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. hawk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    Just a question for Jedi Galadrial about posting here. You said to not post here if you don't agree with the member's view on symbolism. What if you are a member who agrees until page 11, or something, when someone comes up with some new symbolism. Are they to leave if they don't agree after posting for 10 pages? For instance, just say I posted about something symbolic that Shelley didn't think was there. Would she have to leave? I am just interested to know where the line is drawn.
  2. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    I don't think it's particularly unclear or compex--you can disagree about the meaning of a particular symbol, but it's not the place to say, "This isn't here!" If we're on a symbol you're not into, ignore it and wait for the next one, since it continues to shift.
  3. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
  4. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    Paul McDonald has a nice essay, The Holy Mother, on Shmi's role over at suite101.com.

    Let's see... we did beasts at length over at ami-padme's boards--anyone from over here interested in visiting the use of beast imagery in AotC?

  5. The_Abstract Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2002
    star 4
    "Let's see... we did beasts at length over at ami-padme's boards--anyone from over here interested in visiting the use of beast imagery in AotC?"


    Count me in.....but later.
  6. DarthWrytard Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2002
    star 2
    Let's go berserk with symbols, shall we?

    In my opinion: The monsters that come out of the gates to kill Ani, Padme, and Obi represent their inner demons. Their chains represent their "attachment" (forbidden) which make them vulnerable. Obi's creature has a bluegreen and white coloring, all goodguy colors in SW. Obi is the least emotionally attached of the 3 prisoners, so he is freed early in his struggle and roams the arena with ease. His creature has 6 legs, one for each episode Obi is in. He cuts off 2 of its legs, showing that he was dead in the last 2 episodes. Ani's creature is red and black, the evil SW colors. Three white horns? Three episodes in which he is good (more or less).
    Obi is the only one who defeats his own creature, and he effectively commits suicide by letting D.V. kill him in ep 4. Obi's creature only attacks battle droids after the Jedi arrive.
    Ani's creature unites with him via the chains. It knocks Obi down and chases Windu around, just as Ani will "hunt down" and kill Jedi (in Ep 3?). His creature dies fighting Jango, and Vader died fighting the Emperor. Vader attacked the Emperor; Anakin killed him; the creature attacked Jango; Windu killed him. The creature's right horn gets cut off, showing either/or; Anakin was only good halfway through ep 3; Ani will lose his right hand (twice, mind you.)
    Padme's creature screams "duality". White and black fur, red and green eyes, and a forked tail (twin reference?). It kills a Geonosian upon entry, just as Padme defeats her foes on entry to the series.
    Padme is halfway freed from her chains before the creature gets to her, and Padme is almost free from emotional attachment (she "seems to be on top of things"). The creature hurts her, and she hurts it back. In the old trilogy, Leia describes her mom as "sad", and the creature can be heard whimpering.
    Most significantly, her creature is killed by Anakin's creature. At that moment, she frees herself from her remaining cuff, and her chains are off.
    Other symbols: A son holding the helmet of his dead father.
    Sparks on Jango's rocket pack, can't fly, gets killed. Sparks from Emperor's fingers, can't fly, gets killed.
    And, worst of all: The only witnesses of the inner struggles of SW characters are the fans, and the witnesses of the arena executions are weird termite critters.

    See discussion of these preposterous presumptions in the "Execution Arena Symbolism" thread.
  7. Lukecash Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 4
    Lucas considers himself a VISUAL director-he puts more emphasis on what you see, than what you hear.

    I find it ironic that The Phantom Menance begins the illision that all is right in the galaxy. The fact that Palpatine got what he wanted is lost on all of those who are celebrating a victory. With the Attack of the Clones-the heroes begin to see the fog tha obstructs them...not realzing that it is far to late to do anything about it.

    From the opening of the movie, when we pan UP isntead of down-we are given a clue that things are changing.

    Silver, has long thought be symbol of purity- It is however only as bright as the light that is reflected on it. We see how Padme's ship reflects the sunligh and starlight on approach to Corasaunt. Once approaching the city, all that it can reflect is dulled by the fog. It is almost to say that the shroud of the Darkside, can dampen even the purist spirits.

