Saga Anakin, it's me, Padme, I've come home...

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Count Yubnub, Mar 7, 2013.

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  1. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Grand Master

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    Not a fatal one. Not in a modern society with advanced medical care, such as the world that Padme lived in. Women don't die from childbirth unless there is some terrible complication.

    I would be willing to grant that her death could be a result of her childbirth if Lucas had put in one solitary line of dialogue to explain that Padme had complications, either from the childbirth or from the force-choking. He pointedly did not. Nothing is ever mentioned about medical complications. The only reason Lucas ever gives us for Padme's death is that she lost the will to live.

    There's two issues here. One, the notion that a young woman -- a healthy, human woman who is not an elf, or part-elf, and who possesses no unusual physical powers or access to the Force -- would suddenly die for no other reason than a broken heart. That's bad enough.

    But what makes this truly horrendous storytelling is that this young woman, who according to Lucas simply willed herself to die, is leaving behind two newborn babies. That means Padme made a conscious decision to abandon her children. Children who were effectively fatherless and who needed her desperately, and yet she deliberately chose to leave them and die.

    Because Lucas couldn't be bothered to give us one valid medical reason to explain Padme's death, this ruins her as a mother and as a character. She never FOUGHT to stay with her babies -- because Lucas never gave her anything to fight against! Physically there was nothing wrong with her. Nothing.
    Last edited by Leias_Left_Bun, Mar 15, 2013
  2. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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    <<-- This guy is more of a scholar of Tolkien than he is of Star Wars :cool:
  3. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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    This I agree with, I found it ridiculously selfish of her to do that. Also, imagine if she had shown up later and proved the Darth Sideous to be a liar with his "in your anger YOU killed her" line to Anakin. Anakin might have rebelled against him immediately!

    Ruined a bit of continuity too.
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  4. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    To my knowledge, there's nothing stopping any Elves who have returned to the Undying Lands from heading on back to Middle Earth - other than having no interest in doing so whatsoever. I don't recall there being any instances of it happening (before anyone mentions it, Gandalf/Olorin is a Maiar, not an Elf), and it would miss the point - the Elves are somewhat in exile & long to return into the West, plus their very departure is symbolic of the time of myth ending.

    Off-topic, anyway.
  5. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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    Can we keep discussing it or should we return to the topic at hand?
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  6. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    So is being nearly choked to death by a Sith Lord & then tossed to the ground like a rag doll beforehand. I do agree that the whole "she has lost the will to live" is a bit clumsily handled, but I don't think it's a 'plot hole' or something that doesn't work at all.

    Well-spotted about Desdemona being choked to death in Othello, though, I'd forgotten about that - although the sub-plot of Anakin suspecting Padme & Obi-Wan having an affair (with Palps fuelling his jealousy) was abandoned completely (some of it remains in one of the ROTS deleted scenes), there's GL's inspiration right there.
  7. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Nothing wrong at all with discussing parallels between SW & the works of Tolkien, just don't want things to veer off into a discussion solely about Tolkien's work (which I'd be tempted to get sucked into myself, BTW), that's for the JCC forum.
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  8. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Grand Master

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    True, Padme has certainly been through some serious physical trauma. But then we get this:

    Medical Droid: Medically, she is completely healthy. For reasons we can’t explain, we are losing her.

    So this is why I have a problem with the scene. If Padme's cause of death is completely psychological, because she is so heartbroken that she's lost the will to live, that means she is choosing to leave her babies. And if the cause of death is physical, we should never have gotten the above line of dialogue.

    I wish that subplot about Anakin suspecting an affair had not been deleted, as I think it would have added a bit more depth and texture to the story. And I certainly think it's possible that Lucas took inspiration from Othello, and Wuthering Heights, among other famous stories. But the way he wrote Padme's death scene just doesn't work for me at all, and I think does a great disservice to the character of Padme. She deserved a better end.
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  9. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Yeah, I agree to a point - that's sort of what I meant about it being 'clumsily handled'. While I can understand the dramatic impact of having Padme "die of a broken heart", it probably would have been more effective for Anakin/Vader to all but kill her to begin with. I don't really agree with the idea that by losing the will to live she's choosing to leave her children - that's going a little too deep for SW - but it does suddenly present this former monarch/hero of Naboo/Galactic Senator/founder of the Rebel Alliance as being quite wishy-washy & weak.

