Batman's primary character traits can be summarized as "wealth; physical prowess; deductive abilities and obsession". The details and tone of Batman's characterization have varied over the years due to different interpretations. Dennis O'Neil noted that character consistency was not a major concern during early editorial regimes: "Julie Schwartz did a Batman in Batman and Detective and Murray Boltinoff did a Batman in the Brave and the Bold and apart from the costume they bore very little resemblance to each other. Julie and Murray did not coordinate their efforts, did not pretend to, did not want to, were not asked to. Continuity was not important in those days".
A main component that defines Batman as a character is his origin story. Bob Kane said he and Bill Finger discussed the character's background and decided that "there's nothing more traumatic than having your parents murdered before your eyes." Batman is thus driven to fight crime, sometimes employing illegal and morally dubious tactics (like torture and intrusive surveillance), in order to avenge the death of his parents. While details of Batman's origin have varied from version to version, the "reiteration of the basic origin events holds together otherwise divergent expressions" of the character. The origin is the source of many of the character's traits and attributes, which play out in many of the character's adventures.
Batman is often treated as a vigilante by other characters in his stories. Frank Miller views the character as "a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order." Dressed as a bat, Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona in order to aid him in crime fighting.