-You wanna know how I got these scars? My father, was a drinker, and a fiend. And one night, he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn't like that. Not. One. Bit. So, me watching, he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it. He turns to me and says, "Why so serious?" Comes at me with the knife. "WHY SO SERIOUS?" He sticks the blade in my mouth... "Let's put a smile on that face." And...
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-You look nervous...Is it the scars? You wanna know how I got 'em? Come here...hey...look at me. So I had a wife, beautiful...like you...who tells me, I worry too much, who tells me I oughta smile more. Who gambles and gets in deep...with the sharks. One day they carve her face. And we have no money for surgeries. She can't take it. I just wanna see her smile again...hmm. I just want her to know that I don't care about the scars. So...I stick a razor in my mouth and do this...to myself. And you know what?...SHE CAN'T STAND THE SIGHT OF ME! She leaves...Now I see the funny side...Now i'm always smiling!
So the first one is about cruelty forming him, and the second is love forming him into the Joker, so which one was it? The thing is, that these 2 sort of balance each other out so it's more likely to be neither. This is strengthened by how he was about to tell a 3rd story to batman which we don't hear because of batman.
But you know what all these scenes have in common? Listen to the soundtrack building up, notice the facial expressions of fear in the victims's faces, you know what it all says? Fear. Fear is a central theme in The Dark Knight trilogy, Batman Begins: Fear of fear (Scarecrow fear toxin) The Dark Knight: Fear of _____(The Joker) The Dark Knight Rises: Fear of Death(enabling Bruce to escape the prison)
So I propose that the Joker permanently scarred himself, to create a fear tactic. This is even said in the beginning of the movie: "Why do they call him the Joker? He uses War paint like in the military as a fear tactic" (inaccurate quote). But then what about the stories the Joker told Rachel and Gambol? The answer is that they were not physical scars but emotional scars. Those experiences happened apart from the physical scarring, and they are among other things what cause the Joker to lose his mind.
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These stories are used as fear tactics to sniff out the little emotions in their final moments: "Would you like to know which of them are cowards?". Share your thoughts on this below.