II/- Batman, a psychologically broken hero
In the last episode of the Nolan’s trilogy as the minutes go by Bruce Wayne slowly starts to loose everything which has mattered to him in his life so far: money, job, his faithful servant Alfred…And his own psychological strength during this amazing and horrible fight between Bane and him. All the fight long, Bane dares to defy Batman in his own dark world : he is not impressed by the shadows and Batman’s special gear and theatricality, he keeps replying to him destabilising answers : ‘ you think darkess is your ally…But you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it. Molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was a man. By then it was nothing to me but blinding ! The shadows betray you because they belong to me. ‘ Furthermore Bane is able to shield himself from Batman’s attacks and to well retaliate against him, until he got Batman’s back broken and throw him up straight into the giant pit, six feet under, among the darkness. From then Bruce has no more soul, spirit, and has to utterly find back his own psychological strength, that is to say to live and to rise up towards the sun…
III/- Bane, a physically broken villain
Bane was sent to this kind of hell too, even if we do not know when and why exactly: the lifestory of Bane is not that cleared and completely explained to us during the movie. Some things are just just told of us by the old doctor who fixed Batman’s back. We just learn that Bane is some type of mercenary who has been sent into this jail for unknown reasons. There when he was young he did protect and help the little Talia to run away from this awful place but unfortunately he got seriously injured by some prisoners who did not wish at all at that time to let the kid go away. From then he will need to be healed until the rest of the life by keeping on his face a mask impregnated with morphine after having been rescued, trained then excommunicated from the league of shadows by Ras’ Al’ Ghul’. He becomes a merciless mercenary, a physically broken one, even if he turns out to be a pretty good violent fighter who astounds us all the movie long. That can be noticed many times in the dark knight rises (2012):
a) When he is half naked in the sewers we can see the huge scar on his back, which means he must have deeply been in pain in his past.
b) When he speaks with people he has got a rasping voice and even sometimes coughs.
c) Moreover he also has troubles moving around most of the time, that is to say he slowly moves and seems to rather suffer everytime he does so. According to me Bane is the kind of villain who seems to have died at least once in his life. Just like the Joker he does not fear at all neither death nor suffering (that can be observed when the first amazing fight between him and Batman in the sewers) because in the giant pit he ‘ has learnt the truth about despair. ‘ (see this very enthralling scene during which Bane explains to Batman what this prison really is).
IV/- Zarathustra, a philosophically broken prophet
Zarathustra is a very uncommon prophet. Because he is not here for preaching but rather the contrary that is to say to teach mankind that God is dead, that mankind must free itself from resentment, that it must destroy the old christian values and to create new ones. He tries to teach a new philosophy and not a new religion (although the way Nietzsche has written this masterpiece is sometimes religious and the book in itself looks like a new Bible or a new Gospel). So instead we can almost say that he is a philosopher. However unlike Socrates for example he is not successful at all. He has troubles explaining his way of considering life to all the people he meets along his trip through the outside world. He is not believed most of the time. He even gets pushed away by some villagers at the very beginning of the book. And when he has the chance to meet people who are ready to listen to him, they are very particular and enigmatic. Also very solitary just like Zarathustra himself. And he also got sick during seven days after having endured the most terrified truths about mankind in the third book in the chapter entitled ‘ the convalescent ‘. This is why I have chosen to call him ‘ a philosophically broken hero ‘. But why having chosen to write about him in an article with Batman and Bane. If the relationship between these two characters is obvious, the one with Zarathustra is not. It has to be built, revealed, demonstrated.
As a matter of fact Zarathustra has more in common with Batman than with Bane. Just like Batman he is very solitary. Just like Batman he is aware of the inner and deep duality which lies into every human soul, the good and the evil. Just like Batman he accepts that life in itself is based upon a huge amount of suffering, and that suffering is a way of spiritually improving ourselves. Just like Batman he does not wish at all to be a mentor for people, but rather inspiring people: ‘ I will be back when you will forget me ‘ (Zarathustra) ‘, ‘ the idea was to be a symbol, which could inspire people to be good. The idea was that everyone could be Batman ‘ (Bruce Wayne to the young police officer Blake, in the dark knight rises (2012)). Just like Batman (and like Bane somehow) Zarathustra must die (not physically dying, rather be physically and psychologically destroyed) by going down towards common towns and common people, in order to reborn and to get higher (Batman spends his nights ruling the darkness and the worst lower parts of Gotham City but he lives among the heights of it). Just like Batman Zarathustra tries to save people from themselves but gets pushed away. They know a long exile. However both of them are not resentful towards these people and keep helping them as much as they can.
V/- Further readings
– Thus spoke Zarathustra, 1885, Friedrich Nietzsche.
– Air and Dreams, 1942, Gaston Bachelard.