    (My own personal preference would have been for Palps to kill her with Force lightning while Anakin simply looked on & let it happen, really would have echoed powerfully with Vader's turn in ROTJ - this could have been after she'd given birth to the twins in secret, or perhaps Obi-Wan interrupts)
  10. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Grand Master

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    But if Padme's death is completely psychological (and for what it's worth, I agree with the OP that was Lucas' intention, but I just think it's very poor storytelling) then there's really no way to get around the idea that Padme is willingly leaving her babies. She is choosing to die because her heart is so broken, which means she is also choosing to abandon her kids. And yes, I agree that it makes her look wishy-washy and weak.

    It gets worse when you think about the fact that Padme's dying words demonstrate she still believes there is good in Anakin. So, she has two newborn babies who need her and a husband who still possesses good and is capable of being turned. Moreover, since the twins are just born, Padme must know that she is the only person in the world who can possibly get through to Anakin and reach the part of him that is still good. So by just giving up her life when she is "completely healthy," Padme not only forsakes her babies -- but she practically ensures that Anakin will remain an evil killer for 20-odd years until Luke is finally old enough to do what Padme should have done herself much earlier.

    Yes, she had tried and failed once to reach the good in Anakin. But to achieve anything difficult, you can't give up after one failed attempt or you'll never get anywhere. Yes, Padme almost lost her life the first time but she dies anyway! Much better for her to die in an heroic moment of sacrifice trying to turn Anakin back to the light, as opposed to saying, "My lover was mean to me so I just don't want to live anymore."

    The story you propose would have been infinitely better than what we saw on screen and yes, it would been a strong emotional echo of the turning scene in ROTJ.
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  11. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    Hindley becomes an alcoholic after his wife's death, encouraged by Heathcliff; then he amasses gambling debts--to Heathcliff. It's how he extracts his revenge on Hindley. His reaction to Hindley's death:

    "He maintained a hard, careless deportment, indicative of neither joy nor sorrow: if anything, it expressed a flinty gratification at a piece of difficult work successfully executed."

    So Heathcliff does "kill" Hindley.



    Sigh.

    Appels, C. W. Y., & Bolk, J. H. (2009). Sudden death after emotional stress: A case history and literature review. European Journal of Internal Medicine, 20(4), 359-361.
    Brodsky, M. A., Sato, D. A., Iseri, L. T., Wolff, L. J., & Allen, B. J. (1987). Ventricular tachyarrhythmia associated with psychological stress: The role of the sympathetic nervous system. Journal of the American Medical Association, 257(15), 2064-2067.
    Clinton, J. E., McGill, J., Irwin, G., Peterson, G., Lilja, G. P., & Ruiz, E. (1984). Cardiac arrest under age 40: Etiology and prognosis. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 13(11), 1011-1015.
    DeSilva, R. A. (1982). Central nervous system risk factors for sudden cardiac death. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 382(1), 143-161.
    Dimsdale, J. E. (1977). Emotional causes of sudden death. American Journal of Psychiatry, 134(12), 1361-1366.
    Eliot, R. S., & Bull, J. C. (1985). Role of emotions and stress in the genesis of sudden death. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 5(6, Supplement 1), 95B-98B.
    Engel, G. L. (1971). Sudden and rapid death during psychological stress: Folklore or folk wisdom? Annals of Internal Medicine, 74(5), 771-783.
    Engel, G. L. (1976). Psychologic factors in instantaneous cardiac death. New England Journal of Medicine, 294(12), 664-665.
    Engel, G. L. (1978). Psychologic stress, vasodepressor (vasovagal) syncope, and sudden death. Annals of Internal Medicine, 89(3), 403-412.
    Frank, C., & Smith, S. (1990). Stress and the heart: Biobehavioral aspects of sudden cardiac death. Psychosomatics, 31(3), 255-264.
    Hatton, D. C., Gilden, E. R., Edwards, M. E., Cutler, J., Kron, J., & McAnulty, J. H. (1989). Psychophysiological factors in ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 33(5), 621-631.
    Lane, R. D., & Schwartz, G. E. (1987). Induction of lateralized sympathetic input to the heart by the CNS during emotional arousal: A possible neurophysiologic trigger of sudden cardiac death. Psychosomatic Medicine, 49(3), 274-284.
    Lecomte, D., Fornes, P., & Nicolas, G. (1996). Stressful events as a trigger of sudden death: A study of 43 medico-legal autopsy cases. Forensic Science International, 79(1), 1-10.
    Samuels, M. A. (2007). The brain-heart connection. Circulation, 116(1), 77-84.
    Taggart, P., & Lambiase, P. (2011). Anger, emotion and mental stress: From brain to heart. Frontiers in Physiology, 2(67), 1-11.
    Terranova, C., Snenghi, R., Thiene, G., & Ferrara, S. D. (2011). Psychic trauma as cause of death. Medicine, Science and the Law, 51(suppl 1), S11-S15.
    Wittstein, I. S. (2007). The broken heart syndrome. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 74(Suppl 1), S17.
    Wittstein, I. S., Thiemann, D. R., Lima, J. A. C., Baughman, K. L., Schulman, S. P., Gerstenblith, G., et al. (2005). Neurohumoral features of myocardial stunning due to sudden emotional stress. New England Journal of Medicine, 352(6), 539-548.
    And
    Heaton, K. W. (2006). Faints, fits, and fatalities from emotion in Shakespeare's characters: Survey of the canon. British Medical Journal, 333, 1335-1338.





