Anakin's profoundly human frailty

Discussion in 'Attack of the Clones' started by Darthkarma, May 25, 2002.

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  1. Darthkarma Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2000
    star 4

    I remember reading a George Lucas interview one time, many years back where he made some comments which I at the time I found fascinating. I've often thought of them. And now that the prequels are underway, I can't help thinking of them a lot!

    Here's basically what I remember George saying. The interviewer had asked him why it was necessary that Vader's helmet was removed at the end of ROTJ. GL said one big reason was that a few people seemed to be confused and thought Darth Vader was a robot and he wanted to show him there was a human being in the suit.

    Relating to that, he said it was important that people know for all of the crazy creatures, gadgets and special effects in STAR WARS that ultimately he intended it to demonstrate human frailty. And that it would be necessary for people to know that Darth Vader wasn't just a bad guy in a black suit that happened to be the hero's father.
    And that we would have to go back to beginning to understand the TRAUMA that led Darth to be in that suit. This was MANY years ago and I was always intrigued by these comments. Now we're getting to the good stuff.

    One thing I am struck by is that while Anakin is an ultra-POWERFUL superman when it comes to his gifts with the Force, he is very WEAK and immature at dealing with grief, anger, hurt, disappointment, patience, separation, jealousy, romance, pride and his emotions in general.

    Anakin is indeed typical of the human condition we all experience, we all must deal with the big issues, death, love, pride, our relationship with our parents, our mentors and so on. And all of his powerful talents cannot save him from his very human flaws of arrogance.

    He was so tender and tearful holding his dying mother. But so brutal on the way home.
    Talk about mood swings!

    As much as I love STAR WARS, Episode II was the first one during which I cried.

    When finished the saga will be a great cautionary tale on making the RIGHT decisions. And dealing with our emotions.
    All set within a very entertaining framework.

    I can't wait for Episode III.

    Comments?
  2. EviL_DukKY Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2002
    star 3
    Yea, making the right choices..

    "Wanna buy some death sticks?"
    "You don't want to sell me your death sticks"
    "Uh..I dun wanna sell ya my death sticks"
    "You want to go home and rethink your life"
    "I'm gonna go head and..rethink my life."
  3. ami-padme Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 1999
    star 4
    Good post. :) Do you know the interview its from? Sounds like a good one.


    Anakin and Luke were both brought up "normally" -- with attachments, strong emotions, and all. Luke succeeded where Anakin failed: not in training all that stuff out of him, or ignoring them, or never having them in the first place (the ostensible reason Jedi training starts so young), but in controlling them (he pulls back in ROTJ, while Anakin starts chopping heads in AOTC) and integrating them into his Jedi training and into his mission. Without a familial attachment, I don't think he decides to save Vader instead of killing him. This choice separates him from the "old line" of Jedi thinking, and in the end, is what saves everything. Anakin nevers finds that "third way," so to speak, and simply lets his emotions lead him, no matter where they take him, and that winds up being a huge part of his downfall.

  4. Darth_Scarlet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 1
    Nice post Darthkarma. I used to cry at the end of ROTJ when Vader died in Luke's arms :_| . Didn't cry during Shimi's death scene but, thought it equally as powerful. I can't wait to see AOTC again! (Only been able to see it once so far :( )
  5. thalia_seawood Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    Actually, I think that Luke upbringing was a bit more normal than Anakin's. (But there are some strong parallels.)

    As a child, Anakin is a slave.
    He then leaves his mother to become a jedi and knows that he will not see her again for a long time.
    After leaving his mother, at first his not accepted by the Jedi Council, but at least Qui Gon is allowed to take care if him. He then loses Qui Gon whom he deeply trusted.
    The Jedi Council rethinks its position and Anakin can be trained after all - with Obi-wan who in ep I does not seem to like Anakin in the beginning.

    So Anakin's life wasn't exactly easy. He has to deal with much more loss in his youth than Luke.
  6. EviL_DukKY Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2002
    star 3
    I think Luke's upbringing almost perfectly parallels Anakin's...

