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Forum LockedLuke Skywalker's epic failure

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hugoestr View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 16:30
I got a request to explore an article that I wrote last summer about Luke Skywalker and his failure as an epic hero.

For those who have not read it, here is the link:

http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=lukes_epic_failure

To summarize my position, Luke Skywalker fails to live up as an epic hero when he refuses to fight his father. According to the conventions of epic literature, he should have done it. That would have brought the tragic epic moment. However his sudden conversion to nonviolence makes him fail as a hero.

If after you read my article you still have questions about my position, let me know and I will explain as best as I can.
To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brian J Checco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jan-2008 at 21:26
True; only violence can make a person a hero. WTF were MLK and Gandhi thinking? Buncha wusses...Wacko

JK- I'd heard that theory before. The confrontation, and ensuing tragedy, would have better with Aeschylus' model of tragedy, as well as the epic convention- still, according Joseph Campbell (Hero with a Thousand Faces), this violent showdown isn't necessary, and can still fit in with epic conventions. It's all really a matter of how strictly and stringently you subscribe to the normative set expectations of the genre.


Edited by Brian J Checco - 08-Jan-2008 at 21:35
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Hi, Brian,

Oh, one can be a nonviolent hero alright. The problem with Luke Skywalker is that he is trained as a warrior, fights like a warrior, kicks minions butt as a warrior, but backs down with his dad.

You see, everything in the story was moving in the direction of having a bad ass fight between Luke and Vader. And then there is a sudden switch that comes more or less out of nowhere.

Luke just backs off from what he was sent to do: win a victory over Vader.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Justinian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 00:19
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

I got a request to explore an article that I wrote last summer about Luke Skywalker and his failure as an epic hero.

For those who have not read it, here is the link:

http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=lukes_epic_failure

To summarize my position, Luke Skywalker fails to live up as an epic hero when he refuses to fight his father. According to the conventions of epic literature, he should have done it. That would have brought the tragic epic moment. However his sudden conversion to nonviolence makes him fail as a hero.

If after you read my article you still have questions about my position, let me know and I will explain as best as I can.
Okay, I agree with your premise that Luke is not an epic hero in the greek sense. (Illiad with Achilles, Hector etc.)  However, I would say that while Luke following through and becoming an epic hero would have made an excellent story, I feel the way Luke is portrayed makes as good, even better a story.  Luke was basically given two options:  kill vader, or not.  Option A and B, now what Luke does, and you can see it being set up throughout ROTJ, is find option C.  He gets vader to come back to the light and kill the emperor, instead of Luke having to.  I am reminded of Tolkien and his, "eucatastrophe" here.  That sequence with Vader, Luke and the emperor is exactly that.  A complete turnaround that ends up finding a result better than could have been expected.  With Greek tragedies (and others such as Shakespeare) the result is usually one to ponder and reflect on by the reader/viewer, not one to be exhilarated and uplifted by.  With Star Wars that is the case, depending on ones points of view,(Wink)it ends happy/happier than the usual epic story would have.  One could say it ends on a positive note, also something that is less frequent in the usual epic story.
 
With regards to your article I would disagree with the idea that Luke is an epic coward, on the contrary to me it shows even greater will, and a form of courage, to lay down his saber for ideals.  This action is much more difficult for a warrior to take than a pacifist because it is contrary to his clear cut path.  I think Lucas shows excellent vision here by putting an even stronger message here than an epic in the homeric version would have.  He shows that a warrior can train for a task that is put before him by others who seem to be wiser, and yet he, a naive simpleton in a sense, can show greater wisdom than all of them and find a better solution that the others didn't believe in or see; he must show even greater strength to follow this third path than the first or second would have required.
 
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Oh, one can be a nonviolent hero alright. The problem with Luke Skywalker is that he is trained as a warrior, fights like a warrior, kicks minions butt as a warrior, but backs down with his dad.

You see, everything in the story was moving in the direction of having a bad ass fight between Luke and Vader. And then there is a sudden switch that comes more or less out of nowhere.