    It is now, that we are exposed to our first deception-Padme isn't on the ship-she is on a single seated fighter. This points directly to her totally independent personality (almost too independet-) In these times, she sees her actions as isolated and her attacks as personal (I souldn't have come back, she says- Typo has to remind her of her duty. Later-She is mad when she is sent off into hiding-and Anakin, reminds her that we have to do what is requested of us.)It is almost as if Padmes actions are being affected by the shroud of the dark side.

    I will have more later.
  8. JohnWilliams00 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2002
    star 4
    That was great DarthWryTard. [face_laugh]

    Sparks on Jango's rocket pack, can't fly, gets killed. Sparks from Emperor's fingers, can't fly, gets killed.

    [face_laugh]

  9. Emos-Edud Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2002
    star 4
    I don't find very much symbolism in the manner of Shmi's death. If it was supposed to parallel Christ's crucifixtion, I think Lucas would have used a cross, like in "Cyborg" or "Conan: The Barbarian." Luke hanging from the aerial with his bleeding stump is the most obvious crucifixtion in the saga, as far as I am concerned.

    The A-frame (and the face down tying of Shmi)that the Tuskens used is most often associated with rape and torture. Shmi's death was not planned, it was an accident (but not one the Tuskens cared about).
  10. The_Abstract Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2002
    star 4
    Upping this....cause you know, AOTC is cool.

    :cool:

  11. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
  12. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
  13. Darthoffski Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2003
    star 4
    Haven't read all the posts, but what I have read is pretty heavy going at times. How about something simple, which, whatever mythical source it may have originated from, might, just might mean something for Star Wars, and Star Wars alone?

    Something like...

    In AOTC during the speeder chase 'Anakin falls a very long way, deliberately choosing to do so, and knowing exactly where that fall will take him'.

    If that isn't symbolic foreshadowing of his final fall, I'm a shadow of a shadow hiding from the sun (that's pretty cool considering it's gibberish!)

    And lets all join hands and remember, there are only so many things stories can be about, and though Lucas acknowledges a debt to mythical symbolism, etc, it is perfectly possible to write a story with no knowledge at all of any symbolism, yet someone who knows about all the Archetypes would be able to spot an influence here, a reference there, a homage somewhere else, etc.

    Rubbish example: I wrote a story in which the opening ended up with the character getting wet feet. Later my clever way of getting the readers to imagine themselves in the characters shoes by using such a plot device was praised. However, though in retrospect it was clear that was the effect that was achieved and it was right for the story, I didn't do it on purpose. Nor did I seek to emulate greek tragedy by using similar themes. It just happened to be the case that things which happened in peoples hearts and minds have never really changed, only technology has moved on. And there's the whole thing about do stories come from life or do people live their lives according to what they learn from stories confusion to take into account.

    And I believe the same is often true of other storytellers. We bring our own experience and knowledge into the equation when we expose ourselves to other peoples stories and any symbols that speak to our own knowledge and experience are not neccesarily put there deliberately. And if the are, what chance is there of a story existing in it's own right? No chance.

    People who know nothing of religious symbolism or mythical symbols can enjoy SW as much as anyone else for purely what is on the screen, and I think that there is often a lot of forgetting of the distinction between a story and what we make it mean to us.

    Hence my simple suggestion of a direct story context link between Anakin's choice to fall from the speeder in EP2 and later events. A choice to fall, though there is danger, knowing exactly where his fall will take him.

  14. Willy_Wampa Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2003
    I posted this a few months back, perhaps it pertains to some of the things you all are currently discussing:

    All things aside, one thing I really enjoyed about AOTC was the symbolism Lucas used to demonstrate Ani's slow descent into darkness. Two scenes that come to mind are when he arrives at the Tusken camp and when he takes on Dooku. At the camp, we see Ani standing on a cliff against the star lit sky and stepping off. This is classic Paradise lost. Anakin literally falls from heaven into darkness. Literal darkness, and metaphoric darkness with the slaughter of the Tusken camp. The second scene with Dooku I remember him cutting a power line with his saber and the lights go dim. Here, we see Ani embracing the darkness in combat. He obviously feels more comfortable and confident fighting Dooku in the dark. The symbolism here is obvious. He's letting go of his emotions and his hate for Dooku is obvious on his face. Ani is definately toying with the dark side here. It all culminates in the losing of the hand and his descent is nearly complete.
  15. Qui-Dawn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2000
    star 5
    What continually impresses me - well, one thing among *many*, to be sure :) - and what I think also contributes *so* much to the underlying, subtle foreshadowed dread and sense of foreboding that is, at times, so very evident....even if it's only on the most subconscious of levels that people are aware of it, it has an impact nonetheless....but, yes, at any rate - it's the fact that, as I recall, through the whole of AOTC....every single scene has encroaching clouds or darkness touching it, even in the slightest, most subtle of ways. Even when it's brilliantly sunny and essentially, perfectly crystal-clear and most unthreatening otherwise, e.g. on Naboo, those clouds - even most distant, but encroaching ones - they do remain.

