The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What sets this Batman movie apart from other films about the caped crusader?

    Christopher Nolan is known for combining impressive special effects and high-impact action sequences with compelling stories that ask philosophical questions. The Dark Knight looks at the traditional comic book character and stages huge action sequences within which he maneuvers, but it also asks complex moral questions about identity, sacrifice, order, and the greater good. The reason it seems to have captivated so many audiences is because of its combination of thematically profound topics with impressive action sequences.

  2. 2

    Why does Batman take the fall for Harvey Dent at the end?

    At the end of the film, after Batman saves Lieutenant Gordon from Two-Face, he realizes that he must take the blame for the murders Two-Face committed, in order to preserve Harvey Dent's reputation. Gordon and Batman agree that if the public learns about Harvey's corruptibility, all of his good work will be for naught. Harvey put so many criminals in jail and was such a beloved and respected DA, that if the citizens of Gotham learned what an evil man he became, the city might once again descend into chaos and crime. Thus, Batman realizes that, although he is "the hero Gotham deserves," he is not the hero they "need" at this particular moment.

  3. 3

    What is the Joker's ethos?

    Where Batman has a strong code that he follows and a sense of structure that governs everything he does, the Joker is completely the opposite, and only wants to create chaos wherever he goes. Perhaps one of his most terrifying and unhinged qualities is the fact that he does not have a very clear or strong motive, other than his desire to create destruction and chaos. At one point, he confesses that he believes that everyone has this darker and destructive side, but that he is just "ahead of the curve." The Joker's ethos boils down to the fact that he thinks having an ethos or a sense of right and wrong is futile. As Alfred says, he is someone "who just wants to watch the world burn."

  4. 4

    What is Bruce Wayne's major moral conflict in the film?

    Bruce Wayne lives a double life as Batman because he knows that he can prevent crime and destruction from overtaking Gotham. There are moments in the film when he expresses a desire to stop being Batman and simply have a normal life. This creates a moral conflict, however, because he cannot decide if he has an adequate successor in Harvey Dent, or if leaving his cape and suit behind would only mean bad things in Gotham's future. In his personal life, Bruce would like to settle down and be with Rachel, but he cannot decide whether pursuing his own personal desires is right.

  5. 5

    Many have cited Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker as one of the greatest film performances of all time. Discuss why that might be.

    As the Joker, Heath Ledger exhibits a lack of inhibition and an unhinged oneness with the character that makes the villain that much scarier. Director Christopher Nolan said that Ledger's performance even surprised him, and that he made the Joker especially scary in the way he approached the role. Ledger worked closely with the costume and makeup department to construct his character, and was exceedingly spontaneous and unpredictable throughout rehearsals and shooting.