PT Is the Jedi philosophy a hurdle in relating to the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker?

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by DrDre, Sep 13, 2017.

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  1. DrDre Jedi Master

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    Aug 6, 2015
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    I think there's actually an interesting point in the many discussions of the Jedi way of life, that I feel hasn't really been addressed. As many discusions on this forum discussion show, not everyone is on the same page as the Jedi, or the whole attachment angle. However, since Anakin's turn to the dark side was written in the context of this failry strict, and dogmatic philosophy, one might conclude that the attachment angle can become a hurdle in relating to the character of Anakin, and the choices he makes.

    As I've argued in the "what makes Star Wars work for you" thread, to me Star Wars works best as a fairy tale in space, containing amongst others fairly straightforward tales of morality as fairy tales generally do. I think the OT largely fits this mold. I think most people can relate to a person, in this case Luke, who has to choose between good and evil, to steer away from anger, fear, aggression, to love rather than hate. In my view the PT views many of these choices mostly in the context of the Jedi philosophy, and the Jedi way of life. By doing so makes it makes them far less relatable to me. I think many of us don't feel deviating from the Jedi dogmas will necessarily lead to a dark path, yet the films try to make a compelling argument that it does. For me the PT undercuts the tragedy it tries to convey with the fall of Anakin Skywalker, by making it about fairly abstract, and philosophical terms like attachment, and dogmas about not getting married, rather than focussing on moral choices each of us have to make when we walk through life. This is examplified when Anakin states "I'm not the Jedi I should be", whereas to me the more pertinent statement is "I'm not the man I should be".
    Last edited by DrDre, Sep 13, 2017
  2. Gigoran Monk Jedi Grand Master

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    I relate to the idea that excessive attachment is a negative force in a person's life, so I don't quite agree. IMO, it's the portrayal of the practical elements of the Jedi life that wasn't very relatable. They were, essentially, blandly unstoppable superhero cops, and therein lay the problem.
    Last edited by Gigoran Monk, Sep 13, 2017
  3. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

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    star 6
    No. Personally, I don't think it has any bearing on it. Imo, if anything, if you don't like Jedi philosophy, it should make it easier to relate to Anakin's struggles with it, because you'd struggle with it, too. It should make it easier, not harder. It should make it more tragic, not less.

    That it is not tragic is because Anakin is not sympathetic, despite having every external reason to be, imo. He was a slave. The Jedi were mean. Palpatine was a predator. He strongly suspected his mom was in pain and did nothing to stop it, and she died horribly (this must be a torturous fact to live with). He believed the same was going to happen to Padme. He has all these sympathetic circumstances going for him, but his personality is so loathsome that it overrides all of it and repulses people.
  4. Gigoran Monk Jedi Grand Master

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    Yeah, he's a whiny, overly-sensitive, prickly, insecure, jealous, ungrateful, humorless dick. Just highly unlikeable, overall. Comparatively, Obi-wan is much easier to like.
    Last edited by Gigoran Monk, Sep 13, 2017
  5. Martoto77 Jedi Master

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    This is more or less what I was driving at in the thread where I asked how it can be considered a tragedy.
  6. DrDre Jedi Master

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    I would agree with this premise, if the story had actually been written from the perspective, that Anakin is right to criticise Jedi dogma, but it isn't. Anakin's choices are clearly classified as wrong in movie canon. However, up to the point where he actually becomes a mass murderer, the wrong is mostly from the Jedi point of view, not necessarily the human point of view. His most terrible sin seems to be, that he's afraid to lose his loved ones. This fear makes him a bad Jedi, not so much a bad person IMO. This brings me back to the topic of this thread, namely that in order to classify Anakin's desires as "sinful" you first have to agree with or relate to the Jedi point of view.
    Last edited by DrDre, Sep 14, 2017
  7. Martoto77 Jedi Master

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    It's a big factor in the reasons why watching the PT was one big hang-up. We already knew that Anakin becomes Vader, so when the Jedi's dogmatic proclamations start flying and you know where it's all heading, literally and linearly, it was like watching the second hand on a clock knowing that it's never going to do anything else except tick its way round and stop at every interval but with someone describing what's going to happen anyway.

