Thursday, March 13, 2014

Darth Vader (Star Wars Character Thoughts)

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

As a kid, I always thought Darth Vader was extremely scary. It is more than simply the fact that he is powerful, imposing and evil. After all, that power and evil are highly focused. He does not kill people randomly or without reason. He doesn’t even seem to have much of a drive beyond accomplishing the desire of the Emperor. Even so, you can imagine coming across him walking down a hallway on the Death Star would result in a loss of bodily function control.

More than anything it has to be the fact that Darth Vader is not quite human. I know it took me a while as a kid to decide whether Vader was a man or a robot. Even when you know without a doubt that he is a man in a suit, you quickly realize that he is barely a man—more like a corpse being kept alive artificially—a science fiction version of a revenant. A zombie. Or a vampire. Evil personified in the shape of a man.

Evil is the appropriate descriptor here, because Vader is a true picture of the absence of good. He is not an active character. For an active exploration of evil you would have to look to the Emperor, but Vader is the much more interesting study. He is a man who has turned to evil and in so doing, he has lost it all: his capacity for good, his desires and interests, his humanity. He is an automaton—a robot—open to the control of him who turned him to the “dark side.”

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