Date of Award

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Jeffrey S. Carnes

Second Advisor

Stephanie Fetta


Batman, Deleuze, Foucault, heroism, Iliad, Whitehead


Achilles and The Batman on the Plane of Immanence: Deconstructing Heroic Models attempts to reposition the way the reader views literary heroism. By defining heroism as a reaction to forces within and external to his society, heroism becomes a function of Michel Foucault’s concept of Otherness. Using Deleuze and Guattari’s notions of the Nomad, striated and unstriated space and schizoanalysis, as well as Foucault’s basic concepts of power and its two-way, invisible flow, one will find that heroism develops and functions in strikingly similar manners no matter what time or culture germinates it. The universal problems the hero creates for the culture in which he or she operates are further explicated, including the reasons that the hero often becomes as much a danger to his society as the threat he or she rises to combat.

The analysis begins with Achilieus of The Illiad, a character who, in the opening line of the text, is described not as bringing death to his enemies but pains on his own people. The text address Odysseus’ problematic, but uniquely successful, metamorphosis from king to hero and back to king and the unsuccessful attempt by Beowulf to make a similar transition.

The analysis ends with an exploration of the uniquely 20th century hero: the comic book super-hero. Explicating the Batman text, Arkham Asylum, by Grant Morrison, shows that trope as it is affected by the 20th century concepts of the metropolitan and urban identity. The secret identity of the comic book hero is an important, modern, perhaps even postmodern answer to the problems the unchanging hero most often encounters within his own society.


Open Access