Symbolism in Attack of the Clones (currently discussing shrouding and obscuring)

Discussion in 'Attack of the Clones' started by Shelley, Jan 13, 2003.

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  1. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    And how does it relate to Anakin's second-to-last request, to see Luke "with [his] own eyes?" (His last request, of course, being for Luke to tell Leia that he was right.)

    Know that you aks this I look at it like this. Shmi go to see Anakin one last with her own eyes. Anakin wanted the samething. he did not want to look at him with Vader's eye's because he was longer Vader. He was Anakin and he wanted to look at his son one last time with out Vader's eye's

    As for the Leia thing I don't really know.
  2. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    Okay, last non-topic post. I've asked for second opinions, and it seems there are quite enough definitions about the thread and warnings for bad behavior. Further attempted derailment will result in spanks, as will "retaliatory strikes." Let's keep it pleasant and on-topic, and if a troll happens by, I think the best procedure is for users to ignore it. If you think it's possible that I missed it (and it is), feel free to PM me, but don't respond on-thread. I'll try to do the same in my user-mode.
  3. The_Abstract Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2002
    star 4
    Okay, now that we have these symbols listed (and the list is pretty long!), how does the loss of vision tie into the theme of corruption?

    Well corruption can be akin to a parasite or a cancer of some sort. It changes the nature of whatever it latches on to, in order to destory it. If you analogized the Republic to the human body, it's possible for a cancer to grow undetected for a long time, until it may be too late to stop it.

    This is the way evil works in the PT. It's not bold or up front, such as someone coming up to you and stabbing you in the gut. In a lot of the EU novels, we get the type of adversaries that come from somewhere else, invading the New Republic and causing conflict. Lucas works against that formula and puts evil right in the center of his galaxy, and brings the hero from the outside to face it.


    (just another reason why the PT is cool :) )
  4. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Where to begin...

    At the outset, I will state that I do feel that there is symbolism in the films. However, I do understand where DrE and others are coming from - not everything is a symbol (conscious or unconscious), nor is there necessarily greater meaning in certain scenes. I think a brilliant treatment of finding "greater meaning" is Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum.

    The danger is not being able to recognize subjective exegesis - at what point does Lucas' intentional symbolism end and the subjective viewing experience begin? At what point can we state definitively that what is in the film is Lucas' vision, and what is what I want to see?

    This is not a general condemnation of the thread at all; I merely want to have a proviso of caution. Historically, there has been a danger of reading too much into a given work. The example I raised in the past (the TPM forum) when symbolism and meaning was discussed was Thomas Aquinas - truly a dedicated scholar and a brilliant man. His commentaries on Aristotle were quite illuminating, and many historians credit him with saving Aristotle's works for posterity.

    The problem, however, was that Aquinas introduced the concept of Sin into Aristotle - "sin" as Aquinas understood it was alien to Aristotle ("vice" is not comparable with "sin"; the Medieval conception of the term implies theological elements quite alien to Aristotle's thought). Herein lied the dilemma - Aquinas was so used to speaking in terms of "sin" that he read Aristotle as supporting such an analysis, which was patently false. A brilliant thinker made a fundamental error, fiating his own thoughts into those of another person.

    I see the same kind of issues here - I think that some of the discussion thus far is blurring the line between what Lucas intended and what the viewer experienced. My own belief on the matter is that the meaning of a given work is the author's/creator's intention, rather than that of the viewer, and that barring a statement from the Flanneled One, such exegesis is speculation. I think the proper question to ask is "If it is there, what could it mean?"

    That being said, I do agree that there is symbolism in some of the scenes; others I think were designed for emotional impact (Anakin carrying his dead mother into the homstead); still others were meant simply as homages to other films (e.g., the presentation of the medals in ANH is a shot-for-shot reconstruction of the award ceremony in Triumph des Willens).

