The Joker's background?

Discussion in 'The Dark Knight' started by Ardent15, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    Thanks :) Though you have to take valium once you're done :p
    To further elaborate. Joker claiming to be an 'agent of chaos'. To me, that rings true. Chaos is Joker's main foundation for the world he wants to create. He's very much aware of his actions in TDK. Without rules of right and wrong, the sheer rule of living under strict authority, the world would descend into chaos.

    Joker forces several people to do things they don't want to do in TDK. He forces others to kill one another for survival. So in Joker's world, if you're like him, you can live in it. Because once he sees people giving in to his chaos image and 'screw all rules' world, he thinks he's winning. Joker wants and needs to spread his ideals unto everyone. He cant understand why people are living in the social norm, and wants to change how we operate as a decent society.

    That's the case of mentally ill people though, they don't see the wrong in what they're doing.

    His wife. As we know from TKJ. Joker conjures things up in his mind at anything he sees. He has a vivid imagination, and can create a story in his mind that he believes is the truth, until another 'truth' enters it. I know that there is a psychological disorder that can actually cause that, but I cant be precise at what it is exactly. Some form of psychosis I think. Its living in his own fantasy world, so it might be schizophrenia.

    There is nothing to suggest that Joker wasn't married, but I'm guessing it was just trying to tell Rachel a story about his scars. Using a woman he loved as an example to get the proper effect he wanted on her. Chilling :hehe:

    Most interesting, is why he keeps telling stories about his scars. To me, that is probably what traumatised him the most, as he keeps talking about them. Licking his lips, to get them constantly noticed? It seems like a very subtle sign of him actually crying out for help, even without him taking much notice to it.

    He keeps talking about the scars, wanting them to get attention. Almost as if trying to get others to listen to his troubles. Cause he always tells a pretty pitiful tale about abuse, that others forced on to him and what he did to himself. So his personality trait of forcing others to do things to one another could stem from that.

    I very much believe he scarred himself, but something (not physically someone) down the line forced him into doing it. Obviously his unbalanced mind probably conjured up some fantasy that it was somebody else. His father inflicted them on him, and he did for his wife. So to him, its not really his fault. Always blaming other people, never themselves. Common amongst people that.

    Could've been caused by memories of his past coupled together by his philosophical views and delusions.

    I honestly think before becoming the Joker he nearly killed himself. Most definitely by cutting his mouth open. To do that would have some significance to him. So perhaps in becoming the Joker, he tested himself in life or death, not caring if he would live or die. Thus cutting his mouth to finalize his new life.
    "I believe whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you stranger"

    Batman. To Joker, Batman is his inspiration, his reason to live. In TDK, Joker saw Batman and found his purpose in life. Like in Lovers And Madmen, he finds somebody like him. Batman is his muse. Like in TDK too.

    In the movie, he was obviously inspired by Batman. His plot, it always involved in the two of them coming face-to-face, exactly what Joker was hoping for, for so long. Like in the comics, Joker has that connection to Batman. No different in TDK. Even though its different ways, it was still the creator and the creation. So prior to the events of the movie, he must have seen Batman and thought to himself
    "That is how we should be".
     
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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  2. HisMagicTrick

    HisMagicTrick Thank God I'm Pretty

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    ^^ Wow, that was great to read :yay:

    I definitely think that the Joker inflicted the scars on himself, because of the very fact that he brought them up each and every time. No one else ever did. Not only does he bring them up all the time, but he even puts draws more attention to them by painting them red. If it was somebody else who inflicted those scars on him, then they would be a sign of weakness, which is something that a man as dominant as him would not want to flaunt.

    As to the Joker being schizophrenic, I really don’t think that’s the case. I know Heath called him schizophrenic, but I just can’t believe that. It would be basically impossible for the Joker to pull off the things he does if he did have that particular mental illness. I think the Joker knows very well he is lying, but I also think he has a reason for picking which scar story to tell, although I haven’t figured out what exactly yet.
     
