PSY 202 Extra Credit Paper
“Dark Knight” was a smash hit for it’s fame, explosions, and chase scenes, but what really had me on the edge of my seat was perhaps the most riveting villain I had ever seen. The Joker. The Joker is a mob-backed terrorist with suicidal tendencies and According to the DSM, the joker would be given the diagnoses of Antisocial personality disorder. He is not reasonable, he’s not afraid of anything, and the last thing he cares about in the world is himself. As Alfred explained to Bruce, “Some men just want to watch the world burn Individuals with an Antisocial Personality Disorder show a lack of concern toward the expectations and rules of society and usually frequently become involved in at least minor violations of the rules of society and the rights of others. A popular term for this type of individual is “sociopath”. Although the diagnosis is limited to those persons over eighteen years of age, it usually involves a history of antisocial behavior before the age of fifteen. The individual often displays a pattern of lying, truancy, delinquency, substance abuse, running away from home and may have difficulty with the law. As an adult, the person often commits acts that are against the law and/or fails to live up to the requirements of a job, financial responsibility, or parenting responsibilities. They tend to have difficulty sustaining a long term marital relationship and frequently are involved in alcohol and drug abuse. To be diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder the person must have three or more symptoms of the following (John M. Groho) . The signs and symptoms include: (dsm-iv-rt)
Lack of concern regarding society’s rules and expectations. Repeated violations of the rights of others.
Lack of regard for the truth
In parents, neglect or abuse of children.
Lack of a steady job. Frequent job changes through quitting and/or being fired Tendencies toward physical aggression and extreme irritability.
From what I have seen the joker shows six out of the seven symptoms. The Joker is a pathological liar, with reactive attachment issues, scars he credits to either childhood abuse or self-mutilation (he contradicts himself in the movie) and presents with suicidal ideation. Being a sociopath, he presents with a surgically precise id. He can masterfully calculate how he can steal the most money, kill the most people, and as he explains to the bed-ridden Harvey Dent, how he can “introduce chaos”. He is able to temporarily delay fulfilling the desire to kill in order to cause more anxiety in others and achieve an almost orgasmic thrill in seeing innocent people kill each other. As Batman’s motorcycle comes screaming towards him, the Joker actually walks towards him muttering things like “hit me!!” and “Do it! I want you to do it!”. Clearly self-preservation is one biological need the Joker lacks. But why? We may gain some insight by looking at the absence of his superego. Through out the movie he openly mocks society as phony and hypocritical. Sure, they’re all civilized when things go “according to plan”, says the Joker, but as soon as things go wrong, everyone panics and shows who they really are. Rules are false values and principles and therefore have no hold on the Joker. Twice in the movie the Joker explains how he got his scars. In one account he growls that his father was an abusive drunk that asked his son “why so serious?” and proceeded to cut the Joker’s face. He said that he hated his father. It seems as though from an early age the Joker let his id control his personality and with a broken ego he experiences a certain detachment from reality. As Alfred explained to a confused Bruce Wayne, “some men just like to watch the world burn”. After some reflection, I submit that the Joker is out to prove a point. Throughout the movie he has an avid contempt for social structure and norms...
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