Bored…Bored…Boring…Bored…I know, I’ll examine two of my favorite fictional characters, The Dark Defender, Dexter Morgan and the always-near-perfect, Mr. Patrick Bateman. Let me start by reiterating, FICTIONAL characters. Though our world often glamorizes tragedy, I am not in the mood to do that here. Instead, I prefer to see these two slightly eschewed gentlemen no different than the imaginary monsters lying in wait under each of our childhood beds.
When examining the backgrounds of our two individuals we come across a number of differences. Dexter Morgan was the son of a drug runner who was brutally massacred before his infant eyes. Adopted at an early age by a policeman and integrated into a middle class working family, he struggled to maintain an image of normality in common society. Unknowingly, that traumatic incident of his youth led him to an occupation with Miami Metro where he deals with similar tragedies on a regular basis.
Patrick Bateman was born into the upper crust of society. Growing up on Long Island before moving on to become a graduate of Harvard and the Harvard Business School. His morals and actions are defined by this lifestyle. His goals in life are made up of the most superficial of interests. He is often referred to as, and I am sure to his delight, a “yuppie.”
Although coming from differing backgrounds, both individuals developed similar characteristics in adulthood. Both men are generally very meticulous about their actions and appearances. They maintain a cunning guise socially amongst their colleagues while their more sinister sides go unnoticed.
Since childhood, Dexter has felt homicidal urges directed by an inner voice he calls “The Dark Passenger”. He tempers these impulses using a moral code taught to him by his father. There is a process that is followed for a victim to become qualified for a killing. A victim must be an “evil” person and vetted by Dexter until there is no reasonable doubt of guilt. Usually the victims have gone unnoticed or escaped justice at the hands of the criminal justice system. Generally, the majority of Dexter’s victims have no remorse for their actions until they are under the knife begging for forgiveness. He maintains a pristine alibi and kill-space, so that no traces of any action lead back to him.
Bateman’s modus operandi is more helter-skelter. The majority of his victims participate is a form of social interaction with Patrick before he executes. Some examples of this were after a simple conversation with a homeless man, after dinner and drinks with an associate, and after a long night of meaningless ego-stroking sex with a prostitute. His executions do not have a definite procedure, although they do seem to follow a pattern. Most occur with an initial luring of a victim into a location, social interaction, then murdering his victim. His concern with capture is lacking. He views most of society as careless and too self absorbed to even notice what he is doing. He keeps bodies close by and puts minimal effort into covering his tracks.
There are some mutual traits that both men possess. They both consider themselves lacking the necessary emotions to be considered human. This enables them to proceed without remorse or much compassionate consideration at all.
Dexter prides himself on being normal as “humanly” possible. He lives life currently as a single father, and prior to his spouse’s death, as a sociable family man. His alter ego remains unnoticed by his closest friends and co-workers, and was only recently discovered by his sister. Any other individuals who become aware of his extracurricular activities are disposed off or discredited in some manner.
Patrick’s concerns with the most superficial aspects of society cause him to appear as an unlikely candidate to be a serial killer. Although briefly interrogated, he was never truly under suspicion for any of his actions. Even when confessing guilt, it was shrugged off as a joke and laughed away without any further consideration (if any of it was centered in reality at all). The result of this indifference caused Bateman to feel as though individuals were too self-indulged to ever be able to comprehend the monster he has become.
Mr. Morgan carries in general, a respectful attitude for society. He doesn’t view everyone he encounters as a victim. He justifies his actions by preying only on those who prey on the innocent. So in his perspective, he is providing justice to those that the law mishandled, while at the same time satisfying a bloodlust that resides within. He also makes an extended effort to protect those he loves; killing his own brother to protect his step sister is a prime example.
Mr. Bateman possesses a disdain for the lives of others. A disdain drenched in hypocrisy, his self-image is very high on his list of priorities and his taste for designer goods, expensive dining, and high class recreation are second to none. He has no willingness to be associated with anything less than first class, this includes people. This is made apparent when touched by a homeless man who he claimed he was going to “help.” His murderous rage originates from his dislike of others whom he views as beneath him, which encompasses basically everyone.
Even though both men engage in their actions in different ways, they both seem to act to satisfy a primal urge. Engaging in these pursuits with different intentions does not eliminate the fact that should either individual alter ego be exposed to society they would instantly be vilified and deemed social outcasts. Dexter’s Dark Passenger is more humane in a sense and executes in regulated structure while seeming to provide a benefit to society depending on one’s moral standard. Bateman’s reckless mannerisms are based solely on pleasure and disgust and would more likely be appreciated by someone of similar character.
Some questions I pose to you, our readers:
Would these two be friends if their paths crossed?
Would Patrick find himself on Dexter’s table?
Is Patrick Bateman basically Dexter Morgan without a code?
The eighth and final season of Dexter will premiere on June 30, 2013 on SHOWTIME.
Patrick Bateman will return after returning some videotapes.