    Anakin: lived on Tatooine as a slave
    Luke: lived on Tatooine as a moisture farmer (they're still chores, both of them did chores)
    Anakin: Rejected at first by Yoda because he was too old, but then began training anyway when Yoda got alittle talkin' to
    Luke: Rejected at first by Yoda becuase he was too old, but then began training anyway when Yoda got alittle talkin' to by Kenobi
    Anakin: Left home, came back and his parent was killed
    Luke: Left home, came back and his parents were killed
    Anakin: fully trained by Kenobi
    Luke: began training by Kenobi until his death
  7. DarthGunray Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2001
    star 3
    DarthKarma,

    Your post is quite interesting. The story of Star Wars, and probably what makes it so interesting, is that it's all about people dealing with normal everyday problems we face ourselves. It's about people, and that's the bottom line. Star Wars is a powerful story, and I think that Anakin's downfall and redemption will probably be the most emotional story in cinema history. I mean, he loses his mother twice in ten years. Then, whatever makes him go to the Dark Side makes go that path. Of course, in the end his son is able to help save him from the darkness. I wish these stories would last forever. It's just so powerful...

    Sorry to rant on like that. :p
  8. Tobie_Wan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 4
    Anakin is ultimately destined to bring balance to the Force, but has to live a tortured life, ruled by his emotions. He finally frees himself from the possession of the dark side in the final act, when he is confronted with the choice to save the life of the only other blood relative (Luke) he has ever known besides his mother, who he was grief stricken about not being able to save.
  9. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2000
    star 7
    Luke: Left home, came back and his parents were killed

    You mean his guardians. ;)
  10. EviL_DukKY Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2002
    star 3
    You can call them parents, since they adopted him.
  11. Darthkarma Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2000
    star 4


    Ami-Padme, sorry I don't remember where I read the interview. It was a long time ago.

    Man, I am enjoying the comments on this thread.
  12. ami-padme Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 1999
    star 4
    That's okay, I was just wondering. :)


    And yes, Luke's upbringing was "normal" -- practically to the point of boredom. I think that's one of the reasons Luke was so obsessed with his father, even when he didn't know his father was a Jedi...I think Luke needed a connection to something that wasn't involved in his hum-drum life on the farm. But, despite his frustrations, I think Luke was given a stability in his life that was very important in keeping him on the right path later (obviously, the connection to his father was equally important).


    Anakin is indeed typical of the human condition we all experience, we all must deal with the big issues, death, love, pride, our relationship with our parents, our mentors and so on.

    Yes, like most mythic heroes, Anakin's story is set in a fantastic, far off place, and he has adventures most of us couldn't imagine, and is blessed with power/skills that no one has...yet when it comes down to it, he still has to face the same problems and answer the questions that you and I have to answer in trying to get through life. And Anakin's powers and adventures only take on their full meaning when he overcomes his normal, human frailties, and rises above them, as his son manages to.

    Lucas mentions not wanting people to be left with the impression of Vader as a robot or machine, and it is very important that people aren't able (or, at least, it isn't made easy for them) to separate themselves from Vader, and look at him as a hideous monster and think that could never be them. Because, symbolically speaking, it can be any of us...and while that point was made in ROTJ, it's being laid out for us more starkly in the prequels, which is one of the reasons I've enjoyed the last two movies so much. :)


  13. Darthkarma Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2000
    star 4


    A lot of people would laugh if you said STAR WARS was about the human condition, but when you see all six episodes, that's what it will be about. STAR WARS lies not in the stars, but in ourselves.
  14. Dinoforce Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 1
    Great posts! Anakin's upbringing differs from Luke's in that Anakin's attachment to his mother was severed at such a young age and then he returns to find her brutally tortured. For Luke, Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen were his parents (foster parents) and he lived the 'normal' life of a Tatooine child. ( No great prophecies, or destiny or Jedi temple for him.)

    I wholeheartedly agree that GL intends for us to see that the dark side is within all of us to some extent. I remember an interview in which GL specifically wanted Anakin to be a good kid with good intentions and wanted the story to show how a good person can do bad things. In that picnic scene, you can see that Anakin is leaning towards a dictatorial govt. because he thinks that it will force(no pun intended) the politicians to do the right thing. He truly wants to help the galaxy be a better place without corrupt politicians. As people have said many times, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  15. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    There are similarities between Luke and Anakin's upbringings, but does it not seem that Anakin's choices were slightly more 'weighted' or 'given' to the Dark Side?

    1. When Luke's guardians were killed, there was no one there to react against.

    2. When Ben was killed, Luke DID start freaking out, and was only really swayed by Ben's own mystical voice to put the grief aside.

    3. Luke's early and later life were both surrounded by friends. Anakin's early life was similar, but once he entered the Jedi order, he was left with only one source of human contact: Kenobi. Obi-Wan is the only one that, arguably, KNOWS him. Even Padme doesn't even really know him. Luke's friends have known who he is for four years by ESB.

