05:47:54 am on September 7, 2008 |
With all due respect to the late Heath Ledger, who in my opinion gave the definitive portrayal of The Joker (in the The Dark Knight) , i have to disagree when he said “He [The Joker] has zero empathy”.
Empathy is “the capacity to recognize or understand another’s state of mind or emotion”. It is precisely in this quality that The Joker has exhibited mastery throughout the movie. Without such an ability to understand the other person’s state of mind and emotion, he would not have been able to:
- anticipate the moves of one of the bad guys so he can complete his ‘Pencil Trick’;
- recruit asylum inmates into his plot to assassinate the Mayor ;
- trick Batman into saving Harvey Dent at someone else’s expense;
- persuade Harvey Dent to turn into the villain Two Face;
- set-up the ‘social experiment’ on the two ferries.
An insight into the other party’s motivations is a prerequisite to being able to use it to one’s advantage.
So why did Heath Ledger say that his character had ‘zero empathy’? I can only speculate that he meant to say ‘zero sympathy‘. These two qualities, empathy and sympathy, usually go together, but not in the case of The Joker.Advertisements