A couple of years ago, the entire internet was taken by storm when a fan theory on Reddit started doing the rounds. The theory claimed that the popular DC superhero known as Batman is nothing but that – fictional. And by fictional, we do not mean what you think it means. The theory stated that the adventures of the World’s Greatest Detective are the day dreams and night mares of an insane Bruce Wayne locked up in a mental asylum. There were several fans that started supporting this theory. Why? Because it held some water! Few years down the line, the debates and discussions regarding its legitimacy are still going on.
Now let us try and find out how, if this theory is indeed true, all of this would make sense. The following lines will have some deep impact on long time Batman lovers. For DC fans, what we are going to say is going to be downright blasphemy. But someone needs to see if the theory could be true.
The popular theory popped up a while ago. Called the Bruce Wayne Crazy Theory or the Batman Villain Fan Theory, it reveals that Bruce Wayne is in reality just a mentally deranged patient with acute schizophrenia biding his time in Arkham Asylum within a padded room. After witnessing his parents’ death in the dreaded alleyway, a young Bruce lost his bearings and went full psychopath. This mental illness took hold of him and changed his life forever. The trauma of his parents’ murder coupled with Alfred not being there to take care of him because he does not have the skills to take care of a deranged Bruce then resulted in Bruce diving deep into permanent psychosis.
Bruce Wayne concocted the story of the Batman and is imagining a world where he becomes the Dark Knight. All the villains that Batman fights are just characters inspired by the employees of the asylum he is in. From a distance, this theory is very fascinating. Some might laugh it off as fool’s gold. But we are missing something here.
The villains – they are characters that Batman put into his story. They are the characters that could shed some light into the matter. The human mind cannot actually think up a face. We are virtually incapable of that mental capacity. Whatever faces we imagine are those we have already seen in our walks of life. Here, for a minute, you can try it. We will wait.
So could you? Unless you are not human, the answer will be a resounding no. For all his talents, Batman is still a human. He cannot do something that is not humanly possible. He too is incapable of that mental acumen. When he puts characters into his ‘Batman world’, they have to be based on actual people he met in the real world. The Villains are the key to unlocking this mystery and proving the plausibility of this theory.
We start with the Joker, Batman’s prime nemesis. He is the shadow to Batman’s Light. Batman and Joker have been at logger heads ever since Bruce Wayne put a cowl over his head and a cape over his shoulders. No matter what the Batman does, the Joker is always a step ahead of him. He represents the doctor who is trying to bring Bruce Wayne back to the world of sanity. Like in his stories, the Joker always fails in his schemes to do the impossible. The Batman always wins. The victories of the Caped Crusader over the Joker are symbolic. They represent all the failed attempts of the doctor to cure Bruce of his sickness.
There are other villains in the fantasy world of the Dark Knight that could be based on Asylum employees. And they all represent a part of Batman’s psyche. The Joker represents the fight between sanity and insanity within Bruce’s mind. There are other villains that perfectly fit this criterion. Take for example Two Face aka Harvey Dent. Harvey Dent was once an up and coming Gotham Citizen who lost his mind and became evil. Dent’s story mirrors the story of an insane Bruce Wayne. Two-Face is Batman’s inner representation for a hunger for justice. His parents were killed before his eyes and the Killer needs to be punished.
And then there are Cat Woman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Ivy has an obsession to protect all plant life. The reason is – Plants are weak and someone needs to care for them. Ivy represents Batman’s helplessness when his parents were killed. He could not do anything and as a result, he does not want anybody else to go through that ordeal again.
Harley Quinn’s child-like behavior is symbolic. She is the child within Bruce Wayne. She was once a psychiatrist working in Arkham Asylum. What if she was the first psychiatrist Bruce paid a visit to after he was admitted? Harley Quinn is the link between Batman and Bruce Wayne’s lost childhood he will never get back. Cat Woman signifies Bruce Wayne’s inner guilt for agreeing with vigilantism. When Bruce Wayne puts on the cowl, he is actually breaking the law even though he is trying to protect it. Cat Woman is also a vigilante but she breaks the law for her selfish desires. Bruce channels his remorse into Selina Kyle.
But the most important of all is Scarecrow. Scarecrow is the culmination of all the fear Bruce has acquired all these years. Scarecrow is the representation of Joe Chill firing the gun at Thomas and Martha Wayne – the point where Bruce Wayne got the most scared.
All in all, the theory does prove itself to be hitting where it hurts most. The more you ponder and think about it, the more sense it makes. Is Batman really just a figment of Bruce Wayne’s Fantasies? Well you may not like the answer to that one. Let’s leave it at that.