Luke just backs off from what he was sent to do: win a victory over Vader.
Which is why his choice is such great story telling, eucatastrophe, has so much more meaning, the reason his choice makes him a greater hero than other epic ones because the path he chose was a harder one to follow.  (also better one to follow)


Edited by Justinian - 09-Jan-2008 at 00:29
"War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace."--Thomas Mann

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 02:02
Luke did fight Vader, and won, slicing off Vader's hand (which incidentally, we now know had actually been sliced off much earlier, as shown in a later production).
 
He just refused to kill Vader.  In that sense, he could not be marked as a coward.
 
From his perspective, killing Vader got nothing to do with the overall vital ultimate mission.  He voluntarily went to Vader to draw attention away from his comrades (ignorant that the Emperor already set a trap for them).
 
Even after the Emperor revealed his comrades were walking into a trap, the defeated Vader was out for the count, and did not matter (so he thought) towards to success/failure of the ultimate mission.
 
Luke couldn't do anything about his friends, and he didn't expect to be able to bring down the Death Star by himself outside his trusty proton torpedo-armed X-Wing.
 
To kill Vader when Vader was down would turn him over to the Dark Side - so it would be a tragedy instead of a triumph if he did that.
 
His next move is actually to fight the Emperor, but abiding by the Jedi code, he had to wait until the weaponless Emperor brandish one, not knowing the old guy could shoot lightning bolts.
 
Even after he got hit by the bolts, he didn't immediately try to fight back, and instead, pleaded for his old man to turn from the Dark Side first.  That was the only meaningful battle left for him.
 
If his friends succeeded, it wouldn't matter he didn't fight the Emperor personally.
If his friends failed, it wouldn't matter either.
 
From this analysis, there was no epic failure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 04:59
snowybeagle,

Defeating Vader was key for Luke to become a Jedi. Yes, he was decoying, but Yoda made it very clear to him that that was what he had to do. What his friends did or didn't do wasn't that important. As we later learned in the movie, a brave gang of teddy bears defeated the Empire with jute and a few logs. Oh, but that is another discussion

Luke didn't win by cutting the hand. The hand being cut off was a parallel motif when Vader cut Luke's hand.

Let me state this again:

the story, up to the last minute, wasn't leading us to a nonviolent ending. It was leading us to an ending where Luke had to defeat Vader.

It didn't happen.

It has nothing to do with the Greeks concept of the heroic. my first insight into how Luke fails happened when I read the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna is faced with having to face a very similar choice: he has to fight his uncles, teachers, and cousins. He, just like Luke, drops his weapon is refuses to fight.

It takes Krishna to bring him back to his senses. He has to fight his relatives and teachers. Krishna made him see that there was a lot more at play here than just breaking the moral imperative that tells you that you shouldn't attack your kin. This is powerful stuff.

Not so with Star War. Luke had been fighting people throughout the whole movie. Presumably, killing them. No moral objection on his part. No Jedi insight about how there was something good about these people. He just carelessly beat them up.

Luke, in contrast to King or Gandhi, was a warrior. The whole nonsense about how the Jedi only attack in self-defense is mute here because every warrior code claims that they only attack in self-defense.

If killing was a mark of turning to the dark side, Luke should have turned to the dark side back on episode IV, when he blew up the Death Star. Maybe he was a spiritual midget back then, but on the beginning of episode VI he is quite remorseless about killing people there was well.

Was it okay because it was self-defense? Well, wasn't it self-defense to fight Vader and the Emperor?

The story said that he had to face Vader, the worst of the worst, the intergalactic Hitler. Yes, Vader was his father, so what? Had he not known this, he would have happily light-sabered Vader's bionic heart out.

At the very least Luke could have soundly defeated him, and THEN give mercy, right before he is about to kill him. Defeat your father in a fight, but have mercy at the end. Slaying the dragon without going to the dark side. Solution made. Ahhhh. Can you feel the difference there?

Lucas painted himself into a corner and didn't have the guts to go through with the story. I feel for the guy, but the story suffers because of it.

Now, addressing your point, Justinian, Lucas pulled a deus ex=machina here. When the problems was unbearable and, for Lucas, unsolvable, a solution drops from the sky.

It is not that I am not allowing Luke to have creative problem solving skills. It is that by the context of the story and how Luke behaves, his sudden conversion to intergalactic Buddhism is coming out of nowhere.