    That's rather an oversimplification. Catherine does love Edgar. Moreover, she's convinced herself that by marrying Edgar she will be able to raise Heathcliff's standing.


    This is you rationalizing or self-justifying. The notion that a death "should" be "deserved" in drama otherwise it's a "dramatic cheat" is entirely your own--an obvious case of motivated reasoning--and doesn't hold any water when looking at similar deaths in Shakespeare or Wagner or what have you.


    I think you're confused; Catherine being ill while refusing to eat takes place several months before her death--she heals. There's no mention of her refusing to eat during the couple of chapters leading up to her death.



    This really represents a grave misunderstanding of the narrative on your end. Dramatically, the reason why Padme dies--of a broken heart--is to close the self-fulfilling prophesy that is Anakin's vision. Anakin has a vision of Padme dying, so to prevent that turns to the dark side, which causes Padme to die of a broken heart. Hence, a self-fulfilling prophesy. Having Padme die from childbirth complications or somesuch nonsense would completely destroy the drama there, as that would not causally link her death to Anakin's turn.


    Like Romeo's mum, Brabantio, Enobarbus, Iras, Gloucester, both Mamillius and Hermione, The Cymbeline queen, Isolde, Elsa, both Elisabeth and Tannhäuser, etc. etc.
    Last edited by Count Yubnub, Mar 19, 2013
  12. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    This, again, is nonsense. First, Catherine Earnshaw doesn't "lock herself in a room and refuses to eat"; that episode takes place several months (and chapters) before her death. She heals. Second, there are many cases of death-by-heartbreak (most, as far as I can see) where the author does not indicate another medical reason (and again, death-by-heartbreak is genuine); Ophelia and Desdemona do not die from a broken heart. Third, I don't see how having two babies can prevent someone from dying of a broken heart.
  13. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    "Wills herself to die"? What? That's BS. Where does that happen?
    Last edited by Count Yubnub, Mar 19, 2013
  14. Vthuil Force Ghost

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    What else do all of these characters have in common? Not being written in the last century.
  15. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    What does that have to do with anything?
  16. Vthuil Force Ghost

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    As I've said before, "dying of a broken heart" is kind of an outdated trope. The fact that it goes uncriticized in older works doesn't mean it can be used the same way today.
  17. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    I'm sure there's was supposed to be an argument there but you just forgot to include it.
  18. Vthuil Force Ghost

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    My argument, in a nutshell, is that you can't really do the "it's been done before" argument to defend how Padme's death was written when all of the cases where it had been done are from a significantly different time and social context.
  19. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    An argument, to paraphrase Michael Palin, is a series of connected statements intended to establish a proposition. What you did is rephrase your proposition, not provide any arguments to support it.
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  20. Darth_Monkey_Boy Jedi Grand Master

