Monomyth and Superhero: Batman
How the character of Batman reflects the time and culture of the era (1930s).
- The 1930’s was full of contradictions as the people wanted the best of both worlds.
- The majority of Americans grew an interest in folk culture and tradition.
- Americans were best by great insecurities and anxieties due to the great depression.
Batman’s stages in Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth
- Batman is first presented as a monomythic character in The Dark Knight Returns in 1986.
1. The elements of the monomyth contained in Batman include:
2. Call to action
3. Refusal to the call
4. Supernatural aid
5. Crossing the first threshold
6. Roads to trials
7. Atonement with the father
8. Apotheosis (Apostasis)
9. The Ultimate boon
The call to Action
- In traditional monomyth, the hero receives the call to action (Campbell,
- The call can simply be to stir the hero from within, or bear the news for a change
- The call to action in The Dark Knight Returns occurs when Bruce leaves after sharing drinks with Commissioner Gordon (Miller, 2002).
- A violent, animalistic and primal angry voice preys on Bruce’s subconscious.
- The creature from the subconscious is connected to Bruce being batman.
- Bruce cannot silence the creature. He attempts to ignore it (Miller, 2002).
Refusal to call
- In traditional monolith, the hero resists call due to lack of interest, ill-health or prior commitment (Campbell, 2008)
- Bruce stopped being Batman as a sign of respect to Jason’s memory
- Bruce turns his ear to honoring the promise he made to Robin (Miller, 2002).
- The refusal is also an indication that the adventure is rife with risks.
- Bruce becomes conflicted within himself thus the act of going into the Batcave is an indication of the first step to accepting the call.
- The divine being harasses Bruce day and night (Miller, 2002).
- The creature stops harassing him and becomes an aid.
- Bruce gains the vitality he possessed in his prime.
- Bruce returns as Batman; larger than life, swinging on the Bat-rope.
- Apart from physical abilities he also gains mental piece (Miller, 2002; Campbell, 2008).