VLADIMIR PROPP (1895-1970)Propp was a Bulgarian theorist. In his 1922 work The Morphology of the Folk Tale heanalysed something like 400 Russian folk tales. He found that across all of thesetales, despite apparent differences, characters and their actions can be categorizedinto clearly defined roles and functions (8 character roles and 31 narrative functions)which are summarized here:The hero: seeks something, to fulfill a ʻlackʼ of some kindThe villain: opposed the hero, tries to make the hero failThe donor: aids the hero by providing an object with magical propertiesThe dispatcher: sends the hero on a quest of some kindThe false hero: pretends to be the heroThe helper: assists the hero in some wayThe princess: doubles up as a reward for the hero and the object of thevillainʼs plotHer father: will reward the hero (often by giving the hero his daughter)DARK KNIGHT RISES(which character fulfils this role and why?)Hero Batman/Bruce Wayne – He seeks to save the city fromdestruction but also seeks personal peace; he starts off withoutperpous and welcoming death. He finds his reason to fight,something he was lacking.Villain Bane – Although mainly focused on Gotham, Bane also wants tobring down Batman on a personal level.Donor Lucius Fox – He provides Bruce Wayne with the technology andmeans to become Batman again, most notably The Bat.Dispatcher A couple of characters could fill this position, Selina Kyle promptsBatman into action by stealing from him, Whilst john Blake visitsWayne and sends him out into the world and encourages him tobecome Batman again.An interesting view could be that Batman himself is thedispatcher, giving himself his missions and motivations and laterdelegating tasks to Gordon, Blake, and Cat woman.False hero Miranda Tate – Miranda Tate, secretly Talia Ghul, pretends to bea hero and a fighter for the less fortunate, although sheʼs reallythe mastermind behind Gothamʼs destruction.Peter Foley – He could also be this as he believes himself to bethe hero and in charge. He tries to take charge of the situation as
False hero Miranda Tate – Miranda Tate, secretly Talia Ghul, pretends to bea hero and a fighter for the less fortunate, although sheʼs reallythe mastermind behind Gothamʼs destruction.Peter Foley – He could also be this as he believes himself to bethe hero and in charge. He tries to take charge of the situation asif he is the hero.Helper John Blake – He assists Batman with freeing the copsunderground and attempts to evacuate the city under Batmanʼsinstructions. He fills the role of Batmanʼs sidekick.Alfred – Alfred could be the helper, he has Bruce Wayneʼs bestinterests at heart, and He wants to look after him. He alsoprovides moral support. He also literally helps Bruce, bringinghim dinner and opening the door.Salina Kyle – Kyle helps Batman as Catwoman, leading him toBane and latter assisting him in the battle for Gotham by killingBane off.Princess Miranda Tate – Miranda Tate is the initial love interest, is neededfor Baneʼs plan (Her hand print releases the power core) andBatman tries to save her from Banes men near the end. HoweverMiranda turns out to be a new category; the False Princess.Selina Kyle – She does end up being a sort of reward forBatman, she becomes the love interest and gives him faith thatcriminals can change. Batman also sort of saves her in the end,giving her a chance at a new life and she is involved with Baneʼsplan.Father Raʼs al Ghul – If we use Talia as the princess then Raʼs would bethe father. Although he doesnʼt really fulfill the role as heʼs deadand he was an enemy of Batman. However in the first film he didtrain Batman.
PROPP NARRATIVE FUNCTIONThese functions should not be seen just as events, actions or characters in themselves, but aselements in a narrative which can occur at different places. The same action can have a differentmeaning depending on where it occurs.A community (akingdom, family, etc.) ina state of orderGotham city is safe.A member of the familyleaves homeAlfred leaves.A prohibition/rule isimposed on the heroBatman is hunted by police.A prohibition / rule isignores or brokenBatman returns and is chased by cops.The villain makes anattempt atreconnaissance; tries tofind something outabout the heroSelina Kyle takes Wayneʼs fingerprints.The villain learnssomething about hisvictimBane finds Gordonʼs letter, discovers Dent was mad andevil and that Batman is the hero.The villain tries todeceive the victim togain an advantageMiranda Tate becomes a romantic link to Bruce.PREPARATIONThe victim is deceivedand unknowingly helpsthe villainTate tricks Bruce into building the power core so that itmay become a bomb.The state of order isdisrupted-Kyle steals from Bruce-Bane kidnaps nuclear physicist.The villain harms amember of the family-Daggert gets finger prints-Gordon is shot and hospitalizedA member of the familylacks or desiressomethingAlfred wants Bruce to have a life away from Gotham andBatman.This lack is madeknown to the hero whois sent on a questBruce is told about Rachelʼs letter.COMPLICATIONThe hero plans actionagainst the villainBatman researches Bane.The hero leaves home Bruce is sent away to prison.The hero is tested,attacked, interrogated:the hero receives helpBatman is defeated by Bane and must heal in prison. Hereceives help from the prison doctor.The hero reacts to thedonorThe prison doctor could act as a donor, he teachesWayne to fear death.TRANSFERENCEThe hero is transferredto the location wherehe will fulfill his quest /taskBruce escapes prison and
There is a strugglebetween the hero andthe villainBatman and Bane fight during the battle for Gotham.The hero is branded Batmanʼs back his broken in his fight with Bane.- Or could be when he is recognized as a hero, lighting upthe bat signal.The villain is defeated Bane is defeated, shot in the chest by Selina Kyle.STRUGGLEThe initial state of orderis restored / the lackfulfilledBanes plan fails and Gotham is peaceful again. Brucefound a reason to live and escaped, making a new lifewith Selina Kyle.The hero returns Bruce returns to Gotham.The hero is pursued The police chase Batman after the stock exchange.The hero escapes / isrescuedBatman escapes from the prison.The hero arrives homeor some other place: heis not recognized- Batman makes a come back but isnʼt as strong as hewas.- In prison. They donʼt know heʼs Batman, heʼs justanother prisoner.A false hero makes afalse claim- Bane claims he is liberating the city in the footballstadium.- Tate tries to get Bruce to turn the reactor on.The hero is given adifficult taskBruce climbing out the pit.RETURNThe task isaccomplishedHe escapes and faces Bane again, this time defeatinghim.The hero is recognized - Batman saves Gotham and is recognized as a hero. Hegets a statue built.The false hero / villainis exposedMiranda Tate stabs Batman, revealing her identity.The false hero / villaintransforms- Selina Kyle becomes hero.- He learn Baneʼs motive is love.The false hero / villainis punishedTate is killed.RECOGNITIONThe hero is rewarded(marries the princessand is grantedwealth/power)Bruce gets a new life with Selina Kyle.