Darth Vader's Armor and Broken Body: A Symbol of Anakin's Character

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by RKMeibalane, Apr 28, 2003.

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  1. RKMeibalane Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2002
    star 2
    I was thinking about this earlier, and I have come to the conclusion that the armor worn by Darth Vader and the body sustain by this armor is a symbol of the character of Anakin Skywalker. By character, I am referring to Anakin's behavior, and any related thoughts and feelings that he experiences throughout the Star Wars Saga.

    Darth Vader's armor represents strength and power. Anakin posseses each of these attributes. He is tremendously gifted with the Force, and is both a character of great physical strength and strength of will. He did afterall, manage to break free of the restrictions imposed on him by Palpatine and Dark Side.

    The armor represents something else, however. It is a cover-up of Anakin's more delicate and sensitive side. Though Anakin comes across as a brash, cocky individual, this is merely a facade, a shield that covers up what lies beneath.

    Underneath Vader's armor lives a fragile individual. This fragility or weakness represents the feelings of insecurity that Anakin struggles with. Though, as stated aboice, he comes across as being sure of himself, it becomes clear that he faces many of the same doubts as those of us who don't have even a fraction of his ability.

    Like the man beneath the armor, Anakin Skywalker is fragile. And just as his body was dependent upon the suit to sustain his body after his accident, Anakin depends on others to sustain him as a person.

    In AOTC, we learn that Anakin and Obi-Wan don't always agree. They argue frequently, and fail to reach a state of compromise on many of the issues they debate with each other. However, it is clear that Anakin resprects his Master, and that he seeks, above all else, the acceptence of those he cares about. It is due in part to this desire for acceptance that leads Anakin towards the Dark Side.

    Anakin spends nearly his whole life searching for this acceptance. He first seeks it from Obi-Wan, but fails to recognize the love and admiration his Master has for him. Skywalker then seeks acceptance from Palpatine, and for a time, he finds it. However, Anakin soon discovers that Palpatine is much more difficult to deal with than Obi-Wan had ever been. Anakin cannot find acceptance from him, so he decides to get rid of Palpatine once he learns of Luke's existence.

    Once Luke learns the truth about his heratige, he seeks to redeem his father. Anakin resists, believing that the only way he will ever have the power he desires is through the Dark Side. He also argues that it is too late to change anyway. However, what Anakin does not realize at first is that Luke has given him exactly what he has sought his entire life, the acceptance of someone who can understand him, both as a person, and as a serveant of the Force.

    Because of Luke, Anakin is finally able to break free of the Dark Side, and he also is able to cast away the armor he lived in for so long. He no longer needs it, because he no longer needs to hide behind the powerful exterior everyone is familiar with. Luke saw Anakin as he really was, and did not reject him. More importantly, Anakin eventually recognized this fact.

  2. Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 5
    Wondefully put RKMeibalane. You officially go up in my list of people who can take the words out of my mind and put them onto paper as something that is understandable. :D Trust me, it's sometimes an impossible thing.

    Aunecah
  3. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 5, 2001
    star 5
    Wow, impressive. I never noticed this, but you're right, Vader's suit and Anakin's character ARE alike.


    Nice post. :D
  4. IG_88a Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2002
    star 4
    nice thread, and great idea, i totally agree, well worded too.
    one question, we know how papls treats his people, but he treats vader vastly different to how he treats maul to some extent dooku, in my opinion he treats vader not as an equal, tool or underling but more like a friend, did you factor this into your thoughts?
  5. Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 5
    IG_88a: Hmm! That's not the impression I got. I thought that Palpy gave much more respect to Maul than to Vader. I mean, especially in RotJ, when they're talking about Luke - he talks as if he doesn't have any confidence in Vader's "feelings" at all. I don't see him doing that with Maul or Dooku.

    Interesting.

    Aunecah
  6. RKMeibalane Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2002
    star 2
    I did think about Vader and Palpatine's relationship. You make a good point. Palpatine did not treat Vader the same way that he seemed to treat Maul and Dooku. However, from where I stand, I think Palpatine actually showed those two more respect than he showed Vader. I think this was, more than anything else, an attempt by Palpatine to lower Vader's self-asteem, in order to control him. Palpatine knew Anakin's potential was extremely high, and he feared what might have happened had Vader ever betrayed him, so he did whatever he could to control him. Of course, Palpatine failed to control his pupil forever.
  7. IG_88a Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2002
    star 4
    but didn't palpy call vader "my old friend" ? that doesn't sound like someone who wants to put someone down. He never called Maul 'His Friend".
  8. Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 5
    True, but he showed confidence in Maul that he didn't really show in Vader. I mean, though he kept calling Vader "friend," I still got the feeling that Palpy thought Vader was below him. In the RotJ scene when they're discussing Luke - or maybe I'm just tired and should go to my warm, enticing bed.

