Batman. Bane. Zarathustra. Why having called them ‘living-deads’ ? Because each and everyone of them have lived among the heights with common living people and then have been sent six feet under and spiritually (and also physically a bit) died among the depths and the darkness for ages. Each and everyone of them had to come back to life just after having met death, nihilismn and despair either in an awful prison (Batman and Bane) or in the real world among other human beings (Zarathustra). Each and everyone of them has to rise again, to go beyond themselves, that is to say to become stronger men than they had been.
I/- The importance of going down and rising up…
In both Zarathustra and Batman’s own universes lies an important item, a feature upon which all these characters are based: going deeply down and rising up…This double movement is a spiritual and a spatial one: in any universe (Zarathustra’s one and Batman’s one) it means that human beings must necessarily go through hell before feeling better. They must be burnt down before rising from their ashes. As Harvey Dent says in the dark knight, ‘ But the night is darkest before the dawn. ‘
1)…In Batman’s universe.
In the dark knight rises (2012), this double movement is symbolised by this jail, this giant bleak pit into which both Batman and Bane have been sent. This prison has been created for one and only one reason: torturing men psychologically and physically in a very specific way. As Bane has explained it to Batman this jail is the worst place on earth in which he ‘ has learnt the truth about despair ‘. According to him true despair cannot exist without an ounce of hope. In this jail hope has been given to the prisoners in many ways:
a) Given that it is a roofless place, the sunlight can go through the giant pit and make prisoners remind that freedom and the outside world are within an easy reach. The sun obviously represents the hope itself which pushes and motivates all the prisoners to escape.
b) Prisoners have been given the right to escape but in a very vicious way though: they must climb all over the walls of the pit until its edge after having tied themselves up to a rope in case they would fall down. Unfortunately the walls of this prison are very rough, and the stones from which the prisoners can jump in order to go out until the edge of the pit get shorter as they go higher. Therefore it is almost impossible to succeed in escaping from this hell. Most of the time prisoners just get themselves killed. (Yet two persons on earth were capable of escaping from this pit: Bruce Wayne and Talia As’ Ghul, Ras’ Al Ghul’s own daughter…).
c) The giant piant symbolizes the world of darkness in which Bruce Wayne has been living since he was born. It echoes back to a smaller pit in Batman Begins (2005) in which the little Bruce Wayne first meets his own and major fear, a bat, before having been rescued by his father who tells him at that moment: ‘ why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up ‘.
2)…In Zarathustra’s universe
In thus spoke Zarathustra (1885) unlike Batman and Bane Zarathustra does not spend any time in a prison but in forrests, mountains and some villages. But just like them he has to know the worst, to endure some forms of solitude and suffering before evolving into someone stronger spiritually. The double movement of going down and rising up can be easily noticed through three passages:
a) At the beginning of the book in the prologue Zarathustra after having peacefully lived for 10 years in a cave among the mountains decides to go down and live anew with human beings in order to announce them that God died, and to teach them the Overman. Unfortunately he did not succeed at all and got gratingly pushed away by some villagers. He has to endure solitude until being able again to live with people who this time will be able to carefully listen to what he wants to teach them.
b) In the first book Zarathustra in the part entitled ‘of the tree on the mountain’ Zarathustra explains to a young man who seemingly years to be a better person (in a moral way) that he cannot deny this truth about men: ‘ why are you afraid? A man is like a tree. The more he wants to get higher towards the heights and the light, the more his roots go down deep into the earth, among the darkness, close to the evil […] For the moment you are not free yet. You are still looking for freedom. You want to get higher, your soul is thirsty for stars. But your wrong instincts are thirsty for freedom too. ‘
c) In the third book Zarathustra has to face ‘ the heaviest thought/weight/burden which can exist ‘, that is to say the ‘ eternal recurrence. ‘ In order to face, once and again he has to suffer, to take a hard path through the mountains and to meet a strange dwarf who will reveal him this mysterious idea, vision, called the ‘ eternel recurrence ‘, which is, after all, the main idea upon which thus spoke Zarathustra (1885) is based.