To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gundamor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 17:21
But he did defeat Vadar. At the point that Darth Vadar turned on the emperor he was no longer Darth Vadar but was Anakin Skywalker. Darth Vadar was created by the emperor to serve the emperor as his apprentice. You could argue that a Sith apprentices main goal by lore is to kill his master and take his place however Vadar does not turn until he has to make the choice between the emperor or his son who was crying out to him. Perhaps Lukes whimpering and whining is what actually finally defeats Darth Vadar and reestablishes Anakin Skywalkers being.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 19:37
the point is, that wimp called Luke was never the hero in teh first place, it was Vader all along. so in the end he fullfilled his role by defeating and killing Palpatine. Luke was just a sidekick no one cared about.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brian J Checco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 20:58
Originally posted by Temujin Temujin wrote:

the point is, that wimp called Luke was never the hero in teh first place, it was Vader all along. so in the end he fullfilled his role by defeating and killing Palpatine. Luke was just a sidekick no one cared about.


ZING!!! Temujin for teh win!!!@1!!!!!

Seriously, though, the only meaningful resolution to Vader's subplot is the culmination upon the second Death Star. Vader is redeemed by killing Palpatine and dying himself as a result, Luke doesn't turn to the Dark Side by murdering a defeated and defenseless enemy (Vader), etc.

In response to the Jedi code; Jedi are authorized to use violence. Plain and simple. An enemy of the Republic (or the Rebellion, in this case) is an enemy of the Jedi- ergo, the Jedi, as warriors, can kill them without breaking their code. So the fact that Luke curbstomps his way across the galaxy to Vader and the Emperor is irrelevant. Not only that, but I fail to see how killing his father would either make him a better hero, or provide a suitably better ending.

Editor's Note: I f'ing hated Star Wars. I don't even know why I'm arguing this...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 21:02
Then again, vader is equally a failure as a villain, converting to good at the moment of victory.
 
So is luke a failure? he's not failing to fight a villain, he's failing to fight a failed villain. and two negatives equal a positive....
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 21:43
Gundamor,

I see your point about a spiritual defeat of Vader. But what the story was asking was for a physical defeat. :)

Brian,

You are right that Jedis can use violence. It is relevant because some argue that Luke's backing down from the fight is consistent with the peaceful nature of Jedis. As you say yourself, this is nonsense.

This is how the story would have been better. I will give you two scenarios where he is saved from the dark side.

a) Luke kills his father.
He does it with no angry emotions, though. He does it because he has the duty, as a Jedi, to kick ass to save the universe. He is very sad to kill daddy, but, that is life. Then he defeats the Emperor.

b) Luke mortally wounds Vader.
As soon as he does, Luke runs to help his father, who is dying. This piety moves Vader, who is redeemed by helping save little Luke, who by now is being shocked with Palatine's taser. Vader gets tased as well when he toss Palatine down the big hole, and Luke is tortured by not knowing if he killed his father, or it was the shocks that killed him.

What changes? Depth. Now Luke truly becomes a Jedi by fulfilling his duty and redeeming his father. He had to face real sacrifices, and understand that his Jedi responsibilities to protect galaxies are more important than his ties to his estranged father.

Temujin,

I agree with your position. I would say that we have compatible ideas. Vader does meet the challenge quite nicely.

To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2008 at 22:23
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ragozy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jan-2008 at 01:06

Except it was never said he was to kill Vader...just to confront him. The two senior Jedi Masters both knew that Vader was Luke father. Does that mean they were promoting patricide? Does a Jedi do that? Padm died saying there was good in him. Luke felt that good in him. To what purpose is there killing Vader? His is the Chosen One. What ever the prophecy, as ambiguous as it is, said - Vader accomplished it. There was no need to assign Luke the murder of his father. Is that the Jedi way?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jan-2008 at 02:23
Precisely.
 
IIRC, Yoda/Kenobi only said he must confront Vader, but didn't say anything about killing.
 
The presumption of killing is only in the mind, of Luke, of individual audience.
 
Even if Yoda/Kenobi meant he had to kill Vader, it doesn't make it necessarily true.  Yoda and Obi Wan weren't infallible in their own judgments.
 
What exactly would be the point of Luke killing Vader after defeating Vader?
 
This cannot be compared to Arjuna, who had not even defeated his bunch of relatives.
 