    If there had been some sort of mediation of what Anakin aspires to be and what the Jedi think is best, and that there may be some scenario where Anakin's goodness of intention and awareness of right and wrong can be satisfied without strict adherence to doctrine, but tragically comes short, that would have made it a tragedy.

    Instead it's a case of. "Don't press the button. You mustn't press the button. Nothing good can happen if you press the button. It's bad if you press the button. You have no need to press the button. You're sole purpose in life is not the press the button. Do not question not pressing the button. Train yourself not to press the button."

    Anakin - "I'm going to press the button this one time."
    Last edited by Martoto77, Sep 14, 2017
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  8. gezvader28 Jedi Grand Master

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    Well I always felt that the Jedi 'rules' were flawed and the Sith exploited that .
    Anakin's sins were what he did in trying to save his loved ones , but also he was consumed by that desire for power , one fed the other .
    the Jedi dogma didn't really help . We could draw analogies with our religions which tend to have some pretty strict dogmas as well until they get reformed to be more forgiving and flexible .

    .
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  9. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

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    If they were unstoppable, they wouldn't have been wiped out by a bunch of droids.

    This fear does make him a bad Jedi and ultimately a bad person, because he lets the fear dictate his actions. It is a lifelong struggle to not let fear dictate your actions and for Anakin, that is precisely what he does. The Jedi aren't wrong to train their own to move past their fear and not be attached to one single person, because it ultimately leads to ruin. This dogma exists because it has happened before and since the only other alternative is to have no Jedi ever, this is the only thing that makes sense to keep the galaxy free of the Sith.
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  10. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
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    star 6
    I don't think you're really getting my point.


    I don't think it matters what perspective the story is written from, ultimately it comes down to you and how you feel, how you relate. You find the tragedy. But, you know, maybe you're not giving the movies' perspective enough credit, or enough ambiguity. I thought you've said that the PT clearly shows how the old Jedi Order went wrong? How it fell? Yes, Anakin is wrong, but so are the Jedi, right? Isn't Luke supposed to be the ideal Jedi who can love? Aren't Yoda and Obi-Wan, and the old Jedi ways, wrong? So, do you have to agree with or relate to the Jedi pov? It's wrong, right? That's why they fell?

    In a tragedy, oftentimes everyone is wrong. Everything goes wrong from every direction. Everyone contributes to the tragedy, in a tragic story in a tragic setting. There's blame all around. That makes it more tragic, not less. That the Jedi are partially to blame for their own destruction from within is more tragic, not less.

    Why are you arguing that you have to agree with or relate to the Jedi pov when you believe the movie is showing how they were wrong and why they fell? They were too dogmatic, right? Too stifling? Too oppressive? Isn't Anakin driven to his evil actions because of this oppression? Aren't the Jedi and their unhealthy ways partially responsible for Anakin's fall? They didn't let him see his mom, right? They didn't let him get married? Isn't it more tragic that he falls because of these unfair rules, not less? So does it matter that Anakin is wrong from the Jedi pov, when it is clearly shown that the Jedi pov is wrong, especially when it comes to love and "attachment"? Luke proves them wrong, right?

    Again, that Anakin's desires aren't actually sinful from your pov, should make him more easy to relate to. You do not have to agree with the Jedi point of view at all. You can go "to hell with the Jedi!" and sympathize with Anakin even more. You can recognize that Anakin's world is indeed unfair. The Jedi are indeed jealous and holding him back. From your pov, you can see that Anakin is living in a frustrating, oppressive, unfair world with unfair rules and unfair expectations. He was taken from his mother! He wasn't allowed to love! He wasn't allowed to marry! This is an outrage! Right? That makes it more tragic, not less. It makes him more sympathetic, not less. That he wasn't actually doing anything "sinful", but was treated as such in his world, is more tragic, not less. That his only crime was being human, makes it more tragic, not less. That someone is treated as a sinful criminal, despite not actually being one, is more tragic, not less.

