply these to modern day characters. In other words, it is a thoughtless action to categorize certain fictional characters, symbols and themes. Symbols and themes are very important in movies, since nobody is told directly who is “bad” or “good” for instance, these conclusions must be made clear for the audience to see for themselves.

The Joker from The Dark Night represents the classic mythological character of the “villain” or the “trickster”. The trickster wants chaos in society and social breakdown; opposition to authority is also prevalent in its characteristic. The trickster is humorous and mischievous in his/her actions, which comes off as evil and sadistic. The joker is a prime example of a trickster, as he puts the city of Gotham in a state of turmoil and fright. (David 2008) The Joker rebels against all authority in Gotham city, including those in charge of political government,...
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