The Fall and Redemption of Anakin Skywalker: The Tragic Hero of a Modern Myth

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by CMR, Apr 12, 2005.

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  1. CMR Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 4
    Here is an essay I wrote for my Mythologies class that connects the trials of the Skywalker family with those of heroes from ancient myths.

    Enjoy.

    Note: This essay contains some spoilers from Episode 3




    The Fall And Redemption Of Anakin Skywalker: The Tragic Hero Of A Modern Myth


    Few stories capture the collective imagination of a society. Most seem to fade away from memory, and out of popular culture almost as quickly as they appear. Star Wars was different. In a time of heavy political and social turmoil the art of story disappeared, and was lost to a large degree. Most of the tales that emerged during the American 20th Century were failures due to an inability to truly connect with an audience that was polarized on nearly every issue. Taking its influences from the stories of antiquity Star Wars transcended the issues to tell a story of truly universal nature. A story of one man?s fall from grace, and his son?s attempt to bring him back from the Dark. It is the ancient archetypes of the hero and his quest that are the driving forces in George Lucas? vision of a time long ago, in a galaxy far, far away?

    To understand how the archetype of the hero plays into Star Wars we must first analyze what a hero is in the classical sense of the word. Joseph Campbell, in ?The Hero With A Thousand Faces,? defines the concept of a mythic hero:

    ?A hero ventures forth from the world of the common day into a region of supernatural wonder: Fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.? (30)

    The hero of antiquity tended to be one born under unusual circumstances, and bestowed with great gifts. Many are of a virgin birth, such as Christ, Perseus and Hercules. And most heroes possess some otherworldly power, such as Thor with his hammer Mjollnir, and Achilles who was the most awesome of warriors and had only a single vulnerable spot, the proverbial ?Achilles Heel.? The heroes of antiquity were more than human, not in physicality per se, but in spirit and will. Forsaking all that they know and love they embark on a quest, either for the greater good or an immense personal gain. Achilles lead the siege of Troy for personal glory and to gain the only form of immortality his people believed in, memories preserved in song and tales. Gilgamesh, the earliest of heroes, pursued knowledge only to learn that there is no way to gain true immortality and that all must make a positive impact on life to be remembered. Regardless of the individuals goal, the hero makes his journey to find something greater within himself and the world around him. It is the spirit in which these quests are made that drive us, as a species, to be the best mothers, fathers, spouses, presidents, lawyers, doctors and people we can be. It is an undeniable human quality to want to become more than we are, and it is the journey of the hero that allows us to live a life of valor vicariously.

    Just as all heroes share a common methodology of creation, their quest share a similar structure that is seen throughout the ages. Common to all hero myths is the cyclical nature inherent in their quest, categorized by three distinct rites of passage: Separation, initiation, and return. (Campbell, 30)

    The Separation phase of the quest is characterized by the hero leaving his home for a strange new land filled with wondrous creatures, impossible odds and implacable enemies. Faced with this daunting task, the hero, surrounds himself with those entities most suited to aid him on his quest. Campbell calls them, ?personifications of his destiny.? Examples of this are found throughout ancient myths: Aeneas leaving the flaming ruins of the once grand city of Troy, Gilgamesh?s journey into the wilds to seek personal knowledge, and even the Buddha?s journey to reach enlightenment. Once separated from all that they know, the hero must begin the process of initiation, the second rite of passage for a hero.

    During initiation the her
  2. CMR Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 4
    LOL guess it was just too long for people to read
  3. BauconBatista Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2004
    star 4
    Or maybe it's that ROTS spoiler warning ;)
  4. CMR Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 4
    Perhaps ;)


    But the spoilers are quite mild, and general nothing that anyone who knows the slightest thing about Star Wars wouldn't know.
  5. -_-_-_-_-_- Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 6
    I'm in the process of reading it right now. So far, so good.
  6. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    It's not bad. There's a lot of plot exposition and some shaky sentence construction, but it's alright.
  7. CMR Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 4
    Yeah, its not my best work at all....and for that I feel terrible.

    But, I procrastinated until the last night (owing to the fact that 99% of my time is on here, the other 1% is spread between class and my fiancé), and stayed up till 5:30 am (with a 9:30am due time) it'll suffice. :D
  8. Jedi_Aron_Tylander Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2004
    star 3
  9. ladyoftheforce Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 12, 2005
    WOW!!! I thought it was great. you better get an A...
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