    In a tragedy, oftentimes the world is unfair to the tragic character. The world, everyone in it, "the man", the laws, the rules, the injustices, the fates themselves, conspires against him. Out to get him, to bring him down. To bring him to his knees.

    I mean, look at what you're saying. Anakin wasn't "wrong", he wasn't "sinful". He was only human. He was only afraid to lose his loved ones. That's not tragic, because of the Jedi point of view? The Jedi who were wrong, who fell, who were destroyed? Destroyed by destiny? Look, I honestly think you're making a great argument for the tragedy, not against. You're helping me to see it as more tragic, not less.

    The Jedi point of view is mostly irrelevant. You're supposed to be looking at the world, the universe, of Star Wars, not the Jedi point of view. Your point of view is all that matters. You're looking for a tragic world. The Jedi are only living in it (and making some of the, unfair, rules).

    You might counter that the movie doesn't share your point of view. Doesn't it? The Jedi are wrong and destined to fall. Padme says "to be angry is to be human". She says "you're a good person, don't do this!"

    Imo, there's a bizarre focus on the Jedi here. They're not all that relevant. Anakin is the tragic character, it's all about him and his perspective.

    Really, I wish I could share your pov on the Jedi, because it would really help sell the tragedy, not hurt it.

    That the Jedi rules are unfair makes it more tragic, not less. It's less tragic if Anakin bristles under rules that are perfectly fair, if he has no real grievance, if there is no real injustice in the rules. Where is the tragedy if Anakin struggles living in a perfectly fair and just world? It's more tragic if the rules are unjust, not less.

    I honestly don't even know what you guys are saying. You're making arguments in favor of tragedy, not against it.
    Last edited by CT-867-5309, Sep 14, 2017
  11. ezekiel22x Force Ghost

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    Aug 9, 2002
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    Not at all for me. I find myself more interested in Anakin's arc than I do Luke's or what we've seen of Rey's thus far. I just think it's a far more interesting exploration of character, emphasizing ideas of human frailty, isolation, inner struggle, all to a degree that made for a more emotional viewing experience than what I consider to be the Star Wars norm.
  12. themoth Jedi Master

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    Dec 5, 2015
    star 4
    Me too. In stories there is a drama triangle. You have the victim, the villain and the hero. In the Star Wars saga, Anakin is all three.
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  13. DrDre Jedi Master

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    I can agree with you to an extend, but at the same time I don't view a movie universe as some blanket canvas on which I can project my own thoughts and feelings. As a viewer I try to understand Lucas' vision for the story, and ascertain if I find that vision credible, and if so, whether I think it was well executed.

    In the case of the Jedi's philosophy, some argue the Jedi are right, while others consider the Jedi philosophy flawed. However, I feel the films themselves do not take a very clear stand on this matter, and as such unlike the OT do not have a very clear sense of what the light side and the dark side of the Force represent. In many ways we don't learn very much about the Jedi and the Sith philosophy throughout the PT films themselves, other than the narrow view, that pertains to Anakin himself. For example, when Anakin tells Mace Windu, that killing an unarmed Sidious is not the Jedi way. I ask myself what is the Jedi way? Wasn't one of the Jedi's goals to destroy the Sith? Why do the Jedi seek the Sith's destruction? Why not simply lock them up, and throw away the key? When Obi-Wan leaves Anakin to burn to death, was he deviating from the Jedi path by not helping a defenseless man, his former friend, or was he following the Jedi path by destroying the Sith? I seriously can't tell, because IMO the films don't clearly define what the Jedi represent. Why do we not learn more about the Jedi's ideals outside of what's forbidden to them? If one of the distinctions between the good side, and the bad is, that a Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack, than why are the Jedi in the PT fairly consistently the first to draw their lightsaber, as if they're looking for a fight?