    4. Luke's rejections are not as overbearing as Luke's rejections. Anakin is rejected in front of his face for no valid reason for anything he's actively done. Luke is rejected by Yoda, and then given a well DESERVED lecture immediately thereafter. Anakin's experiences are more that authority tends to be corrupt, unwieldly and indecisive (Anakin can be a Jedi after TPM, but what has changed in the council's reasons for banning him?) The authority figures in Luke's life are far more credible.
  16. Darthkarma Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2000
    star 4

    I think part of what will make us feel compassion for Anakin/Vader (even as we condemn his evil) is the depth of his grief and guilt over his mother's death.

    This is a soul in anguish. As Yoda
    comments, "Young Skywalker is in pain, terrible pain." And suffering.
  17. Darthkarma Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2000
    star 4


    The fact that Anakin is so hungry for approval that he'll fall for that buttering up from Palpatine is one more example of how needy he is and how frail is ego is.
  18. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
  19. jedi scholar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 3
    I love this thread. There are some truly great posts here. I think that when the whole thing is complete we will end up feeling sorry for Anakin in much the same way that we do for great tragic figures like Hamlet. BTW, I've been trying to figure out which if any of the classic seven deadly sins fits Anakin's personlity. Pride for sure(major trgic element). Any thoughts on the others? (Avarice(greed), Sloth(spiritual laziness), Lechery, Wrath(anger), Gluttony, & Envy).
  20. Darthkarma Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2000
    star 4


    I think Jabba covers the gluttony issue. ;)
  21. TheVioletBurns Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2002
    star 4
    I feel an immense amount of pity for Anakin, the kid just makes me cry, man.

    After Episode III he may be my favorite tragic character ever, his story is the most interesting part of Star Wars for me.
  22. ami-padme Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 1999
    star 4
    There are similarities between Luke and Anakin's upbringings, but does it not seem that Anakin's choices were slightly more 'weighted' or 'given' to the Dark Side?

    Yes, I think that's a good point (and a good post)...

    Something else significant is that compared to Anakin, Luke was put in a position to hate or oppose the Sith.

    A Sith does kill Qui-Gon, but Anakin doesn't experience it in the same way Luke does (i.e., he doesn't actually witness Qui-Gon's death, maybe doesn't even really see Maul depending on his hangar sitting in that ship in the hangar). Luke now has a personal vendetta against Vader for killing Obi-Wan, combined with the deep-seeded need to avenge his father. Luke already hates the Empire in general (as he says in ANH), and they kill his adoptive parents before he sets off to leave Tatooine. Luke's journey begins in opposition to the Sith and the Empire, politically and personally, and even after the immense shock of Vader being his father, I still think the foundation Luke had helped, and helped keep him focused on what the Emperor truly was in ROTJ.

    Anakin, on the other hand, has already befriended Palpatine, and he is in constant conflict with a crumbling democracy and an arrogant and staid Jedi Order. And, after watching Dooku in action (remember, he was unconscious for the entire Yoda fight)...hell, I'd wonder if the Dark Side was stronger myself.


    Anakin, for a variety of reasons, had a more troubled path than Luke did (not, of course, to take away from the enormous strength Luke showed in defeating the Dark Side, something I believe Anakin could have done, despite the circumstances).


    (And I love this thread too! :))

  23. RiggsWolfe Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 2
    Jedi scholar,

    I'd have to say Anakin is probably either Wrath,Envy, or Pride, but out of all these I'd lean most heavily towards Wrath, especially after the Tusken murder scene.
  24. Katze Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2002
    What a great thread!

    Anakin doesn't seem to have much natural logic. It's either Obi-Wan or Padme telling him to think about what he's doing. PAdme tells him that he needs to come back to the real world and he needs to follow his thoughts to conclusion. He then discovers that a secret romance would destroy them (and it does - but they go for it anyway). Obi-Wan has to make him consider the "business" point of view when he was willing to be expelled from the Order when he wanted to go after Padme.
    There's no logic to this boy.

    While Luke is just as emotional (going after his friends in the cloud city without having completed his training), he seems to have more of a handle on his emotions. Though he doesn't seem to develop this control until he discovers that his own father was seduced by the dark side, and that he could be seduced as well. Luke realizes this when he sees the wires coming out of Vaders arm (another parallel). Luke realizes that this is the beginning, but he manages to pull back.

    As an aside = is there a discussion somewhere on this board regarding Jedi becoming ghosts, and why it only seems to happen in the OT/when they die in front of Luke?
  25. Dinoforce Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 1
    Katze:
    I think the thread you are looking for is called, AOTC reveals how Jedi disappear and the last time I looked it was on the 6:18 a.m. slot.
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