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    I don't really get the argument of "she had 2 babies, so she HAD to live!". When people get depressed, they think only of themselves and what has been done to them, or what they've done to others. Close relations DO NOT matter to the depressed. This is why we have suicide. Padme had destroyed the Republic that she loved by nominating "Hitler". The man she loved became a child-murdering bastard. He also just choked the living Hell out of her with The Force. She fell into a depressed state, and died from it. She ultimately died BECAUSE Anakin turned to the Dark Side. If he hadn't turned, she would've lived, and I think that was the point Lucas was making.
  21. Vthuil Force Ghost

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    ...Okay, I'm done. Keep telling yourself the appeal to authority stuff if you want, but don't act surprised when other people don't buy it.
  22. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    Good. As a side note, I was referencing a Monty Python skit.
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  23. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Grand Master

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    No, Heathcliff does not in any way "kill" Hindley. Hindley is an alcoholic who gambles away his money. Heathcliff never forced him to drink or gamble. These were things Hindley did all on his own. Hindley is 100 percent responsible for his own fate.

    For what it's worth, I believe very strongly in the mind-body connection. I believe that being sad can depress your immune system, and can make you more vulnerable to disease, make it harder for your body to recover from injury. But there still has to be a root cause for the death. A virus, an injury -- something, anything. I'm willing to bet good money that not one of those articles you cite names a person who dies purely from thinking themselves to death with no root cause whatsoever. If so, give me a specific example.

    The way Catherine loves Edgar is extremely superficial compared to her feelings for Heathcliff. Remember: "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire."

    As for Catherine's supposedly becoming healthy again after the episode where she refuses to eat for days, both of these passages are written after Catherine's "recovery":

    "Mrs. Linton is now just recovering,' I said; 'she'll never be like she was, but her life is spared; and if you really have a regard for her, you'll shun crossing her way again: nay, you'll move out of this country entirely; and that you may not regret it, I'll inform you Catherine Linton is as different now from your old friend Catherine Earnshaw, as that young lady is different from me. Her appearance is changed greatly, her character much more so..."

    "Then, the paleness of her face — its haggard aspect having vanished as she recovered flesh — and the peculiar expression arising from her mental state, though painfully suggestive of their causes, added to the touching interest which she awakened; and — invariably to me, I know, and to any person who saw her, I should think — refuted more tangible proofs of convalescence, and stamped her as one doomed to decay."

    Just because I interpret the story differently than you do does mean I have a "grave misunderstanding" of the narrative. The essence of good debate is the ability to tolerate and respect each other's interpretations. I am well aware of the prophecy and it's roots in classic Greek literature, the irony of Anakin bringing about that which he feared the most. But in the context of this story and these characters, it does not work at all.

    A good story must work on several levels. Having Padme simply will herself to death is a dramatic failure of epic proportions. Aside from the fact that it makes no sense on a literal level, it weakens Padme enormously as a character. The prophecy would still be fulfilled if Padme had some real medical cause for her death -- because Anakin would still be culpable. If she dies because of complications from the force-choking -- Anakin caused that. If Padme dies in a scene like Darth Nub suggested, Anakin would responsible because he didn't step in and try to save her. Even if she dies purely from childbirth -- Anakin is the one who knocked her up. Any way you slice it, Padme's death is Anakin's responsibility. Giving Padme an actual cause of death doesn't change that in the least.

    To say that Padme's death must be psychological for the prophecy to be fulfilled is an incredibly narrow reading of the story. But I do agree with you about one thing: Padme's death scene is really all about Anakin. You may think that's a good thing. But I think it's pathetic.
    Last edited by Leias_Left_Bun, Mar 19, 2013
  24. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Grand Master

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    And as I pointed out in my post above, Catherine never does truly recover from that episode.

    If there are "many" examples in respected literature where a character dies from a broken heart and the author gives us no medical/physical cause whatsoever, give me one. Be specific.

    No, of course having two babies doesn't prevent someone from losing the will to live. It just makes the character look like a bad parent.
  25. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Grand Master

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    You can't have it both ways. Either Padme's death is completely psychological -- which means that she willingly makes the choice to die and thus, abandons her babies. Or else her death has a physical cause.
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