Heath Ledger’s Joker is No Joke
by Kiko Matsing
Heath Ledger, playing Batman’s arch-enemy The Joker, elevates the character into mythic status in The Dark Knight. Forget Cesar Romero’s and Jack Nicholson’s campy take on the character. Ledger’s Joker is no joke. He is not just ‘the bad guy’, the evil villain serving as foil to Batman’s hero. His sociopathy is beyond good and evil: it thwarts the very possibility of moral order. It is like a force of Nature, a principle of chaos. His Joker is the Tarot’s Fool, the Dahomey’s Legba, the Eddas’ Loki, the commedia dell’arte’s Pulcinella (Punch). He gets away with anything through deception, thievery, even murder. He is the malignant embodiment of the archetypal trickster.
Dahomey’s Legba (by Irving Penn)