Rick Pimentel parses the link between Thomas’ Hobbes depiction of the state of nature in Leviathan, to the Gotham depicted during Bane’s rule in The Dark Knight Rises:
“Hobbes referred to the state of nature as a “war of all against all” and famously described life in the state of nature as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” In order to transition a society from the state of nature to civility, its people mutually agreed to create a state and give up their power to the state in return for the protection of their well-being. For Hobbes, the ideal state is headed by a sovereign who has absolute power; a power that is consensually given by the people to him or her. This is the social contract as presented by Thomas Hobbes.
The “state of nature” is a good description for the society in Gotham that Bane created. Ironically, it was the social contract in reverse – Bane desired a dissolution of that contract. Bane regressed Gotham from a civil society to the state of nature in order to destroy Gotham (the state). Bane wanted destruction and chaos, Hobbes wanted peace and order. Bane wanted a civil war to destroy the state, Hobbes wanted to create and preserve the state. Gotham’s state of nature was clearly seen when Bane whips his supporters into frenzy as they pillage the homes of and beat the wealthy. Ever the populist, Bane knows exactly which buttons to press in order to create a society that certainly is nasty and brutish and most likely would shorten the lives of its inhabitants.”
(Photo by flickr user Jaro Larnos)