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  3. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    Thanks, man :)

    I agree. He definitely cut himself. It fits in with the image of not actually caring about himself. Like the scene in Brian Azzarello's Joker, where he puts the gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger, there was still a bullet in side, but he didn't care. Just laughed at it.

    I have this pretty chilling image of him inflicting the scars on himself and laughing whilst doing it. It fits with the story he told to Gamble, and telling Rachel he saw the funny side to it.

    You know, he might not actually be schizophrenic, thats a possibility. Could be a mild form however. If it was serious, he wouldn't be in control of himself and his behaviour and actions would be far different.

    But that's a question of what really caused him to become the Joker? Did he research the behaviour of mentally ill people to fit his image? What did he use for his inspiration, that would fit his own fantasy? Clowns obviously being main.

    Clowns are people who are basically walking jokes. They don't take themselves seriously, they spread their fun onto others. You can get away being the fool whilst dressed as a clown, because its all part of the act.

    Joker must have had a representation of a clown in his head and used it. Because he obviously does over analysis things, trying to find a meaning to them.

    The Glasgow Smile. He wanted to scar his face to fit in with his 'new' face. His new lease on life, no longer being tied down by order and sanity. He could have left, he didn't have to cut himself, but he did. TGS is more than any ordinary smile :hehe:, its actually a matter of life or death. He might have died, but as soon as he survived it, he became the Joker once and for all. That fits in with his survival from the chemicals in the comics. Notice how he did it to himself, but blamed Batman? Like in the film, scars himself, but blames others for it happening to him. Refusing to take responsibility for his actions.

    The Joker is clearly an intelligent man, and that high intellect obviously caused him to philosophically assess himself and life around him.

    He's obviously antisocial, and the main factor in that is? Chaos. To Joker, chaos is his view on the world. He cant make sense of decent society and thrives on chaos because its the only thing he believes in. In a world with no rules, chaos would ensue. That would make the Joker happy, because he can finally say to himself
    "I knew they were all like me!"

    To him, the world is mad, and people living normal lives is confusing to him. So he tries to change that.

    Joker is very much aware he's insane. Like the comics. He denies things, then admits to them. He denied being insane to Gamble, but admitted it to Batman. Constantly changing his story. He lives in his own little fantasy world. He lies to others, and he lies to himself. Sometimes believing his fantasy is the truth, until he conjures up another one and realises he was lying to himself but simply shrugs it off. He doesn't care.

    Lying is a way of protecting ones self. So maybe Joker conjures up lies in his head so he doesn't remember what his past was like. But obviously, he didn't like it bevause he keeps sharing how bad it was for him. He can only face up to the fantasy and not the reality. So by lying to others and himself, he's protecting himself. It seems deliberate in cases, but maybe because his mind is so damaged he does it on reflex. Then realising that he was lying, but after doing it for so long, its his way of life and he's used to it. His mind has become obsessed with blotting out his true past.

    He is aware of certain things, not everything, at least until something else pops into his head. He lives the fantasy in his head, then finds another one. Keeping in tone with his psychosis, which he has painted on his face for everyone to see. So he's both self-aware and sub-consciously to an extent about how his mind works. That does seem like a mild form of schizophrenia. His mind in tact, but running on his fantasy fumes.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  4. The Joker

    The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    Rodrigo, you should do a psychological analysis of more Batman villains. You have a real knack for it.
     
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  5. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    Thanks again :up:
     
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  6. The Joker

    The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    If I might suggest one, I'd love to see you tackle The Penguin. Not DeVito's one, but comic book Penguin because he's one of the iconic Batman villains that always escape the label of being insane.
     
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  7. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    Alright, then :)

    Penguin.

    I'd say his main problem is wanting to be recognised for something he's not, rather than what he is. He wants respect. This obsession comes from his looks. He was born a freak and was teased for it. So living amongst the upper class folk, where looks aren't important and money is the main reason why people look at him, that's Penguin's haven.