    And, I suppose, what one can very readily take from this, as I certainly do, is the fact that in TPM - the gathering clouds, the encroaching, brooding, cataclysmic darkness, the obscurement of the Light - it was that much more distant then....still very much there, to be sure, and drawing ever-nearer once the plans were set in motion....but it was, of course, that much farther off then. And so it's only now, in AOTC, that we can see the much more visible signs of impending chaos and darkness (even outside of the Clone War itself, for it's in the large things and the small that the descent into darkness is seen) and of the clouds of war, destruction, suffering and ruin drawing ever-nearer, closer and tighter....they *are* there, now, and there seems no escaping their increasing presence no matter where one goes. Be it Naboo, Tatooine, Geonosis, even Coruscant....you can see it all too easily.

    Not for nothing, after all, does it so effectively mirror the increasing state of decay and self-devouring destruction that the Republic only continues to fall further and deeper into....beset by darkness and ominous, plotting, divisive forces within and without, the Republic is dying - and taking all the freedom and the Light with it. And there's no question that it's this pervasive - sometimes more subconscious, perhaps, but nonetheless still felt and very definite - impression that chills you to the core....every time.


    Dawn.
  16. njocraig Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 22, 2003
    star 1
    Please forgive me if this has been brought up, but I missed it if it was.

    I particularly enjoyed the duel between Anakin and Dooku, and how after Anakin cut the power cable, he was alternately cast in the blue light of his saber and the red of Dooku's. I thought it was a great way to symbolize what Anakin was and will become.
  17. Qui-Dawn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2000
    star 5
    And he did so willingly, too, that's the thing....of his own accord did he cut the cable and plunge himself, and Dooku, into shadows, and the tantalizing play of Light and the Dark. It's in order to gain that advantage, to have victory - Anakin, of his own free will, must shroud himself in darkness....and only there, like you said, do we then see that in the display of warring red and blue, it's literally like Anakin's two destinies....the path that he ultimately chooses, falls into, is tempted and goaded into - yes, all those, all at once - and, as well, the path that could have been his....if only....and it's the possibility of these two destinies for him, fighting each other as if battling for his very soul, that we see there so vividly....in the light of the dark. Talk of something so very astonishing, as you said, when you realize the real symbolic depth of that scene....there's real power there, and it hits you, *hard*. But what a gift and real treat it is to uncover such gems!


    Dawn.
  18. Fleedo_Kalm Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Psychoanalytically, the duel in the cave could also mean a confrontation with the unconscious (something that Jung talked about and undertook himself). The question for him, and by implication Anakin, is whether or not he has the mettle to confront the 'dark forces' of the unconscious, control them and make them his ally. That is, the light side is really about understanding the power of the dark side and utilising it in an inverse relationship. Like Yin and Yang, one cannot be without the other. Using the cave as the scene for this literal and metaphoric battle is clichéd, but effective non the less.

    Equally, it could also be Plato's cave where the "Ideal' world is scene by the shadows cast on the back wall form the light of the fire. While I don;t see this literally taking place in the film, the play of colour and light when the cable is cut and the "dance" of blue and red across both Dooku's and Anakin's faces makes for a powerful symbolic allusion to this taking place.

    I am glad this topic is still here as this is the kind of discussions that make me like the whole series. Despite some very pertinent criticisms of GL's directorial choices, the films are a very rich tapestry of myth and narrative and make great allusive gestures to many sources. I am going to keep digging.
  19. Obi-HaCoR Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2002
    star 5
    I was just about to post a topic on Symbolism in AOTC but apparently I found a topic on it already.

    I HAVE FOUND SOMETHING I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL!