    Regarding the use of shrouds, I am reminded of allegories of being "blinded by pride" - a recurrent theme in literature. Yoda tells us that the Jedi have become arrogant; Mace tells us that they can no longer use the Force like they could before; both of which feed into the Jedi refusing to see their own weakness and to recognize the nature of Palpatine. This is also indicative of the fatal flaw in the Tragic Hero - the characteristic that makes the Hero responsible for his own downfall. While much has been made of Anakin's downfall, his personal journey of pride, suffering and redemption parallels that of the Jedi Order itself. Their pride leads to their eventual destruction (with the notable exceptions of the two Jedi most mindful of the vice of pride) and redemption in Anakin/Luke.
  5. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    such exegesis is speculation.

    That's a given. :) All literary exegesis is speculation (including, imho, such exegesis done by the author, who becomes a reader at that point).

    Interesting point about pride/arrogance as a blinding force in metaphor. And the widening circle doesn't stop there--it goes from the individual Jedi to the Order to the entire Old Republic. That's actually one of the reasons I prefer the intercut battle scenes of ESB (end), RotJ, and TPM to the sequential ones of ANH, ESB (beginning), and AotC. The intercut ones are a visual reference to the scope of the conflict, going from the individual (Luke and Vader on DS2), to the organizational (the Rebellion on Endor), to the universal (the space battle), with each tied to the others, with most weight on the individual.

    The further into the "universal" battle we get (and I'd count the ground battle on Geonosis as universal), the more the visual spectrum becomes chaotic and difficult to see.
  6. DamonD Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2002
    star 6
    Word of the day - 'exegesis'.

    Has anyone mentioned the symbolism of Obi-Wan hiding on an asteroid to escape Jango? Point being, when Han tries a similar trick in ESB, Boba's ready for it because he's already seen it done against him and his dad.
  7. ShaakRider Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2002
    star 2
    "Anakin isn't a clone--he's supernatural, maybe hypernatural; they're unnatural."
    Anakin becoming Vader well fits unnaturalization of supernatural. In a sense, Vader is a diametric opposite of Anakin.

    "There are two chaotic, storm-like environments in AotC. The first, of course, is Kamino, with its storm-tossed ocean. The second is the dangerous asteroid field around Geonosis."
    I'd put here Coruscant third. Though it isn't a natural environment, it's really storm-like for me (I mean the speader chase) and also involved in Palp's manipulations.

    About thie shrouding thing
    Padme's arrival in Coruscant: the whole city is shrouded in clouds. I'd point out the shot the ship submerges in the clouds.

    "I think the proper question to ask is "If it is there, what could it mean?"
    True.

    Speaking of sin - I intended to bring it up earlier: Jesus' crucifixion is about sin and remission. The Choosen One thing is about the balance of the Force. My question is, how are these two related (it might be offtopic :confused: )? How does it affect the relevance of Pieta-symbolism?
  8. Sciwalker Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2002
    star 1
    <b>Has anyone mentioned the symbolism of Obi-Wan hiding on an asteroid to escape Jango? Point being, when Han tries a similar trick in ESB, Boba's ready for it because he's already seen it done against him and his dad. </b>

    Umm, I think this scene is a touch problematic. First, Boba Fett took up the chase AFTER the asteroid field.

    And second, the universal reaction in Empire to Han's going into the asteroid field is surprise and alarm, including a statement of some pretty poor odds. Chewie even gives Han a hard stare at one point in the flight, his eyes are wide with seeming terror.

    I think it lessens the spectacle of Han's wizardry as a pilot to have both Jango and Obi-Wan navigate this field so casually.
  9. Sciwalker Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2002
    star 1
    <b>Speaking of sin - I intended to bring it up earlier: Jesus' crucifixion is about sin and remission. The Chosen One thing is about the balance of the Force. My question is, how are these two related (it might be offtopic )? How does it affect the relevance of Pieta-symbolism? </b>

    Everything in the scene is the reverse of the Pieta. This is son holding dead mother. The other is mother holding dead son.

    The Pieta means The Pity. There is no pity in Anakin. I think the imagery, if there, is definitely there for that simple conclusion. Is there something deeper, about sin? Don't know.

