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In The Dark Knight the Joker kidnaps Rachel and Harvey Dent. He then tells Batman he'll need to choose who to save, and gives him two address:

He's at 250 52nd Boulevard. And she's on Avenue X at Cicero.

Just after this Batman declares his intention to save Rachel and he and Gordon race off to the indicated addresses. However, when Batman gets there, Harvey is the one at that address and Batman saves him instead.

Although I certainly wouldn't put it past the Joker to intentionally mislead Batman and show him where his weaknesses lie, he also likes to play it loose and might have left those details up to his henchmen.

Is there anything to indicate whether this was an intentional misdirection on the Joker's part, or if he was simply ignorant of who was where?

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Totally misled, the joker is all about mind games, he would never let any of the henchmen screw something up. I doubt he would let the henchmen have that much input anyway. –  Simon Apr 28 at 15:40
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@Simon: I totally agree. The joker was misleading everyone throughout the movie. The ferry, the hostages, etc. If you don't turn that into answer, I (or someone else) will... –  djm Apr 28 at 15:48
    
@djm Go for it i'm about to be unable to post for a good 2 hours. I'm also not too bothered about the whole credit deal. –  Simon Apr 28 at 15:49
    
The answer to this question takes it as fact that the Joker lied, but doesn't expand upon that point at all. Not sure if that's sufficient for this to warrant being closed as a duplicate. –  Anthony Grist Apr 28 at 15:56
    
Another related question I asked about Joker's intended actions scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/38063/… regarding ferry detonations –  KharoBangdo Apr 29 at 9:06
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4 Answers 4

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Joker's whole idea was to turn Harvey into a monster, NOT into a martyr. AND to hurt Batman personally (probably turning him into a monster). Both goals would be undermined if Batman saved Rachel and let Harvey die.

So he likely did the misdirection intentionally; counting on Batman to put more of an effort to save his "gf" (who ends up Harvey) than other rescuers.

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Except the joker says himself that he isn't "a schemer." My personal theory is that he did mix them up intentionally, but just because it would be another way to mess up any plans they made, and other than that didn't particularly care about the outcome. –  user24382 Apr 28 at 20:44
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@user24382: rule 1: the Joker lies. –  Paul D. Waite Apr 28 at 21:26
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@user24382 The Joker's past actions just in this movie says he is a schemer. –  Wayne In Yak Apr 28 at 22:00
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The other part is that I feel that if he were a schemer that came up with such a intricate plan, he'd think of a plan that was more likely to yield results. The plan you outline depends on A. Batman going for Rachel B. His getting there and saving Harvey Dent C. the police fail to save Rachel. Seems a really tenuous plan to me, but that's my opinion, heh. He could have achieved similar but assured results by doing things like making the bomb blow up on Rachel when someone entered the room, and not having a real bomb on Harvey, so he wouldn't die, but had to listen to her die. –  user24382 Apr 28 at 23:32
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The Joker is an anarchist. All of his plans involve some sort of deception. As the character says in multiple comics; "That's the joke!" The reason for this deception is revealed in the film when Joker tells Dent his opinion of schemers. None of that precludes the Joker scheming or lying himself. In fact, the very first act, where the Joker murders his own henchmen and robs the mob bank, shows him to be quite the consummate schemer and liar. –  James Sheridan Apr 29 at 1:02
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The Joker is a Criminal Mastermind in the movie series. It is not possible for The Joker to be ignorant of the facts considering he is a Criminal Mastermind and plotted nearly everything in the film. The Joker's plan was to force Batman to choose only one to save, most likely knowing that it wasn't possible to save both even if Batman had told the police where the other was located. Thus he lied and told Batman that Rachel was at the location where Harvey actually was, he used the knowledge that Batman had a thing for Rachel considering he saved her when she was thrown out of a window earlier in the film (which I believe made him suspect that he Batman might have been Harvey Dent as well at that point).

Overall The Joker tried to corrupt and introduce chaos into Gotham. His only success true success was of Harvey Dent, which he admitted at the end of the film that Batman was truly incorruptible but that Harvey was no longer "The White Knight". He said that Harvey was his Ace in the hole to show Gotham that everyone is corruptible.

So The Joker completely mislead Batman so that his plans would come to fruition.

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I have a different take on this. Batman sacrifices Rachel.

Batman and Gordan both arrives at the same address. Batman is faster - as he knows he is - and he sacrifices Rachel. He tell's Gordon to go after Harvey, because there is no time to argue about leaving Rachel to die. Gordon's functions is as a back-up, so they both end up going after the key figure in saving Gotham - Harvey.

I do not think Batman ever intended to save Rachel, he knows that the most important thing to do is to save Gotham, and is quite capable of self-sacrifice. After all, he also sacrifices his image and persona just minutes after.

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That doesn't really make sense if Batman knew that he was faster the reason he went after Rachel was because he knew that he could save her. His whole intent was to save Rachel, but since he got there and The Joker had tricked him he ended up saving Harvey instead. –  DoctorWho22 Apr 29 at 13:03
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I don't see any indication in the movie which could provide a conclusive answer for this. One explanation is what's given by the highest rated answer by DVK above. The only catch is that it assumes that Joker somehow knew that Batman would go to save Rachel. But there's no evidence that Joker knew about Batman/Bruce and Rachel relationship or that Batman was Bruce. The "Batman jumping off the window to save Rachel" doesn't make a convincing argument because Batman would probably do that to save any innocent person and being Harvey's gf makes her even more important. Another explanation would be that the Joker did that to add an element of chaos and confusion. It will most definitely lead to Batman not being able to save the person he wanted to save the most (out of the two). If that person really mattered a lot to Batman, it'll really hurt him even more.

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