    I wouldn't class him as insane, but he has definitely violent tendencies. That obviously generated from his childhood. All that bitterness and anger at being bullied for so long manifested into violence.

    His criminal behaviour is at best extreme, but can't be classed with insanity. It comes from his longing to be somebody else. Someone who commands power and respect from being in high class. He's more of a pitiful character.

    He's genuinely not a evil person, and he's not out to hurt anyone.

    His rush with wanting to be top dog in Gotham obviously comes from his desire and obsession to be respected. Penguin wants to be liked for what he has.

    Now we can tell, he strongly wants to be liked by people. He's still that kid with no friends. Wanting to be accepted by everyone, but never had anything going for him. So he steals and cheats his way into high society, just so he will be liked by people. Receiving the attention, the compliments, the atmosphere that he never had when he was young. He did it it all, just so he could 'fit in'.

    Being Gotham's leading mob boss is him being too high and cocky with his life in upper class. Not content with being the most popular person in a special club, he wants it by being a criminal too. So Penguin is high on his own power. His desire to be rich and powerful influences his continuing path of being a criminal. All because of him wanting to be liked and not bullied.
     
    #107
  8. The Joker

    The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    Very good, man. Do you know where his bird and umbrella obsession came from?
     
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  9. Just_Human

    Just_Human Well-Known Member

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    I have different theories about his background, but I thought about this one just yesterday:

    I think he was an accountant :-)

    - he knows where the mob keeps its money

    - about Lau : " i know squealers when I see them"
    He seems to be familiar with accountants
    Maybe Joker was a squealer too ( more on that later)

    - Planning; Joker is pretty good in that area

    - " it's not about the money... It's about sending a message"
    Something tells me his experience in accounting didnt end well

    Now back to the squealer thing: in Gotham Noir, pre-joker dude is left with a Glasgow Smile, and and a note that says " squealer "



    Voila :-)
     
    #109
  10. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    The umbrella obsession, as well as the bird obsession, started in his childhood. They are too separate things however, but started when he was a boy.

    His mother I think was a worrywort, and gave him the umbrella for his health.

    Interesting in that is, that umbrellas are associated with water, and so are penguins. So the Iceburg Lounge holds a great deal of significance for him.

    Also, the umbrella is sometimes commonly associated with gentlemen in suits. Penguin considers himself a gentleman of crime, so keeping the umbrella carries a significance for him. It holds association with water, childhood and upper class folk. Those are traits in the Penguin's personality.

    His obsession with birds, comes from his childhood taunts. He had a beaky nose, etc. He was called bird boy and things like that. But why did he call himself Penguin? What significance did that title hold for him?

    Strange as it may sound to us, he took that by every little detail in his life. Oswald declared himself The Penguin, nobody else did. He obviously recognised as a child, that he did resemble a bird. That has stuck with him a long time.

    So by associating his umbrella with suits and ties, upper class people. I believe he put on a suit and though to himself
    "I look like a Penguin"

    However. Rather than letting his upset and pain get to him, he obviously tried to turn everything about him into respect. He looked like what he was, a penguin, and that was going to be his calling card. The title of childhood bullying, used as a title of recognition for power, money and respect.

    So the bullied and angry Oswald became the criminal known as the Penguin, and the sad and lonely Oswald became a respectable and well-liked citizen.
     
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  11. The Joker

    The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    You are almost right regarding the umbrellas. Oswald's father died of pneumonia after being caught in a heavy shower of rain. His mother was paranoid the same might happen to Oswald so she forced him to carry umbrella around all the time.

    He got the idea to use it as a weapon when he once defended himself from bullies by physically assaulting one of them with it.

    Regarding the birds, yes the name Penguin came from his appearance. But he also fell in love with birds by helping run his family's bird shop. They became his "friends" in his lonely childhood.