    You see to me Luke becoming a Jedi in ROTJ represented choosing the path of the righteous, a path of enlightenment. Now with the PT I'm not so sure what the Jedi path represents. Is it a flawed implementation of a set of grand ideals? Is it even meant to be viewed as flawed? If it is flawed, where are the moments of reflection in the film, where the characters learn from their supposed mistakes? In my view without such moments the story gets muddled, leaving it up to the viewer to try and make sense of all the (perhaps seemingly) contradictory sequences of events, and character developments that are displayed to them.

    In this context, while it's interesting to discuss what I personally consider tragic in Anakin's journey as it was written, with this thread I'm mostly exploring how Lucas views the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker, and whether that translates to the viewer. As I've argued in the first post, I feel Lucas mostly wrote the story from a Jedi perspective, more or less equating deviating from the Jedi path with becoming an agent of evil. However, if like me you don't necessarily agree with the Jedi point of view, it's difficult to relate to the intended and supposed tragic sequence of events as displayed in the films.
    Last edited by DrDre, Sep 15, 2017
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  14. gezvader28 Jedi Grand Master

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    But we also often hear " You must do what you feel is right , of course ." QG isn't really very adherent to Jedi rules it would seem , so basically we're reminded that individuals need to make and take responsibility for their own choices . Jedis are still people and prone to everything that implies .

    so I don't think the tragedy comes from Anakin deviating from the jedi path , its more what he chose to do in his desperation and thirst for power that is his tragedy .

    .
  15. DrDre Jedi Master

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    Ultimately yes, but most of the seeds were sown at an earlier stage: the separation from his mother, and her eventual fate, his secret marriage to Padme, which prevented him from openly discussing his true feelings. These things were all the result of his pretty normal human fears and desires clashing with Jedi dogma. Had the Jedi philosophy been less strict, such that he could have had a normal relationship with his mother, openly married the woman he loved, who knows how things would have progressed.
    Last edited by DrDre, Sep 15, 2017
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  16. Ancient Whills Jedi Grand Master

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    He could still have chosen to leave the Jedi Order which we know is possible with the Lost Twenty, Dooku and Ahsoka. Problem is Anakin didn't want to because he wanted to be both. He didn't want to choose.
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  17. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

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    star 10
    When does this happen? Let's review the PT. Spoiler tag to make the list short.

    Show Spoiler
    1. The first time the Jedi draw their sabers, it's after hearing the blaster shot that destroyed their ship and sensed the deaths of the crew. They jump into a defensive position. They then shut it down and when the doors open, they realize that there are Battle Droids on the other side and so they ignite their sabers again and destroy the droids, but only after they move to attack. (Defense)

    2. Obi-wan is being pursued by a STAP and Qui-gon blocks the shot back at the STAP when it opens fire on him. (Defense)

    3. Qui-gon and Obi-wan destroy the Battle Droids that are escorting the prisoners to the detention camp. (Defensive rescue)

    4. Qui-gon tries to talk to the droid commander and when that fails, he and Obi-wan destroy the droids in the hangar after the order to stop them is given. (Defense)

    5. Qui-gon destroys the Sith probe following him and Anakin. (Neutral)

    6. Darth Maul is about to attack Qui-gon, when he draws his saber and prepares for a fight. (Defense)

    7. Qui-gon and Obi-wan are about to enter a battle against the Battle Droids and use their skills to defend Padme. (Defense)

    8. Seeing that Maul is there, the Jedi prepare for battle against him. (Defense)

    9. Obi-wan uses his fear, anger and hate against Maul, which is wrong and nearly becomes his undoing. (Attack). In the end, Obi-wan takes out Maul without needing the dark side and does so in defense of his own life. (Defense)

    10. Anakin destroys the Kouhuns that are about to kill Padme. (Defense)

    11. Anakin tries to use his Lightsaber to disable Zam's speeder. (Neutral)

    12. Obi-wan slices off Zam's arm when she's about to shoot him. (Defense)

    13. Obi-wan is attempting to arrest Jango, who turns to fight him. (Defense)

    14. Anakin cuts open the Tusken hovel in order to enter from the rear of the building. (Neutral)

    15. Anakin kills all the Tusken Raiders in the camp, in a fight of rage and an act of revenge. (Attack)

    16. Obi-wan sees the Droideka coming at him and defends himself. (Defense)

    17. Mace ignites his saber to keep Jango at bay, while he talks to Dooku. He's then forced to defend himself from the Super Battle Droids. (Attack/Defense)

    18. The Jedi ignite their sabers as they know an attack can come once they've revealed themselves. The Battle Droids and the Geonosians all rush the arena and the Jedi meet them. (Defense).

