Research Paper on Batman Developmental Stages

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1868 Words
Date:  2022-12-21

The Presenting Problem

When he was eight years, Batman (Bruce Wayne) experienced his parents being killed by a mugger in the street which made him live a painful and traumatic life after that. He continually struggles with internal conflicts and is slowly detaches himself from his friends and other close and end up becoming a lonely and troubled man (Hughes, 2016). He does not heal completely from his troubled childhood and is influenced by anger and vengeance seek for justice. However, he ends up making reckless decisions because of his inability to discern justice from vengeance driving which further alienates him from identity.

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The client is Bruce Wayne commonly referred to as Batman is a male in his forties. He was orphaned when he was eight years after a mugger shot dead his parents in his presence as they were going home from a movie (Hughes, 2016). In his teenage, Bruce had a yearning to learn key details in police procedure. As a result, he started tracking Harvey Harris, a private detective who was highly regarded in his city. As he was tracking down Harris, a thug was waiting ready to attack Harris but hit the thug with an advertising piece thus saving his life. Harris noticed him, and he agreed to train him. Bruce received instruction on criminal detection, gymnastics and physical combat (Dixon & Graham, 2017). Bruce and Harris became close friends, and they worked together to combat crime in their city

Bruce later parted ways with Harris and joined college where he studied criminology and other sciences for four years which would help fulfill his dream of becoming a law-enforcement agent (Dixon & Graham, 2017). He further trained both physically and intellectually learning myriad fighting skills, chemistry, criminology, martial arts, and forensics among others. Batman operates in the city of Gotham with the help of other characters to reinforce justice in the city by fighting criminals.

Batman's Stage of Development in?

Freud's Psychosexual Theory

According to Freud, the development of personality in childhood take place in five stages which include the oral, anal, phallic latent and genital stages (Silverman, 2017). Freud argued that during these stages the pleasure-seeking energies id become more prevalent in specific areas in the body that are sensitive to stimulation. The psychosexual energy also referred to as the libido is the one that influences the behavior of a person. According to the psychoanalytic theory, the personality of a person is fully developed within five years of childhood. The character developed during this age has a significant impact on the behavior of an individual later in life. Freud noted each stage is characterized with conflicts and how they are resolves may either aid the growth or suppress the development. Successful completion of all the stage leads to the development of a healthy personality while failure to complete any of the stages leads to fixation and an individual remains stuck in that stage until the conflict is resolved (Berzoff, 2016).

By analyzing Batman's character in DC discoveries, it is evident that he is in the genital stage of the Freud's psychosexual theory. This stage of psychosexual development begins at the onset of puberty and continues to adulthood (Berzoff, 2016). Batman is in his forties; therefore, he is in this stage. However, it is evident that he was stuck in the latent phase for a long time. This because after his parents were killed he developed pain and trauma which he was unable to heal from for a long time. Due to this reason, he alienated himself from his peers, and he could not develop close relationships with others. However, he later managed to overcome the inner conflicts and moved to the genital stage.

There are various observable indicators in Batman that prove that he is in the genital stage of Freud's psychosexual development theory. In this stage, the libido is reactivated, and one starts experiencing a strong attraction to the opposite sex. This stage is different from the other stage because one starts thinking about the welfare of other people and also develops the ability to balance other parts of life (Silverman, 2017). This is evident in Batman's life as he overcomes his hopelessness and abandons his privileged like to pursue his life of desperation. In his early life, he spends some time in prison in China where he learns how it feels to be oppressed by people who are stronger and more powerful (Dixon & Graham, 2017). However, he learns how to defend himself from people who continually want to abuse him. Through his tribulations, he understands the life of people who have nothing to lose in their lives. As a result he resolves to fight for justice not only for himself but also for other people. After being recruited by Henri Ducard in the legendary League of Assassins, he not only gains physical training but also develops wisdom, courage, and discipline. This enables him to overcome the inner pain, and he realizes the killing of his parents was a result of a spoilt justice system that was affecting the entire city of Gotham and not just a simple act of desperate mugger (Hughes, 2016). He resolves to mend the broken justice system. He finally understands himself better to become a real hero.

Erikson's Psychosocial Theory

Erikson also believed that an individual undergoes through various stages that shape their personality. However, Erikson's theory focuses on the impact of social interactions and relationships on the development of character in human beings. According to Erikson, the proceeding stage set the foundation for the next phase of growth. He also argued that in each stage individuals face conflicts and how one handles these conflicts determines whether they will develop or not psychosocial qualities gained in a specific stage (Cherry, 2017). If the disputes are handled successfully then the person obtain the psychosocial strengths in that stage which last in their entire life. Failure to manage these conflicts successfully may prevent the person from attaining the fundamental required to gain self-esteem. Erikson noted that in each stage an individual gains skills that make him or her competent in a particular area of life.

