Friday, March 14, 2014

Anakin Skywalker (Star Wars Character Thoughts)

 More Thoughts: Intro, C3PO, R2D2, Qui-Gon, Obi Wan, Anakin, Padme, Han, Chewy, The Emperor, Yoda, Vader, Luke

If Vader is a picture of evil in the loss of humanity, Anakin is the story of how that loss is achieved. Ironically, it is the desire to hold onto that which feels human that leads down the path to the “dark side.” Anakin is a little boy afraid to lose the little love he has in his life. As a slave he is constantly wanting more, and he jumps at the chance when it comes: freedom, opportunity, adventure. He is so dazzled by the prospect that he hardly gives a thought to what he will lose. When he does finally realize his losses he is determined to never allow such loss again. The ultimate temptation to embrace evil—and lose his humanity—is the lie that he can defeat death and keep his love with Padme alive forever.

Anakin argues with Obi Wan about the validity of love, but what he is really wanting to justify is an attachment; he does not care for Padme selflessly, he wants her to make him feel safe and loved. Love is one of those concepts that many hold to mean the exact opposite of what it really signifies. Where true love is a selfless concern for another’s well-being, we too often use it to mean the selfish desire to possess someone. This is the driving characterization of Anakin. He wants to obtain and wield power to control. Control other people in his life, circumstances around him, even the whole world. He claims benevolence in wanting to make things better, but he really just wants to create a universe in his image.

All of this paints a picture of a power-hungry, evil tyrant. Anakin never really achieves this, even as Vader. What Anakin really comes off as is the whinny, cowering child that he is. This backstory is intended to show us the tragedy of Vader as a character with whom we can identify and not just fear. We may identify with him, but we don’t really empathize.

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