    I think it would be hard to make a case for more. But I think it suggests Anakin is off-course from that moment on.

    Some have said that by Jedi, when he destroys the Emperor, he brings balance to the Force and fulfills his destiny as the Chosen One. I don't know if that is the case. We don't yet know what bringing balance to the Force is.

    But one of the themes of Christianity, expressed in the Crucifixion and it's aftermath is the conquest of death.

    Anakin obviously wants to conquer death from that point on, but it is a tad ironic that we get the first hint as he FAILS to conquer death, that death can be overcome in the Star Wars universe. Yoda eavesdropping in on the confrontation hears the voice of the dead Qui-Gonn.

    The return to physical life from death was actually a blase thing in Christianity. The resurrection of Lazarus was a "miracle" but not the big deal that the Resurrection is. The Resurrection in Christianity is more about becoming more than the physical, joining with eternity.

    And again, in this movie, we see that is somewhat the case.

    Anakin is stuck at an immature level and merely wants to undo death and return to the physical life. But Yoda discovers there is something beyond the physical life of the body.

    Perhaps that's when he realizes that "luminous beings are we."

    Is Lucas using the imagery to open up a connection to Christians? Probably not. He's said he is working on these themes, and wow, the imagery supports that.

    He's doing it deliberately, so that those who know about the images can pick up on what he's doing without having to hear the voiceover on the DVD.

  10. elfdart Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2001
    star 2
    Han Solo's navigation of the asteroid field in TESB is a much greater feat than what Obi-Wan and Jango Fett pulled off in AOTC.

    1) The field Han flew through was MUCH larger than the planetary rings around Geonosis.

    2) The Millenium Falcon was being chased by top-of-the-line fighters and Star Destroyers.

    3) The Falcon is a freighter, not a fighter. What Solo pulled off was the equivalent of outmaneuvering four F-16 fighters in a C-130 transport plane.
  11. Sciwalker Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2002
    star 1
    Han Solo's navigation of the asteroid field in TESB is a much greater feat than what Obi-Wan and Jango Fett pulled off in AOTC.

    1) The field Han flew through was MUCH larger than the planetary rings around Geonosis.

    2) The Millenium Falcon was being chased by top-of-the-line fighters and Star Destroyers.

    3) The Falcon is a freighter, not a fighter. What Solo pulled off was the equivalent of outmaneuvering four F-16 fighters in a C-130 transport plane.


    The Falcon LOOKS like a C-130. But when the engine isn't missing certain parts, it's got a better engine than an F-16. And a better pilot.

  12. Jedi_Waster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2002
    star 2
    [edited]

    YJ edit: If you don't have anything relavent or on-topic to say, don't say anything. This isn't the first time you've had to be warned, so see you in 24.
  13. ShaakRider Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2002
    star 2
    "But one of the themes of Christianity, expressed in the Crucifixion and it's aftermath is the conquest of death."
    Yep. Actually, in Christian terms, conquest of death and conquest of sin are essentially equivalent, i think.

    "Anakin is stuck at an immature level and merely wants to undo death and return to the physical life. But Yoda discovers there is something beyond the physical life of the body.

    Perhaps that's when he realizes that "luminous beings are we.""

    I'd be surprised, if a religion existing for >=1000 years, had no idea about what's beyound the physical body. In fact, the essence of all religions is that there's something beyond the phys. body. Apart form this, I see your point and also think that Anakin understands this just before he decides to turn against Palp.

    *Back to shrouding*

    "And how does it relate to Anakin's second-to-last request, to see Luke "with [his] own eyes"
    I think the emphesis is on "own", both physically and mentally (he saw things with Palpatines eyes before). Actually his whole life as Vader wasn't his own. In order to complete his life, he needs to get rid of things aren't his own.
    This can be considered a sort of shrouding as well.