    Alright, Now I have scanned through this thread just now and was hoping that no one found what I did and luckily they either didn't, or simply didn't want to mention it but.........

    I have been watching AOTC countless times and each time, find somethign new and intruiging. Anyway, what I saw a couple weeks/months ago, made me jump out of my seat. Luckily they have made an icon out of this picture, allowingme to finally show some people. Check out the picture below

    [image=http://www1.theforce.net/jc/icons/attackoftheclones/Secret_Wedding_AOTC_JK150.gif]

    Click the picture and look carefully, see anything unusual?? or something that catches your eye??

    Maybe i'm wrong but that sure as heck looks like the clouds behind the priest form the shape of wings coming out of his back!!

    Does anyone have any idea at all what this means or what type of foreshadowing this is, if any?? or is this just some sort of mistake done by the crew that no one noticed??

    Like I said before, I noticed it but everyoen I have talked to has never caught it themselves. Anyone else here seen this before?? Opinions or thoughts anyone??
  20. Fleedo_Kalm Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2003
    You could be onto something there.

    Most things are in films for a reason and not just randomly included. GL is a visual film maker and this augers well for supporting the intentionality of this image.

    As to the whole wings thing, well it could be that this is the chosen one getting married and so, in a sort of mythical, classical Greek way, is a union that is sanctioned by the gods (in this case the midichlorians!) It could symbolise the sanctity and importance of the marriage. Equally it could be an alchemical image. That is, it has to do with the union of opposites. I will have to look that one up and will come back to it.
  21. Obi-HaCoR Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2002
    star 5
    Kalm : OOOoooooohhh that sounds pretty interesting. Definitly keep me updated on what you find because I mean, this is unbelievable.

    At first I thought my eyes were fooling me but then I realized, NO WAY!! It's almost too perfect to be a mistake. Thyere has got to be some sort of meaning behind it.
  22. JediHPDrummer Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2002
    star 3
    You are right, that cloud does mean something. Clouds are a motif in Episode 2 and the star wars saga really. We see the clouds or fog in the beggining, jedi council room, kamino, tatooine, geonosis, naboo, the clone drop off at the end in coruscant and who can forget the good old SENATE chamber.

    There's a mystery throghout this whole movie and there is always something we dont see straight in this movie, its always clouded, especially clouded for characters like yoda, anakin, obi wan, The JEDI really, and the repbulic or senate doesnt see palpatines manipulations. The clouds give a sense of Foreboding.
    Padme and Anakin's look at the future, and it is a clouded one for them.
    It's a beautiful way to end the movie, funny how the beggining was clouded and the ending was clouded. Symmetry
    George is a Visual Director, he uses colors ALOT, he uses enviroments ALOT to express how characters are feeling and how the story is being told and what themes/messages its expressing.
    George is very underated IMHO.
  23. Fleedo_Kalm Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Come to think of it, the more I look the more I am convinced it is an alchemical symbol. Check out the overhanging leaves on the branch. It's like a flaming crown. My book is at home on alchemy and will check it tonight and hopefully post back tomorrow.
  24. Qui-Dawn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2000
    star 5
    Just wondering.... (well, aside from giving this fascinating, intrinsically involving and most thoughtfully inspiring thread a much-deserved upping, natch) Did anyone out there want to tackle starting another aspect or theme of the symbolism to be discussed? I'm totally game for anything, really....so if we're sticking with shrouding and obscuring for a while, that's great, I know that we'll *never* tire of that....and what I appreciate also is how we do tend to feed off one another's input, only further deepening the initial and *most* perceptive perspectives that we already had....mmm, nope, we're not suffering from any lack of ideas, I do believe. :) So....thoughts? Inspiration? Any new thematic elements that we might want to tackle? I didn't want to speak for anyone else, of course.... :)


    Dawn.
  25. openmind Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2003
    star 4
    Well Qui Dawn. I was just thinking the other day (yes, I do that sometimes 8-}), about Shmi's abduction by the Tuskens and how she recognizes Anakin. First of course she's in a daze from obvious circumstances, then realizes who it is, her son, someone she's not seen for years. Then let's go back to..or shall we say forward, to ANH. Luke is abducted by the Tuskens, then found by Kenobi. Luke's in a daze, after his "rough day", and then recognizes Ben, someone he's not seen in a long time.

    Any parallels in this, or anything? Something worth discussing?
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