    19. Anakin and Obi-wan are attempting to stop Dooku from leaving. Anakin rushes Dooku recklessly and pays for it. (Attack). Dooku attacks Obi-wan with the lighting and when that fails, he draws his saber and Obi-wan is prepared to defend himself. (Defense). Anakin blocks a killing blow aimed at Obi-wan and presses back against Dooku. (Defense). Yoda lets Dooku do all the attacking, before fighting back. (Defense).

    20. Obi-wan draws his saber as the Battle Droids rush to attack him and Anakin. Both defend themselves as they sweep out the hangar and then make their way through the Invisible Hand. (Defense).

    21. The Jedi defend themselves when the Droidekas show up and then inside the turbo lift. Anakin cuts open the roof in order to go top side. Obi-wan ignites his saber when Anakin re-enters as he thinks it is a Battle Droid. (Defense/Neutral/Defense).

    22. The Jedi prepare for Dooku to attack them, as he has drawn his saber first. (Defense).

    23. Anakin then uses the dark side to defeat Dooku and vanquish him. (Attack)

    24. The Jedi recover their sabers and free themselves of their restraints. Grievous orders the attack and thus the Jedi defend themselves. (Defense)

    25. Obi-wan ignites his saber after the Magnaguards move to attack him. He defends himself. (Defense)

    26. Obi-wan then lets Grievous make the first move. (Defense)

    27. The Jedi ignite their sabers in preparation for battle against the Dark Lord, but Palpatine attacks first. Anakin attacks Mace to prevent him from killing Palpatine, but does so out of selfish reasons. (Defense/Attack)

    28. Obi-wan is about to re-enter the battle when he's shot at. Ki-Adi is leading the charge when he's shot. Yoda defends himself from an attack.

    29. Obi-wan ignites his saber in anticipation of Anakin's attack. (Defense).

    30. Yoda ignites his Lightsaber as Palpatine has already attacked him first. (Defense).


    When Obi-wan says that the Clone Army helped grant them a victory and Yoda rebukes him by saying that they've won nothing and now the galaxy is at war. That there is Yoda's admission that they were wrong even though it seems right. Anakin says that the Jedi way was to not take revenge, first with the Tuskens and then with Dooku. Both times he's told that he's human and thus his anger was justified. This is important as it illustrates to the audience that Padme is really out of her depth here and Palpatine has been twisting Anakin's thinking by re-enforcing that notion.
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  18. DrDre Jedi Master

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    Sorry, but several of these examples are pretty biased. For example: "Obi-Wan draws lightsaber in anticipation for Anakin's attack (defense)."

    OBI-WAN: Anakin, my allegiance is to the Republic ... to democracy.

    ANAKIN: If you're not with me, you're my enemy.

    OBI-WAN: Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.

    (ignites his lightsaber)

    ANAKIN: You will try.

    ANAKIN ignites his lightsaber.

    Everything in that exchange signifies, that once Obi-Wan realizes that there's no reasoning with Anakin, he is determined to do what he was asked to do, namely destroy his Sith enemy. He will do what he must, and thus draws his weapon to attack his enemy, not defend himself against an attack by his enemy.

    Another example, in AOTC Anakin and Obi-Wan rush towards Dooku with their lightsabers drawn ready to attack the Sith Lord, which is an aggressive move.