    ""blinded by pride""
    This is an "active" way of not seeing things, while things being shrouded is "passive". Both play important role in AOTC and sometimes hard to see, which one is dominant, yet they are different. The symbols listed above indicate the latter one, however it'd be interesting to find symbols of the first.
  14. The_Abstract Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2002
    star 4
    On the non-Christian side of things...

    Anakin seems to value materialism in the philosophical sense. His mother being alive and there is very important for him. When she physically dies, he sees that as the ultimate end.

    When he talks about political views, he values order above anything else. He doesn't like chaos and turmoil. People should be made to do things. In a sense, they're objectified, like chess pieces.

    And to tie in with the shrouding imagery, Anakin does have a problem seeing the big picture. He has no sense of consequence or reaction. Jumping out of a car in midair is no worry to him. Saving Padme by swinging a lightsaber 3 inches from her head. Facing the entire Tusken camp. Every one of his actions stems from his mood at that specific moment. He's all instinct, driven by the Force which he has limited understanding of. And he hasn't learned thus far how to live in harmony with the galaxy. All these character flaws will contribute to his downfall, and to the downfall of the Jedi and the Republic.
  15. winter_chili Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2002
    star 5
    didnt meant to come off as a basher just offering another explanation to the lack of tears
  16. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    If clouding and obscuring also covers masking emotions, one of my friends noted that Anakin is always hiding behind a mask. When he is talking to Obi-Wan, esp. in the scene in Padme's apartment, where they are discussing the parameters of their assignment, Anakin disagrees with Obi-Wan and asks "Why?" then quickly covers it up.

    In the love scenes, he covers up his intense desire to be with Padme by certain looks. He looks at her in an innocent way when she is looking at him, but the audience sees him looking more intensely at her after she turns away. It's very subtle and I've probably done a poor job of explaining it, but there it is.

    As Darth Vader, of course, he wears the full face mask. Which is infinitely more scary than the human face behind it.

    The emperor's face is hooded and he hides in shadows, obscuring his identity as the former senator from Naboo.

    Lady Sami
  17. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    That's a good point. He's also shot in shadows in Padme's apartment. He does seem to have gotten used to hiding things rather than dealing with them and getting through them. (Jude Watson in Jedi Quest has a great metaphor--she says that when he feels things he knows he's not supposed to, he shoves them all into a little room in his mind, locks the door on them, and swears never to go in... but of course, doors are made to be opened.)
  18. Reihla Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2002
    star 3
    I'm a little behind, so forgive me for playing catch-up. I promise my next post will be on the *current* symbolism topic.

    Someone asked about crucifixion a while back so I thought I?d add what little I know. Crucifixion (from the latin: cruci fixus) means simply to fix to a cross. It doesn?t require nails or even the involvement of specific limbs. Historically it didn?t even require a traditional ?T? cross (though that type was more common than the "X" or the vertical pole). Ropes were almost always used to bind the victim to the beam. Nails were rarely used, and then only when need existed for specific cruelty.

    Crucifixion served as a form of capital punishment for some 800 years. Generally, its victims were from lower classes and were often slaves, criminals or those who had no civil rights. Slaves. Interesting.

    Historical references state that the point of crucifying was to make an example. To torture and humiliate in addition to simple execution. I think the Tuskens must have employed crucifixion for a similar purpose. Shmi was still alive weeks after her abduction.

    I agree with some that the crucifixion method was employed intentionally. I also tend to think aspects of it were played down (i.e. her feet weren?t bound, nails weren?t used, no traditional cross, etc.) because she wasn?t meant to come across as a direct representation of Christ. I think it was meant merely as an arrow to point the viewer towards the Pieta imagery. It wasn't really a sign in-and-of itself.

    All the stuff on the inverse meaning of the Pieta vs. Anakin/Shmi was very good. I?m not discounting any of those theories. I?d just like to add a new theory to the mix.

    I think the Pieta imagery has more to do with the circumstances preceding and surrounding each death than with the inversion of the characters ? mother holding son vs. son holding mother.

