ongoing debate, does the Joker embody a true anarchist agenda?
“Introduce a little
anarchy. Upset the established order and everything becomes chaos.” One
of Joker’s most memorable lines in
is about his anarchist perception. The Joker ultimately wanted to create
a form of chaos in Gotham City, now the question is whether the Joker
was actually an anarchist or more of a nihilist.
“Pure anarchy of someone who wants to do harm purely for its own sake
and for his own entertainment” stated Nolan in an interview to describe
the Joker. The Dark Knight’s Joker was intended to hold an anarchist
ideology, but would it be better to call him a nihilist to Batman’s
There are roughly a couple of standard definitions for anarchy, it spans
from meaning lawless absent government to a society free from authority.
Nihilism is more of philosophical ethical perception, roughly meaning
and extreme skepticism and rejection of moral principles. Is there a
correlation between the ideological anarchy and concept of “chaos”? Some
self-proclaimed anarchists have stated that anarchy does not include
chaos, but simply the lack of authority or government. It’s just the
common democratic ideal that a society without government causes chaos.
The Joker was a man without principles or regulations, clearly without
laws, but he did have elaborate plans that had to work in specific
manners. In his comic book counterpart, the Joker is pretty much insane.
There is no logic or reason to his actions; he just does things, usually
without any general direction. Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman was more
of a stone-cold killer with direction to a goal, similar to Ledger’s but
was more criminally-driven.
Insanity does not necessarily relate to anarchy or chaos, marking the
major difference from all Jokers (Romero’s, Nicholson’s, Hamill’s, or
Ledger’s). He has always been the clown prince of “crime”, not
destruction of order. His insanity has and will always be
incomprehensible, even by Batman.
Romero was more of literal joker, a jokester. Nicholson’s was more a
narcissistic gangster. Hamill’s Joker (my personal favorite) embodies a
criminal agenda motivated by his lack of guilt. There are debates on
whether the Dark Knight’s Joker is a whole new different joker. How did
you interpret his motives? Was he really aiming for anarchy (the
rejection or law) or nihilism (rejection of values and beliefs) or
something completely different?
Whether or not the Joker is an anarchist or nihilist, another question
rises. If he wishes to destroy order and/or authority, and if he is the
opposite of Batman, does that make Batman an authoritative fascist?