Scroll back a couple of chapters and we did see Luke refusing to even fight Vader, until Vader and the Emperor goaded him into it.
 
Palpatine did it by letting him watch the Alliance getting slaughtered.
 
After Luke was goaded into trying to attack Palpatine (not Vader), and then tried to withdraw, Vader goaded him by sensing Luke's thoughts and threatening to bring Leia over to the Dark Side.
 
It is this part that is comparable to Arjuna, if you want to.
 
In the story, was Arjuna trying to decide whether to kill his relatives after defeating them? Or trying to decide whether to fight them?
There is a BIG DIFFERENCE here.
 
Where the story was leading was immaterial, as it is different in the minds of different audience.
 
What we read into things reveal more about ourselves, our thoughts, our state of minds, than the things themselves.
 
That Luke killed before was not the point either.
Taking out the Death Star was the only way to save his friends from being obliterated.
Killing Vader after defeating him won't achieve anything of that sort.
 
If slicing off Vader's fighting hand isn't soundly defeating him, I don't know what is.
 
There was nothing "intergalactic Buddhist" about Luke's decision.
 
He was a warrior, but he was not a bloodthirsty killer.
From ANH, he saw first-hand the handiwork of murderers in the burning forms of his uncle and aunt, and he never resolved to become like the murderers.
 
From the time he was told he had to confront Vader, he already resolved he would bring Anakin back.  That never changed, but many of the audience just couldn't accept it and thought it was the wrong path.  They thought they knew better.
 
Of course they'd feel cheated when it turned out to be the right path.
 
I think that's why to some, it was a sudden conversion, because they didn't perceive what was in Luke's mind all the time before this, or they dismissed it outright without giving it due respect.


Edited by snowybeagle - 10-Jan-2008 at 02:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jan-2008 at 08:50
Hi, there, Ragozy,


Yes, Luke was meant to be a patricide of some sorts, if Vader had to die. Hey, Vader didn't have to die. He could have been defeated and survive. But he had to be soundly defeated, to the point where he is almost about to die, at least.

That is the direction where the epic tension is leading the story.

The other pull is that Luke must do this while staying on the light side of the force. Now we have a nice, tight conflict that reveals a greater truth about life when Luke had to resolve both of these issues.

Luke killing others with no remorse is a key for why he should have gone ahead, remorsefully, and fight and soundly defeat Vader.

Bluntly, he is committing intergalactic nepotism. Or are we supposed to believe that there wasn't any good connected to the people that Luke killed previous to his showdown with Vader? However this "little good" should save a horrible man who killed without remorse a planet full of people?

The Jedi have to protect the galaxies. However, Luke won't carry this out because the intergalactic Hitler happens to be his dad.

If this the Jedi way? No wonder they failed to protect the republic if they can kill everyone except for their friends and kin. Oh, by the way, this is the intergalactic Buddhism: we can't attack the bad guy because, "there is something good inside him."

Notice how Vader, the true hero at the end, doesn't worry about the "little good inside" in Palatine when he tosses him into the hole.

snowybeagle,

No, chopping the hand wasn't a defeat of Vader. Vader had to be truly defeated. Chopping the hand was a little victory for Vader, in fact, since Luke did it out of anger, and it was bringing him to the dark side Vader could still fight him.

The comparison of Arjuna then still applies. Luke had not defeated Vader and didn't want to defeat him. Luke had not even changed his mind either, so we can't even claim that he defeated him spiritually by this point.

Defeating his father had nothing to do with bloodthirst, but with his Jedi duty to protect the galaxy.

And bringing his father back wasn't a conflict with defeating his father in combat, once the combat started This third goal would have made it even better had Luke actually defeated him in combat.

Finally, if Star Wars is telling us that violence was the wrong path, it is one mighty weird way of doing it. The whole series is filled with violence and using violence to bring down the Empire. Inconsistent.

To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jan-2008 at 13:29

Okay, no way I'm reading all these posts. Let me just say I don't think Luke fails in any way; he wins the duel with Vader (having your hand chopped off usually counts as a loss), he then defeats the Emperor by not being tempted by the dark side and by destroying the Emperor's hold on Vader, who in turn kills the Emperor. Flawless victory in my opinion.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jan-2008 at 16:02
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

No, chopping the hand wasn't a defeat of Vader. Vader had to be truly defeated. Chopping the hand was a little victory for Vader, in fact, since Luke did it out of anger, and it was bringing him to the dark side Vader could still fight him.
How could Vader still fight him?

Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

The comparison of Arjuna then still applies. Luke had not defeated Vader and didn't want to defeat him.
Totall disagree with you.  In physical combat, Luke had defeated him.
 
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Luke had not even changed his mind either, so we can't even claim that he defeated him spiritually by this point.
Somewhat agree here - Vader still had not repented and turn against the Dark Side, yet.
But that is Vader's job, not Luke's.
Luke's job was to show Vader that one could still win without killing a man when he's down.
Luke's job was to show that he could be goaded into anger, and be tempted to the Dark Side, but he need not give in to the temptation.

Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Defeating his father had nothing to do with bloodthirst, but with his Jedi duty to protect the galaxy.
Killing Vader after slicing off Vader's hand wouldn't save the galaxy.
Vader was just an obstacle to dealing with Palpatine, the real scourge.

Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Finally, if Star Wars is telling us that violence was the wrong path, it is one mighty weird way of doing it.
No, I don't think that is ever what Star Wars is trying to tell the audience.
 
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

The whole series is filled with violence and using violence to bring down the Empire. Inconsistent.
If violence is all that matters, then there is nothing for the audience to distinguish between the Empire and the Alliance.
 
Yoda/Obiwan did not seek to dominate their disciple, dictating the disciple's will, the way Palpatine demanded it of his disciple Vader.
 
The facial expression on Palpatine's face when Luke rejected his final offer was that of frustration - for his (Palpatine's failure).
 
Luke did not just reject Palpatine, he was rejecting everything as worthless that Palpatine stood for, everything that Palpatine had "sold his soul" for, everything that Palpatine had devoted himself to.
 
By refusing to execute Vader, Luke mocked Palpatine's belief that one can only be strong over the opponent's dead body, or that one can only be secure by dominating over others.
 
Luke could have ordered the defeated Vader to turn against the Dark Side.  But that would have merely have Luke replaced Palpatine as Vader's new master.
 
Instead, Luke spoke to Vader as a way of reminding Vader that he (Vader) can be his own person, and make his own choice, even at that point in time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Justinian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Jan-2008 at 21:44
Wow, has this thread taken off.
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Lucas pulled a deus ex=machina here. When the problems was unbearable and, for Lucas, unsolvable, a solution drops from the sky.
Yes, thats a point of contention I've heard made against Lucas.  But, it does seem to have worked out well.Tongue
 
Hopefully, more to say later.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ragozy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jan-2008 at 00:39

hugoestr ...after jumping in guns a blazin'...I went and read your article. It seemed wrong and slightly off kilter.

According to the conventions of epic literature, he should have done it. That would have brought the tragic epic moment. However his sudden conversion to nonviolence makes him fail as a hero.

 Do we still cling to conventions? Are we stagnating in a type and form of storytelling? I dont think so. Writers continually show us how they can change the speed, motivation and character of the protagonist in a chapter. Hell, in a paragraph.  And those last page twists are enough to make you want to start drinking!  Lukes sudden conversion? I dont see that.

We are all of us parts of something else. We are teachers, pupils, singers and poets; we are builders and designers, criminals and police. All of us have some part of everything. When the occasion arises, we switch hats. For example, when little Johnny needs help with math, we become teachers.  So it is with Luke. His is pupil to Obi-Wan and Yoda. He is friend and brother to Leia. He is master to R2 and 3PO. He is Vader and Palpatines adversary. And so through out the film, we see Luke take on different roles. As a member of the Alliance, isnt he when he destroys the Death Star only fulfilling that role as rebel? Not necessarily as Jedi? He isnt really at this point in time, is he? So its not really a Jedi causing that destruction and loss of life, but the soldier. It isnt until Episode 6, when he fights Vader on the Death Star 2. Then he briefly turns from the light, when as snowybeagle said, he is goaded with the threat to his sister. But that step was so brief from light to dark to light, do we hold him responsible? I dont. Not completely, after all he is only human.

