Personal Response Essay Plan Only for The Dark Knight the Moral Conflict of Batman

This Resource is for students Studying ‘The Dark Knight’ as a Personal Text Response for Year 11 VCE Curriculum AOS1 Reading & Exploring Texts

Prompt:  “It’s what you do that defines you”. (quote Batman) In the film ‘The Dark Knight’, is Bruce Wayne a moral philosopher?

Define words = moral = ethical/good/honest/decent

philosopher = truth seeker / seeker of justice

Analytical Essay Structure Using TEEL+ Personal Response =

  1. Introduction = Context / Main Contention / Main points / Message of Director / Personal View
  2. Body Paragraph 1 = Topic Sentence / 1st main point / evidence / explanation / personal view & values / link back to topic & message of Director
  3. Body Paragraph 2 = Topic Sentence / 2nd main point / evidence / explanation / personal view & values / link back to topic & message of Director
  4. Body Paragraph 3 = Topic Sentence / 3rd main point / evidence / explanation / personal view & values / link back to topic & message of Director
  5. Conclusion = Briefly restate Main Contention / Personal view & values / Message of Director

Director Christopher Nolan explores a number of moral and ethical questions in his film ‘The Dark Knight’ that highlight the humanity and fallibility of the ‘superhero’ myth ‘Batman’ placing his actions under scrutiny. At critical moments in the film, and as a result of his humanity, Batman must choose between two negative outcomes, that places his moral belief system under pressure. When Batman makes decisions, he must discard some values in favour of others, and in the process, he reveals his personal moral code that ‘it’s not what you do that defines you’. His approach to crime also places the superhero’s morality in the hands of his enemies, leading Batman to make troubling decisions as he attempts to stop the villains. I consider the film shows that Bruce Wayne is a moral philosopher because what differentiates him from the villains of Gotham is through his belief in the city’s potential for good, a belief which all of his enemies have abandoned.

Body Paragraph 1 = Background / Who or what causes problems

Focus on = background to Bruce Wayne & Batman’s life / Batman does not have superhuman powers like Superman / he is really only a man / leading a double life takes commitment / cardinal rule never to kill his enemies / the film asks what is the cost of human life? / When is it acceptable to compromise principles in society in order to survive a clear and present danger? / are people basically good or evil? / is it worth being good? / personal response – the film reflects the moral complexity of our own society

Body Paragraph 2 = Response / how do individuals or groups respond to problems

Focus on = moral and ethical choices / save the life of his love Rachel or crime fighting DA Harvey Dent / Batman has to choose and eventually loses both Rachel and Dent as a result of his limitations / Gotham City is in a moral and physical crisis / Rachel says ‘this city is rotting’ /the Joker attempts to dismantle and destroy societal moral codes / Batman must decide whether to save the Joker as he falls off the building’s edge / Batman could justify the Joker’s death as self-defence / yet he chooses to save the falling villain at the last moment – personal response – Batman faces the Joker’s biggest test – he does not kill him – he chooses not break his one rule never kill his enemy

Body Paragraph 3 = Consequences / Legacy for society and individuals

Focus on = does the end justify the means? / Should Batman lie in order to sacrifice himself for Dent’s reputation? / Batman is the hero Gotham deserves he is not the hero they need / sometimes truth isn’t good enough, sometimes people deserve more / Batman must face the consequences of his actions as the result of his humanity / personal response – in this way believes in the potential of Gotham’s citizens, he refuses to abandon them to crime and despair and hopes for a brighter future for Gotham

All Resources created by Online Tutoring using Zoom for Mainstream English Students in the Victorian VCE Curriculum

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