A Flip of a Coin – Symbolism Behind Harvey Dent’s Coin Toss

Comic book fanatics are well aware of the character of Two-Face, sometimes known as Harvey Dent. The former District Attorney of Gotham city is one of Batman’s toughest foes and Bruce Wayne’s former friend. For those who are new to this character, the name Two-Face comes from him having one normal side of his face while the other is horribly disfigured.

Comic book fans also know that the origin of him becoming Two-Face was during a trial when a convicted felon threw acid at his face. Deforming one of his sides and leaving it permanently scarred. Fans of the Batman Animated Series would say that half of Harvey’s body was disfigured due to a chemical explosion. Burning the entire side of his body. It is the origin story that Christopher Nolan used in his Dark Knight movie but slightly modified.

Nevertheless, whichever origin story you go with the outcome is still the same. Harvey Dent has gone through a terrible ordeal by being disfigured and it has left his psyche scared as well as his body.

Pat Loika [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

It leads him to form a dual personality, his inner demon and both of them struggle for dominance. The only wat they can decide how to act is with a toss of a coin. The scared side usually means that something bad is going to happen and Two-Face prevails. While the unsacred side of the coin means that Harvey is the one at the wheel and bad things are not going to happen.

But what is the significance of the coin toss? Is it a type of gamble? Is Harvey placing a bet every time he tosses it?

Harvey Dent was once viewed s Gotham’s White Knight. He was constantly facing and determining the fate of bad guys. He was the one who wanted to make good on all the wrongdoings happening in the city. But all the crime and corruption can be overwhelming at times. Not being able to cope and fight against the situation can lead to some damaging problems.

This is what happened when Harvey’s face got burnt. It unleashed a demon inside him that wanted to be the bad guy. But the good persona is still there to fight. The White Knight Harvey sill wants to make all the bad wrongs good.

The coin toss is the symbol of his duality. It is the fight between his inner demons and himself. The is both good and the bad, we all have that inside of us. With some people, one inside is more apparent than the other. While with Harvey, it is cut right down in the middle.

He is definitely struggling and he prefers to leave everything to fate than actually deciding by himself. But it is still a dangerous game to play. A string of bad luck, or tosses, will deepen the descent into madness.

So I would say that Harvey is playing a dangerous game and it is a gamble every time to coin leaves his hand and swings in the air.

Author: Eren