"Sith"-Allusion to 'Hamlet'?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Valiant_Starlight, Mar 6, 2003.

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  1. Valiant_Starlight Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2003
    I have been reading the Shakespearan tradegy 'Hamlet'and came across a note for "Sith"('since' in Shakespearan english). As I read the monologue of King Claudius as he describes Hamlet's 'mad' begavior I started to be reminded of Vader and possibly Luke.

    "Sith nor the exterior nor the inward man
    Resembles that it was. What it should be,
    More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
    So much from the understanding of himself
    I cannot dream of."
    -King Claudius, "Hamlet" (Act 2, scene 2, lines 6-10)


    So, am I over-thinking this?
  2. Spike_Spiegel Former FF Administrator Former Saga Mod

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    Yes and no.

    But I think there is an interesting parallelism to Hamlet in SW but with a twist.

    Luke, like Hamlet, feels he must confront the murderer of his father. Hamlet confirms that his uncle, now king, was the one that killed King Hamlet.

    Luke is in a somewhat similar position in the sense that the man who he think killed his father, Darth Vader, was trained by the same man who trained his dad and is, in a way, his brother.

    The twist being of course that Vader IS Luke's father...






    Indulge me, I'm a trained lit scholar.... :D
  3. TheOzhaggis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2000
    star 5

    According to Jung / Campbell, all tragedies can be explained as either Oedipus or Hamlet: child hates the father and loves the mother (Oedipus), or loves the father and hates the mother (Hamlet).

    Anakin as Oedipus: loves his mother (literally Shmi, and when she dies, Padme, a maternal figure), and ends up killing his father figures: Obi-Wan, Palpatine, etc.

    Obi-Wan as Hamlet: although he has no literal mother (in the movies), his distrust of Padme is an implicit rejection of the maternal; and when his father figure (Qui-Gon) is killed, he seeks revenge for his death (even though revenge is forbidden for a Jedi...)

    etc
  4. JenX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2002
    star 3
    Anakin as Oedipus: loves his mother (literally Shmi, and when she dies, Padme, a maternal figure), and ends up killing his father figures: Obi-Wan, Palpatine, etc.


    Yeah, but Oedipus unknowingly marries his mother and kills his father. It's not a "maternal" affection, it's a sexual one (as Freud's theory on the Oedipus Complex makes clear).

    Obi-Wan as Hamlet: although he has no literal mother (in the movies), his distrust of Padme is an implicit rejection of the maternal

    Why does distrust of Padme (in what sense does he distrust her anyway?) = rejection of the maternal?

    Also, there is no maternal bond between Obi Wan and Padme (either genetically, spirtually or emotionally), so even if he did "reject" her, he wouldn't be rejecting the maternal.
  5. TheOzhaggis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2000
    star 5

    Everything is about sex with Freud. It says more about him than it does about anyone else. As Jung says, "Every theory is a form of confession."

    Which is why I was talking about Jung & Campbell, not Freud. Jung rejected Freud's obsession with sex, and it broke up their lifelong friendship. So it goes.

    Oedipus is not about sex. It is about refusing to grow up.

    The mother = maternal love and affection, happiness, nurturing, etc.
    The father = the cruel, hard world, trying to break you away from the happiness of the nursery.

    By killing his father and marrying his mother, Oedipus is refusing to leave the nursery, to grow up.

    It's basic symbolism. It's not meant to be taken literally.


    Padme is the maternal influence in the prequels. She takes over the maternal duties for Anakin when he leaves his mother, and later when his mother dies.
    She was also the queen, a common maternal symbol.
    She is also the calming, nurturing, feminine influence in the senate, which has authority over the Jedi. Given that Padme is the only female senator (onscreen), she is the sole female authority (or mother figure) for the Jedi - which becomes even more explicit when all the Jedi die except for her children, Luke & Leia.

    Obi-Wan clearly rejects her authority during his conversation with Anakin in Padme's apartment, when he tells Anakin that she is not to be trusted because she is a politician - just as Hamlet rejected his mother for what is literally a political act, but he sees as a personal action against his father.


    But for a decent explanation, I recommend reading Jung & Campbell - particularly Campbell, and particularly his books Primitive Mythology, and The Hero With a Thousand Faces, which explains this much better than I could try to in a few paragraphs...
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