    You know, you could make a great thread about the psychological profiles of Batman's rogues gallery. Just an idea :)
     
    #111
  12. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    I see. Its hard to keep track of so many different character backgrounds :hehe:

    That would be a fun idea :awesome:

    The trick to understanding characters is by thinking of every detail that you seen on them. What they do and what they think. To understand them fully, is by looking into their pasts. What happens in their pasts, determines their future.

    Each underlining similarity that every villain shares, is to create and control their world. Every villain has deep psychosis and they must spread it onto Gotham. They aren't just villains, they are dictators. Especially the Joker. He wants to create his world, and control life within it. Batman has that trait too. Gotham is more like a painting to them. Its not just a city, its their creation, their details, their colours. Sane people just draw what they see, but Batman villains change it to how they see fit.

    Batman's like that as well. He wants to shape Gotham into his world, but obviously his purposes are for good. This comes from his childhood. Every other villain act out manifestations of their psychosis. They each want to fit in their own world, by turning Gotham into their playground. But that's where Batman is different. Bruce is Batman so that one day, he won't have to be what he is anymore. He's looking to change the world to change himself. Whereas the villains want to change the world for the sake of playing God.
     
    #112
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  13. A Necessary Evil

    A Necessary Evil One. Bad. Day.

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    Rodrigo, you're writing good stuff man. :up:

    But I still like the whole "there really is no origin'' thing for the joker.
     
    #113
  14. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    Thanks, and I agree.

    You cant specifically pinpoint what exactly his origin is. Even through his speech and actions, it still holds many contradictions and asks many questions that we cant answer.

    My main belief, especially for the comics, is that Joker knows exactly who he was. But it will always be a mystery to us. Joker will never share his deepest secrets.

    I got Lovers And Madmen for my birthday the other week, and I saw a lot of stuff I think went into Heath's Joker, and the film itself.

    TDK's Joker is a combination of L&M, TKJ and Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum.
     
    #114
  15. Ardent15

    Ardent15 Member

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    So I was the one who started this thread, been a while since I've read it. :D

    Some of the quotes from TDK Joker that, IMHO, reveal something about the Joker's personality, if not his (possible) background:

    "I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you stranger!" (Right away we can tell that the Joker's scars betray experiences that have made him who he is.)

    "And I thought my jokes were bad!" (Here the Joker is playing on his own name, since he is supposedly a "funny clown", yet his "jokes" are sadistic and horrific.)

    "If you're good at something never do it for free!" (The original script for this began with "As my mother used to say..." So the Joker clearly had a rough childhood, with his mother very likely being a prostitute.)

    "No, I'm not...No, I'm No-tuh!" (crazy, obviously! The Joker thinks EVERYONE ELSE are the crazy ones, and HE is the sane one!)


    "You want to know how I got these scars? My father...was a drinker, and a fiend!" (If he doesn't hate his father, he certainly doesn't think much of him by saying that he was responsible for why he who he is. Plus, telling a drug lord that his father was a "drinker and fiend" is telling, because it shows that the Joker will make every "origin" story personal to the person he's telling it to.)

    "Look at me...LOOK! AT! ME!!!!"

    Saying "You remind me of my father...I HATED my father!" to Senator Leahy (This is interesting, because Leahy is a man of authority. Perhaps the Joker's father was a man of authority? And perhaps he was a total two-faced hypocrite, who in public was a righteous man of authority, but in private, was abusive, even murderous, "a drinker, and a fiend."

    The whole "So I had a wife" story he gives to Rachel...(again, making the story personal to the person he's telling it to. Also, the "Now I'm always smiling" line shows that the Joker sees humor and irony in the horror and chaos of life in general).

    The interrogation scene (where he reveals to Batman his "rationale" for what he does)...MANY interesting and revealing quotes from this scene, including the following

    "See, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble! They're only as good as the world allows them to be, I'll show ya!" (the "bad jokes" of society at large make people act in what the Joker sees as stupid and hypocritical ways. He's "ahead of the curve" because he is, in his mind, the ultimate and inevitable product of "civilized society.")