There is a tragic epic moment, isnt there? Vader. He has spent the last 20 odd years of his life in a shell. A shell of a man. To see in his son, what he should have been. The waste his life was. In those seconds as he watches the Emperor destroy his son, he makes the ultimate sacrifice. For the right reasons.  Its not 2 men against 5,000 in the sense of epic, but it fulfills a promise. Good always wins over evil.which isnt always the way it happens, but this time it did.

There isnt any reason for Luke to kill Vader. It would change the character of Luke.

Notice how Vader, the true hero at the end, doesn't worry about the "little good inside" in Palatine when he tosses him into the hole.

 

There was good in Palpatine? I missed that part!Wink

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jan-2008 at 02:26
He, he, I must say that I find it amazing that this thread is still going on

Reginmund,

Your position is what Lucas had intended. It was fine with me until I started reading ancient epic literature for, ironically, give a college student-run class strongly based on Star Wars.

I found really, really cool stuff, and Star Wars began to seem weaker and weaker.

Star Wars is the big epic story of our time, and frankly, we have been cheated. Thank god the "Godfather" is out there to give us a proper epic story. It would have been better if it were Star Wars, but I can settle with it.

snowybeagle,

Let me see: Vader had the other hand, and he has the power of the force to levitate and throw stuff at him. After all, he was able to pick up Palpatine with one hand!

There was plenty of Vader to fight. So Arjuna still stands. No true defeat, no true victory.

Your statement that Luke was there to show Vader how one could win without killing is quickly contradicted by Vader's action of killing the Emperor! Man, Luke failed at teaching him that as well

The big villain in the original trilogy was Vader, not Palpatine. When Yoda tells Luke that he has to fight his greatest enemy, or something like that, Luke thinks Vader, not Palpatine.

Also, the second trilogy did a lot of retcon turning Vader into the hero of the two trilogies.

My analysis just focuses on the first trilogy by itself.

Your analysis after you quote me is pretty nice. I like it. If we were just judging the episode by itself, it is pretty nice. In fact, I believe that probably most people see it this way, although they won't be able to articulated as well as you did.

However, the one flaw in the analysis is that the Alliance is using violence to fight the Empire. The Empire and the Alliance are not different in what means they use. It is only the intentions that are different.

My point is that Luke and the Alliance have no trouble using violence. It is only when Luke's duty and circumstances pushes him towards having to fight Vader than he backs out of violence.

Ragozy,

The beauty of epic literature is that is often teaches a profound truth about life in an aesthetic way. These often play out as two values running in conflict with each other.

So, Arjuna must fight his teachers and relatives because he has a duty to do so. Achilles loses his best friend and causes his side to look because he is blinded by anger and pride, and must suffer the consequences. Orestes must kill the killer of his father, who happens to be his mother. Gilgamesh, even though he is 2 thirds divine, must die like everyone else. Oedipus is driven to find the truth about the cause of the pest in Thebes only to find out that it has him, from no fault of his own who had cursed the city. Even the story of Jesus, which has many of the motifs of the epic hero, must have him die.

One is strongly moved by these stories. We have sudden insights about life though them.


Now let's look at Star Wars. Star Wars heavily follows epic conventions. It has many of the most common motifs, both in plots and characters.

It only deviates from the conventions when it comes to the end. Then, out of nowhere, Luke becomes nonviolent. Had there been some hints that this was going to happen, then the ending would have been awesome: Luke adopts nonviolence, renouncing his sword, goes to meet Vader, etc. etc. Great ending.

Little hints here and there would have been enough.

So we are led to the big moment of truth, only to have truth taken away from us.

Lucas was not a big creative genius when he broke out of this convention. Who knows what motivated him. He decided to go instead with a stronger convention: the happy ending.

During the research that I did, it seems that the story was constantly re-written until the film was done. At one point, I believe, the "Return of the Jedi" was called "The Revenge of the Jedi." One source claims that Lucas did write an ending where Luke fights and truly defeats his dad. In one version he goes to the dark side.

Now my feeling is that Lucas was sick of Star Wars by the end of Jedi. Had he gone with Luke turning to the dark side, he was committing to make another 3 films right away. And this may escape us now, but back in the 1980s, it was Luke who was the hero, not Vader.

So it was easier to do a deus ex machina, force a happy ending, and forget about Start Wars.

It worked well with me for years. It works well with most people. It just stopped working for me once I got exposed to better stories.


To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.


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