Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type




First Advisor

Dr. Kelly Hurley


In this thesis, I will be exploring and developing the character of Batman as he is portrayed in the Christopher Nolan films, Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). These films are very topical and have not yet received the level of literary inquiry that they deserve; Nolan provide us with a popular and modernized Batman story with a dark, complex, and very round character that is worthy of analysis. I hope to show that he is not as heroic as many claim; unlike other Batman portrayals, this Batman is draconian, militaristic, and almost cruel. He beats and tortures criminals without giving them a trial or even reading them their Miranda rights, he is obsessed with the idea of revenge, and he takes power onto himself as a single man. Working with the three films, we see Bruce Wayne’s evolution into Batman; he separates himself into two characters, attempting to embody society and disembody it simultaneously. His desire to fix the broken system of Gotham force him to go outside of the rules he imposes on others, ruining his attempt to purify and reinforce systematic rules. By illuminating his hypocrisy, his injustice, and his repressed animalism, I hope to prove to my readers that Batman cannot simply be categorized as a hero.