Batman, the Riddler, and Borderline Personality Disorder

Batman, the Riddler, and Borderline Persona Dysfunction


Wiired journal just lately requested me to debate “each” live-action Batman film villain for its YouTube channel. (In case you are questioning, I don’t make a cent for telling you that.) Due to the video’s quick tempo, numerous my elaboration wound up on the slicing room flooring, so to talk. That is to be anticipated. I stay happy with the expertise and grateful for the invitation to speak.

Nonetheless, I am all the time cautious after I talk about psychological subjects which may be poorly understood by the general public. Though utilizing fictional characters as examples for explaining actual human nature spares us the issues of discussing dwelling, respiratory human beings, any public discourse on a selected psychological sickness or persona dysfunction nonetheless raises points that contact the lives of dwelling, respiratory human beings.

One factor I’ve observed is that the Riddler is often depicted as one of the narcissistic of Batman’s foes (Langley, 2012, 2022). Within the model of the character within the movie Batman Perpetually, although, he appears nearer to displaying borderline persona dysfunction. Whereas the 1995 movie’s psychologist character means that the Riddler could match a fictional prognosis (it was not within the diagnostic handbook DSM-IV on the time, American Psychiatric Affiliation, 1994), she does describe some features of borderline persona dysfunction. (Cannot a screenwriter name an expert or a minimum of open a DSM?) Beforehand (Langley, 2022, p. 320), I’ve written about that character depiction:

[Batman Forever‘s Riddler] seems to have borderline persona dysfunction, an unstable, incomplete identification characterised by chaos in a single’s ideas, moods, actions, and self-concept… Edward’s [the Riddler] particular signs embrace splitting, categorizing folks in constructive and unfavorable extremes, switching abruptly between idealizing and demonizing the identical particular person as indicated by his vacillating views towards Bruce Wayne. ‘You are my idol,’ he tells Bruce at their first assembly, the place Edward initially impresses Bruce together with his ingenious concepts, solely to press too exhausting and blow his likelihood to get the multimillionaire to fund his analysis. Hero worship inverts into harmful obsession. Eddie stalks Bruce, anonymously leaving him riddles with sinister overtones.

Travis Langley

Riddler cosplayer at San Diego Comedian-Con Worldwide.

Supply: Travis Langley

To a point, this description might also match the character’s incarnation as performed by Paul Dano, much less chaotically however extra devastatingly, on this month’s blockbuster movement image The Batman.

Batman Perpetually‘s Riddler, Edward Nygma, idolizes Bruce Wayne. The Batman‘s Riddler, Edward Nashton, (Nashton could also be an alias) idolizes Batman. Every Edward imagines that the connection he feels to Bruce/Batman have to be reciprocal. He fantasizes that they may hit it off properly, bond, and change into pals after they lastly meet, solely to seek out that his idol rejects each him and his grand plan. Crestfallen, upset that the assembly doesn’t reside as much as expectations, Edward rages. In the event that they can’t be buddies, they are going to be foes.

Does any of that match Batman himself? Batman Perpetually‘s Bruce Wayne (performed by Val Kilmer) could also be an entire particular person, pretty well-adjusted and in management, as he manages the balancing act of sustaining a life as Bruce Wayne and nocturnal actions as Batman.

In The Batman, nonetheless, his life is way from fulfilling, and his personal identification doesn’t appear entire. As Bruce Wayne, he barely exists. He neglects the general public facade altogether, generally to his personal detriment, and to the purpose of failing to take care of the inherited enterprise that funds his mission.

All through the 2022 movie, the Riddler, Catwoman, and others will power Bruce to face his privilege and to understand he must take higher accountability in different areas of life. Whereas the Riddler and Batman each have incomplete lives and present little concern for who they’re as Edward and Bruce, the movie’s eponymous hero a minimum of appears to indicate that he can be taught to increase his life’s roles.


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