The main conflicts in the world of The Dark Knight Returns revolve around escalating crime in Gotham city and forces of the authority attempting to control it. The authority should be a moral force and represent justice. The figures that represent the authority should be selfless and work only to promote the integrity of law and order. Authority proves to be contradictory in Miller’s novel as the authoritative figures express qualities of vigilantism and overall moral ambiguity.
The first example of a figure that contradicts his morals and skews the integrity of the authority is the president (assumed to be Ronald Reagan). In the novel Reagan is fed up with Batman’s movement of illegal actions. He uses Superman as a political pawn to kill batman, as he is “bad for business”(Miller, 84). What they are doing is outside of the law and deeming Reagan a hypocrite as he is acting like a vigilante himself. Going above the law to employ a legal vigilante in superman proves Reagan to go against his own moral integrity and contradicts the authority as a whole.
Another example of how authority is paradoxical in the Dark Knight Rises is exhibited by the questionable morals of Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. Gordon should display actions that abide by the rules of law and order yet he continually works above the law. For instance, he kills a seventeen-year-old mutant grunt and continually works with Bruce/Batman (Miller, 59, 46). Gordon again goes above the law by allowing the mutant leader to escape prison for Batman to face him (Miller, 98). Gordon does this because he agrees with the notion that men need to die for a war to be won. He also states that Batman is too big to be judged, implying that Batman is a force beyond good and evil (. By continually condoning Batman’s illegal actions and committing actions against the law, Gordon himself acts as a vigilante and contradicts how the authority should function. The main figure of authority in the novel is...
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