    While the Jedi naturally defend themselves on numerous occasions, there are several key moments in the PT, where the Jedi draw their weapons first looking for a fight. While my statement was a hyperbole, the PT Jedi certainly don't adhere to the idea, that the Jedi never use the Force for attack, only for defense.
    Last edited by DrDre, Sep 15, 2017
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  19. themoth Jedi Master

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    The 'Padme's Ruminations' scene in ROTS perfectly visualises this mental dilemma. It's one of the best scenes in the saga with how haunting and foreboding it is. Especially Anakin sitting in the empty Jedi Council chambers. He's deciding to side with Palpatine to save Padme.
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  20. gezvader28 Jedi Grand Master

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    I don't have a problem with that , I mean he is a Sith and he's already done plenty of bad things , they aint gonna be sittin' down to tea .

    but the one I really have a problem with is when Padme and Anakin arrive on Geonosis , they have no right to be there , they're essentially invaders and Anakin immediately starts carving up the local population ! Padme should've said "WTF are you doing ? "

    .
  21. DrDre Jedi Master

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    Well, Obi-Wan and Anakin don't know Dooku is a Sith Lord. The reality of the situation is, that the Jedi and their army are the invaders, and Dooku at that point simply the leader of a separatist movement stirring up trouble for the Republic. The fact that Obi-Wan and Anakin rush in with their swords drawn enforces the idea that the Jedi are the aggressors, as they and the Republic are not aware the Sith are secretly controlling the Separatists.
    Last edited by DrDre, Sep 16, 2017
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  22. Martoto77 Jedi Master

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    In fact Windu laughs off the idea that Dooku is capable of any aggressive action towards the Republic, like attempting to assassinate Padme. Never mind suspect him of being a Sith lord.

    Although the Jedi are supposedly strung out trying to cope with disorder caused by Dooku's separatist movement.
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  23. DrDre Jedi Master

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    The way Lucas wrote the story relies too much on us the viewers knowing who's scheming behind the scenes, rather than internal story logic. In many ways the Republic won't give the Separatist systems the right of self-determination. They even mobilize an army to suppress a possible revolt, and all the while the Jedi go along with it, puppets of an increasingly tyrannical regime. The only thing that makes the Jedi seem like the heroes, is because we know the other side is secretly controlled by the villains.
    Last edited by DrDre, Sep 16, 2017
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  24. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

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    Who attacks first?

    [IMG]

    Also, Anakin threatens to kill Obi-wan before he prepares for battle.

    There's a difference between offensive maneuvers and attacking someone. What I mean is that it isn't wrong for a Jedi to press an offensive maneuver against a Sith. What is wrong is that the Jedi chooses to start a fight out of anger and hate. What is the purpose of the fight? What is the nature of the conflict? Why cannot it not be avoided? These are the things that are the difference between using the Force to attack and using it for defense. Every time Anakin fights Dooku, he's doing so out of anger and hate. He killed the Tuskens for the same reasons.

    Again, there is a difference between being cautious and being stupid. Mace and the Jedi Posse weren't looking for a fight when they draw their sabers and ignite them. They are there to make an arrest, not start a fight. But they also know that the man that they are dealing with might be a Sith Lord and are exercising caution. But they let him make the first move. Same with Maul, he draws his saber first and the Jedi draw second. Maul then starts his first maneuver and Obi-wan chooses to leap over him in order to create a pincer maneuver. With Anakin, Obi-wan knows his former Padawan. Knows his fighting style. Knows what he is capable of. He's prepared for the fight, but he doesn't attack him.
  25. DrDre Jedi Master

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    As I said in a previous post, the Jedi don't know Dooku is a Sith Lord, in fact the Jedi up to that point didn't even want to believe Dooku was behind the attack on Padme. He's an idealist remember? So, they're pressing the offensive against a former Jedi, who leads the Separatists movement, with the Jedi and the clone army attacking the Separatists, whom thusfar have made no openly aggressive moves, other than put a number Republican spies on trial, and mobilizing their forces for a possible conflict. Again, the only reason we're rooting for the Jedi is, because we know who's controlling the Separatists, and what they're building in secret.
    Last edited by DrDre, Sep 16, 2017
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