In 2008’s The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent famously lived long enough to see himself become the villain, but what if he was never exactly a hero to begin with?
According to a new theory on Reddit, long before the District Attorney assumed the Two-Face persona, he was already living a shady double life. A user by the name of Tyman19 opens their post by explaining that while Dent purported to fight injustice, his profession may have been a mere front for his own criminal activity.
“What if everything we knew about Harvey Dent was a lie. What if he wasn’t the district attorney we saw him as. Dent took a dark fall when he turned into the menacing Two Face and began to take down the people who didn’t save Rachel. What if he wasn’t a district attorney all this time, what if he was actually a gangster the whole time.”
The user then singles out a few moments in which Dent’s darker side seems to come briefly to the surface.
“The examples are when Commissioner Gordon was confronting Dent, Gordon explains that “he was trying to fight the mob”. After he said that, Dent clicked his gun at Gordon. He doesn’t want the mob to be disrespected. You can see a lot of that stuff in gangster movies. Another example is that he has a little hate for Gordon. He argues with him a lot and said to Rachel that Gordon’s dead like he didn’t care if he died. Case in point, a lot of criminals hate Gordon, so a gangster like Dent would hate Gordon.
Another example is Dent has an aggressive and violent nature. He shouts at people when they least expect it. And when he was interrogating one of Jokers goons, he was yelling and being a little violent while asking him on the Joker’s whereabouts. That makes example 4, Harvey Dent wants to get rid of the Joker So Dent can take over Gotham. It might be far fetched but it’s just a theory.”
Indeed, this theory does seem pretty hard to buy. For one thing, it’s difficult to imagine Dent gaining the friendship of the World’s Greatest Detective and the hatred of so many mobsters without some evidence of his shady dealings coming to light. Moreover, those violent tendencies hinted at in the first half of the film could easily be characterized as foreshadowing for when he eventually cracks.
When Harvey becomes Two-Face, it isn’t so much a complete 180 in personality, but rather a matter of all the anger he feels towards the injustice in Gotham being redirected into much darker methods after his mid-film trauma. These early outbursts from the character give you a brief glimpse of the passion that would eventually be his own undoing.
All in all, if this theory somehow enhances your viewing of The Dark Knight then more power to you, but it’s likely that most of us would rather to stick to the tragic arc that Dent’s story suggests at face value.