Integrated Western Civilization
Hero Cycle Essay-Batman Begins
Joseph Campbell detailed his theory of the monomyth in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The theory of the monomyth or Hero Cycle is that there is a way of telling a story that is hardwired into our brains and that across cultures myths will resemble each other due to this internal plot. The book shows how Humans in general prefer to, and find it hard not to, tell a narrative not as a hero’s journey with an underlying theme. If analyzed most books, TV shows, and movies are played out corresponding to the monomyth. The 2005 release of Batman Begins depicts this through a variety of events and then resolves with the underlying theme of facing your darkest fears. The journey will begin with a call to adventure where the hero receives news of disturbance and sets off to set the world right. In Batman Begins the Call to adventure is depicted through a series of flashbacks detailing the murder of Bruce’s parents and the murder of their killer after his appeal. The two events happen years apart but are depicted in quick succession throughout the movie. The murder of his parents results in creation of his beginning hate for the criminals of Gotham. The second part of his calling is when his parent’s killer is murdered. It is important to note that although the killer was murdered by a hit man in order to ensure he didn’t confess who he was working for, Bruce would have shot him. This has little effect initially on the story but it does later show insight into Bruce’s character. After the killer is murdered Bruce attempts to confront the Falcone crime boss who ordered the hit to tell him he isn’t afraid. The boss mocks him and his parent’s death and throws him out, focusing his anger which originally was turned purely on the single thief who murders his parents into a general hate for crime. While in the dark dangerous areas of the city Gotham Bruce sees the terrible effects of crime in the city, and what a horrible state the city is in. On a literal scale it is easy to understand how this could be considered widely different to a call to adventure, there is no simple call for help more as Bruce simply becomes in touch with his surroundings. On a narrative standpoint however these events act as a device just as a basic call for help would. Bruce has set off on an adventure against crime. Thus although the events within the call may be different from others that is almost irrelevant as long as the effects have remained the same. As Bruce sets into his “quest” to understand and destroy crime, he travels to China and is arrested while working with criminals he is trying to understand. While he is imprisoned a mysterious group known as the league of shadows reaches out him. He is given a task of climbing a mountain to pick a small blue flower and then carrying into to the temple in return for being accepted into their order. The league trains him in hand combat as well as to control his greatest fears. The blue flower is later revealed to be the main component in a hallucinogen that incites your greatest fears. The first threshold crossing in Batman Begins is depicted not as physical passing into a new land but of an internal physiological shift so that the world changes relative to the reformed character. Similar to the time Jonah spends trapped inside the belly of the whale during the semi-famous bible story in the book of Jonah, Bruce’s time in the temple redefines him. On a basic level, he is trained physically and mentally in combat but this is only the surface of his recreation. On a deeper level, Bruce understands to control and use his fear. In a symbolic sense the keys to his inception, is his fear in the form the blue flower. This is one of the first signs of the overarching theme of facing your fear appears within the story. As shown in this scene it was fear that unlocked Bruce’s abilities to fight crime through a symbolic...
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