    "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules, and tonight you're gonna break your one rule!" (This plays into the "Agent of Chaos", as the Joker later says, the anarchy and seeming randomness of pure chaos.)

    "Don't worry, I'm going to tell you where they are...both of them! And that's the point, you'll have to choose!" (We can't escape death. In the Joker's view, we can only choose who we want to save, but in doing that, we cannot save everybody.)

    The scene where he tells Gordon's man, "In their last moments, people show you who they really are..So, in a way, I knew your friends better than you ever did!" (The Joker believes that one's response to death reveals one's true self, and those who fear death have something to lose).

    "It's not about money, it's about sending a message. Everything burns." (The Joker obviously doesn't care one iota about money, the material things in life. It's the psychological aspect of making people "choose" when faced with chaos that the Joker really relishes.)

    The hospital scene with Dent, where the Joker talks about "schemers" and him being an "Agent of Chaos" (Here, the Joker shows that chaos reveals the fear that humans have of death, and the Joker, as he points the gun to his head, reveal that he is NOT afraid of death. This reveals that the Joker has the advantage over others, because he won't let his own death, which he is always coming close to, slow him down in his OWN "schemes." So the Joker may be a "schemer" too, but on a much, much more advanced level than the other schemers.)

    The ferry scene, where the Joker again makes people choose between death and death (there's no escaping chaos, there's no escaping death, it's just a matter of whether or not you embrace the chaos).

    And in the final Joker scene, where the Joker laughs as he falls to his death (but Batman saves him), the "unstoppable force meets an immovable object" line shows that the Joker can corrupt everyone to death, fear, chaos...everyone, that is, except Batman. So this is why he actually has some respect for Batman, because he is the purest opposite of who the Joker is. He is immovable and incorruptible, he doesn't budge even when faced with the most agonizing choices, with the most chaotic world...he is still Batman. So in that sense, he is the only one who could possibly defeat the Agent of Chaos that is the Joker.

    So overall, the Joker's personal background is not as important as what he REPRESENTS...pure chaos, a relativistic and warped sense of morality, and his goal of converting everyone else to his way of thinking, of embracing the anarchy.
     
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  16. Mister Meddle

    Mister Meddle The Barber of Seville

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    We can analyze the character and speculate but it's irrelevant. The only way we could ever get answers would be to ask Christopher Nolan himself and I doubt he ever sat down and actually wrote down an official untold background story. Everything we guess is just made up stuff because the Joker's origin or transformation doesn't exist. He just appears as a mysterious clown-like psychopath in Gotham. That's how it goes in this movie.
     
    #116
  17. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    But thats why we have psychologists. To understand the mystery of the mind :)
     
    #117
  18. Slushy

    Slushy Well-Known Member

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    The Joker's background?

     
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  19. Gold Samurai

    Gold Samurai Well-Known Member

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    Doctor Rodrigo

    Arkham Asylum's psychologist for the criminally insane

    :woot:

    Next week you have an appointment with Victor Fries
     
    #119
  20. The Joker

    The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    Scarecrow would be good since he's a shrink, too.
     
    #120
  21. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member

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    Didn't the creators of the movie say The Joker has no origin? I remember Jonathan Nolan saying at some point in an interview that he likes to think of The Joker simply materializing on the sidewalk at the beginning of the film.

    So.. there's nothing to really analyze. He's merely the embodiment of evil and madness.
     
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  22. Rincewind

    Rincewind grezdei

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    Everyone has an origin. I remember that thing about him simply materializing on the sidewalk, but I see this as more of a metaphore rather than a literal statement.

