The Dark Prince of the Republic: Machiavelli, Batman, and Gotham City
Gotham is a fallen city. The city is not only violent but criminality is so entrenched that Gotham’s problems are political, not simply criminal. In the 80 years since Bob Kane’s creation of Batman, Gotham has not improved. No matter how many times Batman upends a criminal enterprise, interrupts a one-off act of violence, or defeats super-villains bent on world domination, Gotham does not change. So how effective is Batman, really? Why does Batman limit himself to stopping crime, rather than seizing the state and running it properly (a la Lenin)? Curiously enough, Niccolò Machiavelli, often caricatured as a theorist of the unethical use of violence, can help explain this.