Essay on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns; Themes and Analysis

1265 Words Dec 2nd, 2013 6 Pages
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
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This need is so large, that Bruce/Batman cannot truly live or die until Gotham has been saved.

In the beginning of the novel, Bruce has been retired from being Batman for 10 years and his personality is peaceful and complacent yet he yearns for more. This is evident in the first few panels where Bruce is in a burning car and says, “this would be a good death, but not good enough” (Miller, 10). It is clear that something is missing, but it is unclear what the missing piece is. As crime escalates in Gotham, Bruce begins having ruminating memories of his parent’s death and the injustice that surrounded their murder (Miller, 22). Late in the novel, Alfred explains that Bruce is comforted by the idea of justice. This is evident when Alfred shares a time when he tells a young 9-year-old Bruce a story involving a murderer. He explains that Bruce could only sleep when he is told that the villains meet their justice (Miller, 188). It is here where Bruce’s obsession with justice is revealed. As he is haunted by the memory of his parent’s murder and crime escalates in Gotham, something snaps inside Bruce, which is symbolized by his mother’s necklace snapping (Miller, 25). Bruce cannot truly live without justice being served and Gotham being saved.

His obsession with justice is fueled by his inner demon and dual identity; Batman. Throughout the novel, Miller makes it clear that Batman and Bruce are two different

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