    The Nolanverse Joker has an origin, he is the way he is because of something. Now wether he works better as a character if the said backstory is not directly involved is a whole different matter of discussion.
    I like it that way - it's as if those movies are from the point of views of Bruce and, to a lesser extent, Gordon, Rachel and Dent, and suddenly - out of nothing - this guy appears and starts raising hell. Nobody knows him, nobody knows what happened to him - he just shows up and begins doing what he does. That's pretty much how it works in real life too - people have their agendas and their past, and when your path intersects with that of another person at some point, it's like they have materialized in your life. But that doesn't mean they just popped into existance two minutes before that.
     
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  23. Rodrigo90

    Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    :awesome:

    Mr. Freeze. I've been thinking about him lately, as I've been writing a script :)

    To start. I'd say his main basis for being a criminal is love...bear with me :woot: Its love for his wife. She is the reason why he does what he does. But its not just love, its a deep obsession with her very being. To see the person you revolve your life around, frozen between life and death, never being able to talk to her, never being able to hold her, never being able to resume your normal life again must be shattering.

    Freeze is clearly obsessed with getting Nora better, you could interpret that as the healer within him, being a doctor, but it has more to do with a deep burning love he has for her and the happiness she brought him.

    So, delving into his childhood. Fries would seem very depressed in youth, obviously from a lack of love. If he has that yearning for happiness with Nora, that would tell me he was unhappy as a kid. He was a doctor and scientist, proabally branded a bookworm and was made an outcast. In that, I sense Fries didn't care for friends, just his training to be a doctor. He was lonely and longed for companionship, but his wanting to be a doctor helped him through that, took his mind up.

    When he talks as Freeze, very depressingly poetic, tells me he was a fan of poems. Edgar Allan Poe wrote about pain and suffering, and later about love, and then about the pain in that! So Fries read up on them, and perhaps wrote his own based on Poe's work...boy, was he misreable or what? Even being a doctor, he would have known about the life and death elements of his job.

    But Fries was specifficaly a cryo expert. The hope of a life never ending whilst in hibernation until a cure could be found. So what THAT tells me, whilst he was depressive, he clung onto the hope that he would find a happy life. Poems can be about beauty and tragedy, Fries read up on both. The joys of being a doctor and saving lives, and the tragedy of being a doctor and failing to save them.

    Fries cared about the people, he was a good person. He never let anything get in his way from following his passion, and that was to save peoples lives.

    Obviously, his priority slightly changed when he met Nora, the thing he has been waiting and searching for...love. His dedication for his job went into her, when she became ill, turning into obsession. So if becoming a criminal to save her was what he had to do, its what he would do.

    BUT NOW:oldrazz: Why become a criminal? Why turn your back on the people you were trying to save? Why throw away your humanity?

    Pain...As I said before. Just imagine your greatest love, your entire reason for living, was encased in a see through coffin for you to see everyday. Trying to fathom the pain she must be going through, coupled together with your own. You feel her pain, but she cant feel yours. You want her back, but you cant get her. Thats bad enough...but then an accident manifests your feelings to the surface. Physical and mental pain.

    Freeze is cold to humanity, because it no longer matters to him, he can never get back an ounce of his happy life, until he cures Nora. His love and dedication for humanity turned into a tragic obsession about himself and his wife.

    So the job of being a doctor to help people was always second to the happy loving life he yearned for.

    Freeze not only wants to save his Nora, but he also wants to save himself. So that hope he clung onto, is whats spurns him...the hope for happiness he could only find in love. Quite sad :csad:
     
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  24. OctaviusINC

    OctaviusINC Trust Me.

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    Beautifully put, Rincewind.

    I believe if Nolan's Joker had a set origin, we all wouldn't be having this discussion today. The fact that it's open (or "multiple choice" as Joker puts it himself) makes him all the more interesting especially in Nolan's grounded Gotham.I mean, if we forget Joker's legacy previous to TDK, he's simply a terrorist dressed up as a clown. What the hell happened to this guy? Makes you think, that's for damn sure.
     
    #124
  25. The Joker

    The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    Nice analysis of the frosty one, Rodrigo :up:
     
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