The Way You Wear Your Bat
In Batman Begins, Batman struggles with whether to himself become this special hero guy, or whether to just give it up or live by somebody else’s expectations. He chooses to be this larger-than life hero, this Will-in-symbol, this walking tribute to trying to make things better.
In The Dark Knight, he has to confront a reality where he isn’t the only one like himself — where the world actually has a number of larger-than-life heroes, Will-in-symbols, people who have strong subjective experiences of Will and objective representations that reflect their intentions. The costume that denotes action. And they can’t all survive at the same time.
Still, there’s this sense of Kinship — they recognize similar aspects of Will within one another.
For one, you’ve got the imitation Batmen — the people who dress up like him, try to take the law into their own hands, and get themselves capped. Batman can’t live with these guys; they get in the way of his work and his mission, which is to keep people like that form getting capped. But he can’t stifle them, either, because once they get an idea in their head that they’re more than just a hungry stomach, well, the idea that you can’t stifle that sort of thing is kind of intrinsic to his worldview. It’s his own tactic, and he understands how difficult it is to stop.
For another, you’ve got Harvey Dent — a different vision of a hero that Batman identifies with strongly, a different fragment, but still cut from the same cloth, or so he thinks. Add the fact that he’s schtupping Batman’s main squeeze. That’s got Schopenhauer written all over it (Schopenhauer liked talking about sex and the competition or sex. He thought it was very important — “Nothing less than the composition of the next generation.”).
And finally, and most importantly, you have the Joker — He gets his own section.