    Both images, to me, seem to symbolize the partial fulfillment of ancient prophecy: Jesus? death as the sacrifice sufficient to redeem all of mankind; Shmi?s death as the pointless act that drives Anakin to the dark side from which he will ultimately be redeemed. (Of course, this presupposes my personal belief that Anakin?s redemption was key to bringing balance to the Force).

    In other words, I think the use of the Pieta image at that point in the film shows us that Shmi?s death was pre-ordained by the same power that created Anakin to bring balance to the Force. We are meant to know what Anakin did not: Shmi had to die to set events in motion for the eventual fulfillment of the prophecy.

    Another thing I found interesting in comparing the two depictions were the differences in the reactions of Mary and Anakin to the death of the person most important to them in the universe. Mary?s expression in beholding her son is resigned, almost peaceful. She had raised her son for that ultimate end. Revenge never enters her mind. Conversely, Anakin?s expression is full of anger and hatred. He can?t understand the senseless act and it fills him with bitter, almost hysterical, grief. Revenge is almost a foregone conclusion. The irony to me is that, while the images are so similar, the circumstances and reactions are so different. We are given two completely different examples of pain as a condition of redemption.
  19. E CHU TA! Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2000
    star 4
    Sorry to be a party-pooper, but isn?t this thread redundant? This discussion used to be about a specific scene and now it has broadened to a more general focus. The Random Symbols (Ivory Tower: Episode 2) thread is still open for business and some of the topics which are being discussed have already been addressed. On 12/7/02, Samurai-Jack attempted to revive the Random Symbols thread because of its history and quality. Random Symbols has made a slight comeback and I hope that this new thread does not trump it. IMO ? I would rather see the discussion continue over in that thread.

    Regardless, I am glad to see that the topic of symbolism has begun to regain some momentum.


    Here's my huge excerpt of symbolism in AOTC with some help from ECHUTA and PadmeLeiaJaina...

    .... Thanks for the help from ECHUTA and PAdme_leia_Jaina.


    JediHPDrummer, next time you ?borrow? from someone else?s post make sure that you use quotes or italics. Otherwise, no one can determine where your opinion ends and the other person?s begins. Paraphrasing is also another alternative.

    To everyone else, JediHPDrummer, in his 1/21/03 post, cut and pasted three paragraphs directly form my 12/9/02 post in the Random Symbols thread without specifically indicating which words were not his own. The above quotes are the only references to my post. (The aforementioned paragraphs in JediHPDrummer's post start with the ?The entire sequence? paragraph and ends with the ?the factory sequence? paragraph.)

    Again JediHPDrummer, please try to create a clearer division between your opinion and other posters? ideas. I put a lot of thought into that post and would like credit for it.

    I realize that you weren?t trying to be malicious. The fact that you thanked both me and PadmeLeiaJaina indicates that you were trying to do the right thing. I am flattered that you would quote form me. Just try to be a little more careful next time. ;)

    [image=http://home.att.net/~webzone9/starwars/ext/storm_head.jpg]

    (As a side note, I?m not sure what was used from PadmeLeiaJaina.)
  20. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    I didn't realize the thread had been started again; a lot of us just have this one bookmarked, so we don't see it. I'll bookmark the other one, too. I also notice it hasn't been added to since 1/4, which is probably why Shelley didn't notice it.

    Personally, I'd like to see lots and lots of discussion threads like this... I'd hoped that shrouding images would be a new thread rather than extension of the Shmi's Death images thread. That was always the problem with the Random Images thread--one little thread, lost among many, and it's not obvious from the title which set of images we're talking about... a person looking to discuss Shmi's death might not look there, and, on the chance that he did look there, might discover that it was already discussed and the conversation had moved on. At any rate, Random Symbols isn't specific to AotC; it's meant for the whole saga. This thread is specific to AotC, with mentions of the other stuff only to bolster that.
  21. E CHU TA! Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2000
    star 4
    Fair enough, JediGaladriel. After all, Random Symbols is your thread. :)
  22. JediHPDrummer Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2002
    star 3
    Sorry About that Echuta!!!!!!!!! Totally sorry. Here is the post again. I'll make it more clearer this time

