The Catharsis of a Dark Knight Rising

By Scott Bennett, Ph.D., U.S. Army, Special Operations (retired)



“There is a prison, in a more ancient part of the world…a pit…where men are thrown to suffer and die…but sometimes a man rises from the darkness…sometimes the pit throws something back.” –The Dark Knight Rises   

There is a scene in part 3 of the Batman saga in which Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman (Christian Bale), has been humiliatingly beaten in a fist fight with the arch villain Baine, his back broken, and then is thrown down into a deep, dark pit…the worst hell on earth.  Metaphorically, it is the same experience every person and their family feels when they are betrayed, lied about, and then unlawfully imprisoned by corrupt judges and prosecutors concerned not with justice, but rather their own career advancement.    

On another level, this movie is also disturbingly ironic in that Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had the vanity, hypocrisy, or senility, to appear in the film’s board room scene, supposedly championing professional ethics and defending the hero’s reputation.  A scene completely unreflective of reality I might add, given that Patrick Leahy and his committee were informed by me multiple times about terrorist financing through Swiss Banks, and instead of defending American soldiers whose bodies and lives (and families) were being destroyed in attacks...Leahy chose to hide in silence and say and do nothing.   

Bruce Wayne awakens in the bottom of this pit only to see, on a television installed just for him, Gotham City crumbling into madness and violence as the arch villain Baine unleashes savagery and revenge upon all of the bankers and wealthy aristocrats—a strikingly similar Occupy Wall street theme.    

At this point, Bruce Wayne faces a choice:  he must either surrender the fight and resign himself to wither and die as he witnesses his city, his people--his world--be slowly devoured by its own selfish lusts and greed;  or he must take a stand, begin his climb, renew his will to fight, and commit himself, body and soul, to defend them--and his hope.  For Gotham’s sake, he chooses the latter, and begins his arduous journey of recovery, training, and rebuilding of his strength and soul.     

And the climactic test, which all men before him have failed except a child decades prior, is to scale the rocky sides of the pit to a high ledge from which he must make a giant leap to freedom.  However the leap can only be attempted if the safety rope is untied from around the waist--severing the lifeline--leaving the climber to either 1) certain death should he miss, falter, or be too cowardly to try; or 2) freedom if his faith and self-confidence is strong enough to take the leap and defy the abyss.   

Ultimately Bruce Wayne slowly makes the climb to the tribal chants of “rise” by prisoners watching him from below.  He reaches the top, unties himself, and mustering every drop of explosive emotion and spiritual strength, closes his eyes, jumps, and catches the ledge with the tips of his fingers. He raises himself up, climbs out of the prison into the bright sunshine of freedom, and runs toward the distant final battle to a triumphant blast of horns only a Hans Simmer soundtrack can imagine.


Scott Bennett, Ph.D. (ABD)


23 Railroad Ave, #23

Danville, CA 94526


SKYPE:   armypsyop


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