    Aunecah
  9. SLR Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 20, 2002
    star 5
    Palps treated Vader w/ little respect and for the most part contempt. His statements were merely nothing more than false praise. Any respect and admiration Anakin may have had for Palps in the PT was completely obliterated in the OT. In the OT, he had nothing but fear and loathing for Palps. Vader was kind of like a battered spouse. Palps probably through years of abuse and torment had broken Vader's spirit. Palps wanted Vader just strong enough to do his bidding. But he wanted someone w/ very little esteem and confidence that would be too afraid to challenge him. For the most part he was successful. It wasn't till Luke that he gained the confidence to move against palps. Even then Palps holding held him back to the very last minute when he thought Luke would die before he finally arised against Palps.
  10. AshAngel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Ooo, wonderful post RKMeibalane! The view you have parallels some of my own thoughts on the subject...

    I do believe you've nailed it when you said:
    The armor represents something else, however. It is a cover-up of Anakin's more delicate and sensitive side.

    This is very interesting to me because I've read fan-fics where Vader has had conversations with his officers, say on the
    Executor, without his mask on. I've read more than one fic like this and no matter how good the fic, a 'scene' like this just turns me off. I've always felt that the mask, while besides allowing him to breathe, was to hide his eyes and to a lesser extent, his voice. I firmly believe that Vader would never, ever allow his eyes to be seen by anyone (except when he could 'show' himself, to Luke in RotJ). Your statement above explains why perfectly. It hides his humanity, his soul, his true self from the outside world.

    You are also right about Vader and the Emperor's relationship. Ever since I'd seen AOTC, I'd wondered why Dooku never knelt at Palpy's feet the way Vader did. (It's been so long since I've seen TPM, i couldn't remember if Maul did) He was in the same position, a servant...and I dont' buy that "well, he wasn't Emperor yet" dren that I've heard because to a "Darth", Palps would always be "master", regardless of his political standing in the grander scheme of things. It proves to me now that the "kneeling" bit was reserved for Darth Vader.

    Anuecah_Skywalker also hit it on the head when she said:
    ...I still got the feeling that Palpy thought Vader was below him. In the RotJ scene when they're discussing Luke...

    From the first time I saw RotJ I was shocked at how the Emperor spoke to Vader in the scene where Vader tells Palps that Luke is on the Sanctuary Moon. Palps was incredibly condescending, like he was talking to a little kid that just didn't get it. I was amazed that Vader actually took that kind of attitude from Palps and I think it's very telling of their relationship.

    I think GL has alot of explaining to do in EpIII about just how Anakin gets himself into this mess. Its very strange
    to me that Anakin is supposed to be so powerful, yet so badly fears Palps to the point where he kow-tows(sp?) to him and takes insults. There has to be a reason and I dearly hope its brought to light in EpIII.

    Wow, this really was hard to put into words....





  11. Stridarious Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2002
    star 6
    Darth Vader's armor represents strength and power. Anakin posseses each of these attributes. He is tremendously gifted with the Force, and is both a character of great physical strength and strength of will. He did afterall, manage to break free of the restrictions imposed on him by Palpatine and Dark Side.

    The armor represents something else, however. It is a cover-up of Anakin's more delicate and sensitive side. Though Anakin comes across as a brash, cocky individual, this is merely a facade, a shield that covers up what lies beneath.

    Underneath Vader's armor lives a fragile individual. This fragility or weakness represents the feelings of insecurity that Anakin struggles with. Though, as stated aboice, he comes across as being sure of himself, it becomes clear that he faces many of the same doubts as those of us who don't have even a fraction of his ability.

    Like the man beneath the armor, Anakin Skywalker is fragile. And just as his body was dependent upon the suit to sustain his body after his accident, Anakin depends on others to sustain him as a person.

    In AOTC, we learn that Anakin and Obi-Wan don't always agree. They argue frequently, and fail to reach a state of compromise on many of the issues they debate with each other. However, it is clear that Anakin resprects his Master, and that he seeks, above all else, the acceptence of those he cares about. It is due in part to this desire for acceptance that leads Anakin towards the Dark Side.

    Anakin spends nearly his whole life searching for this acceptance. He first seeks it from Obi-Wan, but fails to recognize the love and admiration his Master has for him. Skywalker then seeks acceptance from Palpatine, and for a time, he finds it. However, Anakin soon discovers that Palpatine is much more difficult to deal with than Obi-Wan had ever been. Anakin cannot find acceptance from him, so he decides to get rid of Palpatine once he learns of Luke's existence.

    Once Luke learns the truth about his heratige, he seeks to redeem his father. Anakin resists, believing that the only way he will ever have the power he desires is through the Dark Side. He also argues that it is too late to change anyway. However, what Anakin does not realize at first is that Luke has given him exactly what he has sought his entire life, the acceptance of someone who can understand him, both as a person, and as a serveant of the Force.

    Because of Luke, Anakin is finally able to break free of the Dark Side, and he also is able to cast away the armor he lived in for so long. He no longer needs it, because he no longer needs to hide behind the powerful exterior everyone is familiar with. Luke saw Anakin as he really was, and did not reject him. More importantly, Anakin eventually recognized this fact.


