Hyuk hyuk hyuk... Ok, so I was busy seeing Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises for the second time instead of finishing my AC2 update, and then I was busy getting into arguments on the internet about one of the character's therein. Namely, Bane, played by one Tom Hardy. I think the Bane character is quite a bit more complicated than the average comic book villain, especially as he is portrayed in the so called "Nolanverse" and as such, warrants closer examination.
What follows can assuredly be designated as spoilers for all 3 Batman movies. The whole things. So yeah.
Also, these aren't necessarily the most polished theories, just something I couldn't not write about when the opportunity presented itself.
OK, Theory One:
Is it possible that Bane is simply projecting? That he uses the pit as an excuse for what he's become because admitting the truth puts him that much closer to madness?
Bane, Blake and Bruce are all characters that are defined by their reactions to dealing with the pain they've had to endure. Bruce eventually becomes batman, Blake a cop, and Bane puts on the mask and becomes a "mercenary" with plans for nuking Gotham. Blake and Bruce move on by letting go of their respective masks. By the end of the movie Bruce is no longer batman and Blake is no longer a cop. Bane, however, is the tragic figure. He literally cannot remove his mask without suffering dire consequences. He is doomed to carry his pain with him literally always. Warped by this physical pain, he comes obsessed with breaking the spirit; so much so that it ends up being a fatal flaw to his plan. It's curious that literally nobody in the film, when confronted with this mental anguish, actually broke down and gave up... except for maybe the Chief of Police for about 30 seconds? Probably why Nolan offed him... but I digress...
That got kind of messy, but to sum it up kind of briefly here, Bane rationalizes his own fall by appealing to the Pit. This failure to acknowledge that he's an uncontrollable psychopath due to the physical agony he had to endure is projected onto the world through his grand scheme to destroy Gotham's and Bruce's Spirit. He ends up being wrong though! That ends up being a really bad a silly idea. It's the tragic flaw of his character. The inability to accept the source of his madness.
Theory Two, on Bane, Hope, and the Number of Times I can Say "Talia":
Bane talks about it being hope that breaks men, but again, I think he's generalizing from his own experience. So what, then, is his hope while he's in the prison? A lot is said about the light, and the fact that anybody is free to climb out, but at that time nobody is supposed to have successfully done it. Those are kind of general hopes in any case, and we don't know that they held any particular sway over Bane, but we do know that in his time there he defended Talia, and at great expense to himself. What may be seen as his final action as a whole person, he lifts her up to the wall so she can attempt to escape. He has no way of knowing if he set her on the path to freedom, bought her a few extra seconds until the mob got her, or doomed her to plummet to her death. All that he had was the hope that she'd escape. That things would work out for the best.
This parallels very well with the hope that Alfred had for Bruce when he first left Gotham to go abroad. It is then revealed that Alfred hoped that Bruce would never return, because he knew there was nothing but pain and suffering for him there. Perhaps Bane held out a similar hope for Talia? That she would go out into the world and forget this wretched pit. How it would have pained him to learn that Ra's succeeded in doing to Talia what he failed to do to Bruce, and that is to fully convince her that Revenge is the best and only option. It would help here to imagine Alfred's pain had Bruce returned as a willing disciple of Ra's Al Ghul.
On top of all of this, Bane never actually left the pit behind. He never did what Bruce or Talia did. He didn't make the climb, confront the fears they confronted or experience that vindication. He was rescued by Ra's and then not allowed to follow Talia and join the LoS. So in a very real way, even after Bane left the physical confines of the prison, he still had not psychologically bested the pit. There was nothing else there for him to latch onto like there was for Bruce and Talia, so what did he do during the intervening years? Being branded as a mercenary (granted, this may just have been a plot point to get him closer to Tagget blah blah blah) he has no affiliations. That last point, I feel, is rather less important under this interpretation as Bane doesn't have to be too crazy for the league, he just has to hate Ra's for what he did to Talia, his hope, the woman he loves. Ultimately though, Bane still wants her to be happy; so once Ra's is out of the picture, Talia is dead set on taking vengeance upon Batman and adopting her father's quest of destroying Gotham, Bane will oblige. So maybe in the end, it really is hope and the pit that broke Bane, but not the ordinary hope of one day escaping his confines, but the hope that when he made a great sacrifice that something good would come of it. Instead, there was only more destruction.