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Alfred Pennyworth: Overpaid Slave?

Alfred Pennyworth, known to most as "Alfred", has been a longtime servant of the Wayne family. At his father’s dying wish Alfred decided to carry on the family tradition of serving the Wayne family, which has taken him on a whirlwind adventure as a butler to not only Bruce Wayne, but to Batman as well. Batman fights crime in it’s many forms, however it appears (from time to time) that Alfred is little more than a slave to his masters wishes. The web of secrets he must keep has, on occasion, robbed him of his free will. His master’s activities have also forced Alfred to compromise his personal wishes/ethics more than once. Discuss the relationship between Batman/Bruce Wayne and Alfred. Is Alfred a free man?

  • I'm not as learned on the Batman Universe as I'd like to be but whoever does take this up, I would suggest acknowledging the fact that as Bruce's caregiver since the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne which makes Alfred something of a father figure as well as Butler. This, in my opinion, serve as a fair balance between free man and servant. On one hand, Alfred is responsible for Bruce's life but on the other, Bruce decides how Alfred acts. How are these two relationship between father and Butler reconciled and does Alfred do a good job in reconciling them? – SpectreWriter 6 years ago
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  • Interesting thing about Alfred; he is the only member of the bat family that is aloud to carry a gun. He is not a slave because he quit being a british spy to be a butler instead, plus Batman cares for Alfred like a farther figure. Alfred can also talk back to Batman when he is out of line, clearly showing he is not scare to be around Bruce. – Aaron Hatch 6 years ago
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  • I agree that an analysis of the Bruce/Alfred relationship could be a fascinating one, but Alfred is far too much a father figure for Bruce to call him a slave. He is deeply loyal and loves Bruce like a son, which keeps him from leaving, but he is also the only who can be openly sarcastic and critical without censure. On many occasions and in many ways Alfred has been the last line of defense for Bruce's health and sanity; if he wanted out, he could have let that happen time and time again. So "slave" is the wrong term... but they are an extremely co-dependent pair. – Monique 6 years ago
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  • I agree that I went a little on the nose with this one. I think what I was really tring to get at was the secrets that Alfred keeps, which have been thrust upon him without any level of actual consent. Could he actually leave that life behind knowing what he knows. Does what he know bind him to Bruce/Batman more so than his employment, and how does that affect he freedom? He certainly signed up to be a butler, but to be the many other things he has, maybe not. Great points raised by all. – ApeX 6 years ago
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  • My understanding is that Alfred became a father figure to Batman. In one issue where Batman was seemingly killed, Alfred says that he "lost his son". Perhaps this attachment differentiates Alfred from slaves? Maybe Alfred chooses to stay and keep Bruce's secret like a father overlooking a son with problem. – idleric 6 years ago
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