By assessing Batman using the Erikson's psychosocial theory, it can be concluded that he is in the seventh psychosocial stage which is Generativity vs. Stagnation. This stage occurs in adulthood. During this stage, an individual continues to build his or her life and focusses on career and family. People who succeed in this stage feel that they have the responsibility to actively contribute to their homes as well as in the community (Knight, 2017). On the contrary, those who fail to complete the stage successful do not attain essential skills to enable them to feel productive and involved in the world (Cherry, 2017). If an individual handles this stage successfully one develops care as a virtue and one appreciates his or her achievements.

Batman portrays some of the characteristics associated with the generativity vs. stagnation stage in Erikson's psychosocial theory. In his quest to fight for justice in Gotham Batman employs brutal mechanisms to fight crime; however, he strictly abides by merciful justice which is his moral code. At this stage, he understands and distinguishes justice from vengeance. His desire to mend the broken justice system in Gotham is an indicator that he has developed the competence to contribute towards the community and the world. He has developed a good sense of self; that is why he has realized his true identity as well as his abilities.

Piaget's Cognitive Theory

In his theory of cognitive development, Piaget argues that children undergo four stages of cognitive development. Piaget's cognitive theory seeks to understand the process through which a child gains knowledge and also the nature of intelligence. The steps in Piaget's theory include sensorimotor stage, preoperational stage, concrete operational stage and formal operational stage (Barrouillet, 2015). Piaget suggested that like scientists children also conduct experiments and make observations which enable them to learn about the world. Children gain knowledge through their continued interactions with the world.

When using Piaget's cognitive theory to assess Batman's observable behaviors, it can be argued that he is in the last stage of development which is the formal operational stage. The phase begins at the age of 12 years up to adulthood. In this stage, an individual develops logical and deductive reasoning and a better understanding of theoretical ideas. At this stage, people can view problems from a different perspective, and they can identify several solutions in solving the problems. They are also able to see the world from a scientific perspective. At this stage, an individual also develops the ability to analytically establish a plan for the future and hypothetical reasoning critical abilities that form during this stage of cognitive development (Barrouillet, 2015).

It is evident that Batman developed the abilities expected to be produced at this stage. During his early youth Batman start to figure out how he can eliminate crime in his city. He recognizes that he must learn criminal detective skills and he decides to track Harvey Harris who is a respected private detective in the city of Gotham. At first, he learns through observation until Harris notices him when he saves him for a criminal who intended to attack him. He receives training from Harris, and after some time he decides to join college where he pursues criminology and other science courses that would equip him with the knowledge to mend the criminal justice system in Gotham (Hughes, 2016). Batman's effort to learn before engaging in his mission shows that he had developed the ability to plan systematically about his future.

Other Relevant Areas of Development

Besides the psychosexual, psychosocial and cognitive developments, Batman has undergone other significant forms of development. Physical development is one of the most notable events that can be observed in Batman. When his parents were killed he was a young child will small physic but he has grown into a mature masculine man. He has also undergone intellectual development through education. Batman went through a comprehensive education program in college where he studied criminology and other courses. This enabled him to develop his intellectual understanding of his justice system which would resolve the problems in Gotham. Moral development is another form of development that Batman has grown successfully. In his pursuit for justice, he portrays merciful justice which is his moral code. As a result, he opposes the League of Assassins for their approach of killing to reinforce legitimacy in Gotham and despite receiving threats from the League of Assassins and escapes back to Gotham to fight for justice he does not change his stance on merciful justice.


By assessing Batman using the Psychosexual, psychosocial and cognitive theories, it can be concluded that he is in the right stage of development. Batman has shown that he has successfully undergone the various developmental stages outlined in the theories of personality development. This is an indicator that he has dealt successfully with the conflicts that emerge in each stage of development.


Barrouillet, P. (2015). Theories of cognitive development: From Piaget to today.

Berzoff, J. (2016). Drive and Beyond: Freud's Psychoanalytic Concepts. Inside Out and Outside In: Psychodynamic Clinical Theory and Psychopathology in Contemporary Multicultural Contexts, 18.

Cherry, K. (2017). Erik Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development. Psychology. Psychosocial Theories. Pai...

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