    Symbolism ayy. Here's my huge exerpt of symbolism in AOTC with some help from ECHUTA and PadmeLeiaJaina

    JEdi HPDRummer Post- The Mythic symbols in Episode II are very dark, foreshadowing of the fall of the republic and the rise of the evil empire. The scene from the movie is in the beginning. The viewers are blessed with what appears to be almost untold beauty with the clouds. In this scene you begin to draw parallels between this and quite a few myths, the first one to come to mind would most likely be Asgard, the realm of the Gods in Norse mythology. While it is not this particular image that stirs the mind to come to this conclusion it is the state in which Coruscant is in.
    A near pre-Ragnarok state if you could call it that, Ragnarok being, in the most simplified terms the end of the world. However, this is not just limited to Earth or Midgard as it was called, rather the end of Asgard itself and all the ruling powers that dwelled within. An interesting parallel that is not really seen in this is how they are both depicted as working societies, in Coruscants case; it is much like a democracy, which is indeed fleeting. In Asgard Odin technically rules over all matters, much like a democracy, however he does leave other gods or goddess to do the more menial of jobs that exist in Asgard, which of course makes Odin a dictator, something Coruscant becomes over time.
    In Norse mythology Ragnarok is brought about by Surt, lord of the fire giants from the fire region known of Muspelheim and will lay waste to Asgard and Midgard. Later in the film the movie reaches it?s climax on the hellish planet Geonosis, this is almost a direct parallel to the battle that is fought is Muspelheim as the Norse gods and their slain warriors compiled by the Valkyries try to push the giants back. Geonosis and Muspelheim have many eerie similarities in that they both are very barren and are typically depicted with fire or the color red. Finally leading to the end of the film you can see the clone troops marching into transports with a very red sky as the backdrop now in Coruscant, again a parallel to Asgard during Ragnarok.
    Referring back to the situation in general it may also be stated that like the gods of Asgard the Jedi really did not have any clue that they had an enemy on their own lines. In the scene where Palpatine is giving his speech to the rest of the representatives of him obtaining emergency powers the scene goes to Yoda and Mace talking about whether or not what is happening is indeed the right thing. In the case of Asgard it is Loki who brings about a terrible downfall to many a god in order to assume power within Asgard through trickery and deceit. In addition to this he also aids the fire giants just as Palpatine plays a dual role as Darth Sidious.
    Whether it is the scene that seems inspired as a prelude to the coming destruction at the beginning or in the end where it seems like they are descending into the bowels of Muspelheim the parallels between Episode II and Norse mythology are strong and seem to play a strong role in its forging and symbolism together.
    The Intellectaul Cuts in these films are awesome. In AOTC my favorite Intellectual Cut is when Anakin goes to the tusken camp, falls down, then it cuts to the massifs fighting for the bone agressively. Symbolizing his anger and rage. Another great one is when Obi wan is at Kamino and hes inspecting the clones in the corridor. They show the clones, they show the Boba Fett CLones (The Kids) with their blue suits and head sets. Then they cut to a red shirt from the older clone. But the first thing you see is read. So Kids Symbolize the future and when it cuts to the red(danger) we know the future is full of danger.
    You cant forget the history aspect of these films too. I mean The rise of Palpatine is really close to how caeser, napolean and adolf hitler or hte miltarism in Japn in the 1930's came into power. they would turn to opportunitist dictators
  23. Samurai-Jack Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2001
    star 2
    I don?t have anything to add right now.
    This is a great thread and I wish that there were more like it.
  24. Samwise_Skywalker Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2002
    star 3
    I find it really neat when you think of Anakin/Vader this way: Its like Anakin has a demon inside of him, almost like split personality, the demon ends up taking control though.
  25. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    In the interest of keeping both threads relevant, could someone from Random Symbols just give a quick list of AotC-specific topics you're covering there? Then we could do other ones here and everyone will be happy.
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