    Wow, this must have taken you a long time to think up, a well put out idea to which one as myself may say, "This is a perfect example of what this may mean" I mean it makes perfect sense and is well worded to where I can easily understand your point. I agree. :) That is probably why GL portrayed him as he did in this form.
  12. rhonderoo Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2002
    star 9
    Very eleloquently put,RKMeibalane! And very insightful.

    Anakin not wanting to show his eyes didn't occur to me, but now that you mention it, I would bet that no one ever DID see his eyes until he asked Luke to take his mask off. And I agree on the part about just wanting to be understood and accepted. He never really seemed to get that until his son came along (except for his mother and wife).
  13. rhonderoo Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2002
    star 9
    Good lord, I've become a thread killer!!! [face_shocked]
  14. byrdnest Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 11, 2001
    star 1
    vader knelt to palp because he valued order. palp had brought order to the universe. that is what he was respecting. isnt it poetic justice that the very thing that anakin had control over as a child, mechanical things, controlled him as an adult.
  15. RKMeibalane Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2002
    star 2
    It is horribly ironic that Anakin was able to control machines as a child, but a machine was needed to sustain him as Darth Vader. This situation was probably devised by George Lucas in order to illustrate an important point about Anakin's character, and the changes his turn to the Dark Side brought about.

    Darth Vader was an extremely powerful individual, but the power he weilded came at an awful price- the loss of his body. I think this symbolizes the fact that Anakin lost control of his life, lost himself, when he turned. For a time, he believed that he was better off serving evil than he was serving good. The Dark Side responded so easily to his commands. One needs only to watch the scene involving his raid of the Tusken camp to observe this.

    However, what the Dark Side gave Anakin in power, it took from in so many other ways. The situation involving machines is an example. Anakin believed he had control of his life, yet he was dependent on an external device to sustain him.

    The life-support suit is probably also symbolic of Anakin's relationship to Palpatine. By the time Return of the Jedi takes place, we learn that Vader despises Palpatine, and that he wishes to be rid of him so that he can become Emperor. However, it is also clear that Vader is somewhat dependent upon Palpatine to replace all that he has lost because of his servitude to the Dark Side.

    The same can be said of Vader's suit and mask. It is obvious that he despises these objects, and wishes to be rid of them. But he unable to heal himself, and so he must continue to use them.
  16. AshAngel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Good point, byrdnest...Anakin's mechanical aptitude is something that's always sort of puzzled me. I mean, it's a very cool talent to have and of course, helped the plot of TPM with the pod-racing bit. But...I've always felt like...so? So what, what happens now? Why does he have it? Where is it's place in the story? You say:

    ...the very thing that anakin had control over as a child, mechanical things, controlled him as an adult.

    Which I find interesting and never thought of before. But...he would never lose his gift for machines, it's not like it hurts him in any way; in fact, it (maybe) enables him to live. I say maybe because I like to think that Anakin builds his own suit, which sustains him. He was enclosed in a pod racer of his own making in TPM and it was a good thing; he is enclosed in a suit of his own making, which is also a good thing; it enables him to live to fulfill his destiny as the Chosen One. If he did not live, he would not have killed Palpatine.

    But still, if it is not true that he builds his own suit, then the 'mechanical aptitude' is really lost on me, and seems a wasted element of Anakin's character.

    RKMeibalane, I understand your reasoning for the suit, and I agree that it serves as an example of Anakin's loss of control. But I just can't help but think that there's another reason he was given this gift.

    Perhaps I am thinking too literally.

    I dont know if I'm making any sense with this post :confused:
  17. byrdnest Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 11, 2001
    star 1
    yep, you are thinking too much.
  18. Aunecah_Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 5
    The symbolism, IMHO, is that what Anakin took for granted earlier in life, when he was "innocent and with the Light" (or, should I say, "not with the Dark"?), were not there readily available for him anymore when he started following the Dark. It's a subtle hint - and I'm probably reading too much into it ... but there you go. ;)

    Aunecah
  19. DarthBellikose Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2003
    star 1
    Its a great point that Vader's his suit was a symbol of Anakin. Perhaps the Emperor could also see this and that is why he never gave Vader the same respect he gave Dooku and Maul. I have noticed that Anakin was always wanting to please people.
    A few have said that the Emperor did not show respect to Vader if you watch EpI and II it also shows that Obi Wan never seemed to respect Anakin. I'm not trying to turn this into an EpI/II discussion but In EpI he comments to Qui about another "Pathetic Life Form". He also agrees with the Council that he shouldnt be trained. In EpII Obi Wan keeps pointing out that he is in charge and Anakin is only a Padawan. I think this causes Anakin more pain as he feels a failure to Obi Wan.
    What I'm basically trying to say is that if you look at the entire saga Anakin/Vader is made to feel a failure. He's grew up as a Slave, trained as a Jedi and treated similar, trained as a Sith and became the Emperors slave. His whole life was spent as somebodies slave. How could he know any different.
  20. byrdnest Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 11, 2001
    star 1
    anakin wants desparately to feel like a citizen of the universe. he tries so hard to force it. the slave in him forever makes him feel inferior.
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