On the performance of villainy and evil in Joker (2019)

Kelvin Ke Jinde*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Joker has always been a source of both fear and mystery in comic books as well as in movies. Focusing on Todd Philips' Joker (2019), the following article analyzes the performativity of villainy and evil in the film. Close reading is used to study how the main protagonist Arthur Fleck develops and performs different versions of himself via different personas in the film. Lastly, the article discusses how the Joker's villainy is not necessarily born out of nature, but the result of practicing, rehearsing, and performing different interpretations of different personas and characters.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerformativity of Villainy and Evil in Anglophone Literature and Media
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783030760557
ISBN (Print)9783030760540
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2021


  • Comic books
  • Joaquin phoenix
  • Joker
  • Masks
  • Performance
  • Villainy


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