While recently rewatching Batman: The Animated Series and subsequent movies 1 2, I noticed characters frequently exhibited traits symptomatic of psychological disorders. I wanted to catalog my amateur diagnoses to improve my understanding of the show’s characters and the psychology behind it.
|Bruce witnessed the killing of his parents at a young age and was traumatized as evidenced by his frequent nightmares. He blamed himself for their deaths and concluded that he could earn their forgiveness by vowing to fight injustice. He believed he was unworthy of happiness and would be betraying his parents were he to give up his crime-fighting life to embrace happiness.1
|Post-tramautic stress disorder, depression
|Victor tried to keep his dying wife Nora alive using his company’s cryogenic equipment until a cure could be found. Upon believing he had failed and becoming only able to survive in sub-zero conditions through a lab accident, Victor became depressed and motivated by revenge on the man he thought killed Nora3 or upon learning Nora was still alive, attempting to cure her. 2 4
|The Ventriloquist and Scarface
|Arnold was a meek man who, through reasons never revealed in the show, developed a second personality, the domineering crime boss Scarface. Scarface was manifested by Arnold throwing his voice to a puppet dressed the part with control switching frequently between the two. Generally both personalities believed Scarface to be a separate human though occasionally the Ventriloquist was convinced otherwise. The Ventriloquist was afraid of but loyal to Scarface, intervening to save his life. 5
|Schizophrenia, multiple personalities, anxiety
|As a child, Harvey thought his rage led him to land a bully in the hospital and began to supress it. This led him to eventually split his personality between calm district attorney Harvey and furious criminal Big Bad Harv relying on the flip of a coin to make decisions. Both personalities were aware they inhabited the same body with each fighting for control though after an early psychotic break Big Bard Harv became the dominant personality. 6 7