These notes are from lecture in class when re-viewing key scenes from The Dark Knight.  They are truncated and most likely will only make complete sense if you were in class participating in the viewing / lecture.  These are not meant to stand alone.  If you have questions, ask a classmate for meaning.


Joker’s first line: “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stranger.”

Doesn’t follow society’s rules.

Mob scene:

Just enters room—doesn’t follow same rules as mob.

Separate from mob.

@ beginning of scene, mob bosses think he’s just a “clown in a suit” and are not afraid of him.


“If you’re good at something, don’t do it for free.”


He wants “half” (presumably of everything they have).  Again, not playing by same rules.

Doesn’t care about dying—rigged up to bomb them and himself.



Gamble scene:

1st scar story:  Father, knife at mother, “Why so serious?” Repeatedly.  “Let’s put a smile on that face.”  Re-enacts the scene with Gamble.  Silmultaneously directing and writing the scene that he’s playing out in front of us with Gamble.


Party scene:

“You remind me of my father”  this is a cue to us, the audience.  We’re privy to an inside joke.  We know what’s gonna’ happen. Until he tells Rachel his story….


“I just want to see her smile again.”  “

“I stick a razor in my mouth and do this…You know what, she can’t stand the site of me…Now I’m always smiling.”


Now, the Joker doesn’t even follow narrative rules of film and tricks us as audience members.  We are disrupted.  We don’t know what to believe.  He’s unconventional in too many ways.


Also, despite trying hard to be noticeable—garrish suit, make up, hair—party goers don’t want to look at him.


Semi Chase scene:

“Oh wanna’ play?  Come on, come on.”  RE: semi chicken race.


“Come on, come on, I want you to do it. Hit me!  Hit me!” ß one of the most “honest” moments, perhaps?  He has no audience but himself, and perhaps Batman.  Again, indicative of his suicidal tendencies.


Interrogation Scene:

“Nothing. No prints, DNA, clothing is custom, no labels, no name” He has no identity—he “doesn’t exist”. Separates Joker—makes him separate from the rest of us.  Not part of any system.

Face framed in darkness, Joker is literally nowhere.


Joker Dialogue:

To Gordon:

“How’s it feel to be all alone?”


To Batman:


“You let five people die.”

“Those mob folks want you gone, you’ve changed things.”

“I don’t want to kill you.  What would I do without you?”

“You complete me.”

“Don’t talk like one of them- you’re not!  To them, you’re just a freak, like me.”

“They’ll cast you out…like a leper….Their morals, their code is dropped at the first sign of trouble.”

“They’re only as good as the world allows them to be.”

“I’m not a monster.  I’m just ahead of the curve.”


Question we have to ask is who is the real monster in the scene?


“All these rules, and you think that’ll save you.”

“You have one rule? Then that’s the rule you’re gonna’ have to break.”

“The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.”

“Killing is about making a choice.”


“You have nothing to hurt me with.  You have nothing to threaten me.”


Nurse scene:

Dialogue with Dent:

“Hi” Sympathetic Joker.

“I didn’t rig those charges.”

“I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do when I caught it.  I just do things.”

“Schemers try to control their little worlds, I try to show schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.”

“When I say that what happened to you and your little girlfriend isn’t personal, you know I am telling the truth.”

“Nobody panics when I say it’s part of a plan.”


“Introduce anarchy, everything becomes chaos.”

“I’m an agent of chaos.  The thing about chaos…it’s fair.”


Ferry Scene:

After the ferries fail to explode, the Joker indicates how he has to be prepared for contingencies like this.  Batman tells the Joker that he is completely alone in society.  Society, or Gotham City Residents, prove the Joker is alone by not fulfilling his plan.

Joker laughs as he plunges to his death.  Is disappointed when he doesn’t die again.

“You won’t kill me because of some sense of ….” Joker noting Batman’s one rule not to kill & Batman’s morality.  He compares it with himself: “And I won’t kill you because you’re just too fun.”

Joker mentions Harvey Dent.  Calls Dent “Gotham’s White Knight”—significant in comparison to the title.  Joker says that “madness is like gravity, all it takes is a little push.”  This is his final line in the film.  Could focus on how it reflects either his own madness.  Is he mad?  Is he brilliant?  Compare this to his opening line of the film.