In the movie The Dark Knight, why the Joker choose Harvey Dent to bring him down to his level? Why not Batman himself?

  • 2
    Because he was the white knight of Gotham.
    – user
    Commented Nov 25, 2013 at 10:39

1 Answer 1


The Joker chose all three (Harvey, the Batman, and Jim Gordon), each in his own way, but only Harvey fell completely.

Harvey was attacked through the loved one, done by kidnapping and murder. The Joker gave the Batman switched locations, because he knew that the Batman would go after Rachel (The way you threw yourself after her), so with one move he achieved a strong blow (soon to be proven fatal) to Harvey, and heavy guilt on the Batman who made the choice who to save, and never forgave himself (the guilt follows him to "The Dark Knight Rises", almost a decade later).

This was done while the Joker was in custody, and by using Jim Gordon's corrupted police officers, making Jim Gordon directly responsible for the outcome.

In effect, Harvey felt betrayed by his colleagues and he has turned on them, but in reality, all of them were victims of the Joker's plan.

The Barman: What happened to Rachel wasn't chance. We decided to act. We three.

Harvey: Then why was it me who was the only one who lost everything?

The Batman: It wasn't.

Bruce also lost Rachel who he believed was going to marry him.

Jim Gordon almost lost his son, although not through the Joker's direct actions. However, in "The Dark Knight Rises" we see the real aftermath on him: the events and his consequential crime fighting obsession cost him his family.

Congressman: Anyone shown him the crime stats?

Foley: He goes by his gut and it continues to bother him, no matter what the numbers.

Congressman: Must be popular with his wife.

Foley: Not really, she took the kids and left for Cleveland.

In my opinion, Harvey was the weak link. Bruce and Gordon endured (although, Bruce almost gave in to the Joker's demands, and later became a recluse). They were mostly cool-headed, fighting crime, while Harvey was more into public theatrics (for example, the courtroom scene), and rash decisions (for example, abduction of Thomas Schiff), while completely unfit to deal with the consequences of the actions that were his, and not just his colleagues'.

So, Harvey was the only one who fell, but all three were attacked by the Joker.

  • 2
    Very good answer. In addition the Joker also tried to challenge the Batman into forgetting his "one rule" (which didn't succeed). Though he succeeded a bit in driving Batman farther than before when he built up that super surveillance machine (which was utter rubbish, but that is a different question ;-)).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 14:44
  • Yes. The Joker explicitly said that the Batman would have to break his One rule, and was maniacally laughing after the Batman threw him from the top of the building, believing that he had won. Murderous Batman would, in a long run, have been his ultimate victory in the fight for Gotham's soul. Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 14:47
  • While the answer is pretty much right in that he attacked all three in their own ways, this other answer might provide some insight why Harvey was the most important. Especially the dialogue right after your first quote "Harvey: But the Joker chose me! - Batman: Because you were the best of us.".
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 14:55
  • All three of them were important, each in his own way. I completely disagree that Harvey was the best of them (I'm leaning towards Jim Gordon here) and that is why I avoided quoting that part. The Batman and Jim Gordon did most of the hard work, but did so in the shadows. For that reason, Harvey was crucial and, in a way, Batman's only likely "heir" after the law enforcement transfers from the unlawful vigilante (as the Batman is often seen) to the elected officials. Harvey was most exposed one, and this made him a logical target through which the wide population was to be affected. Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 15:20
  • Hmm, makes sense. Very insightful comments.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 23, 2013 at 21:55

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