Why all the hooded cloaks?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by i_dont_know, Sep 28, 2005.

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  1. i_dont_know Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2005
    star 4
    Is it just coincidence that Jedi and Sith are often shown with "hoods"?

    In Ep3 Obi-Wan takes off a hooded cloak, drops down into Grievous's area, and says "Hello there!" to Grievous and the two droid bodyguards in front of him.
    In Ep4 Obi-Wan takes the hood off his head and says "Hello there!" to R2.

    In Ep3 Sidious puts on his hood and says to Anakin:
    "Every single Jedi, including your friend Obi-Wan Kenobi, is now an enemy of the Republic."
    A little contrasting to "hello there!" :p
    Directly following this scene we see Anakin/Vader entering the Jedi Temple with a similar hood over his head.

    In Ep6 Luke sports a new hooded cloak, and enters Jabba's palace. It makes Luke look quite similar to how his father appeared, while approaching the Jedi temple in Ep3.

    So does Lucas just like cloaks or what
  2. mandragora Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2005
    star 4
    Really good question - I've never thought about that. Well, gowns and cloaks are commonly worn by religious adepts, Christian ones as well as Far Eastern ones. Very often, these cloaks also have hoods.

    So for one thing, I think it indicates their affiliation to a religious order.

    It's interesting that in the Tarot cards the Hermit wears a quite similar cloak with a hood (see, e.g. http://www.tarot.de/lib/pic/tarot/karten/waite/150/009.gif ). From a tarot website, it symbolizes introspection, shielding from outside influences, finding the inner self, achieving insight. On another website it is mentioned that it is a symbol for initiation.

    Tarot is always a good source for studying symbolism. I'll go through my Tarot books on the Hermit card and if I find something interesting, I'll post it here.

  3. i_dont_know Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2005
    star 4
    So for one thing, I think it indicates their affiliation to a religious order.

    This is a very convincing interpretation, I can definitely see it in this context.

    On another website it is mentioned that it is a symbol for initiation.

    This fits in very well with Anakin's and Luke's "grand entrances" - Luke as a "Jedi" entering Jabba's palace, Anakin as a "Sith" entering the temple.
    (Off-topic: The two scenes are very different settings and events, but notice Luke and Anakin both kill basically evryone who lives there).
    These are the first times we have seen Luke really acting like a Jedi, and the first time Anakin is really acting as a Sith.
    But neither of them will be a true Jedi, or a true Sith, until near the end of each movie.

    it symbolizes introspection, shielding from outside influences, finding the inner self, achieving insight.

    I can see that for the Jedi, but this doesn't sound like something Sidious or Vader would do :)
  4. ObiWan506 Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2003
    star 7
    I'll agree. I believe it's mostly symbolism.

    I remember before RotS came out, I had already imagined what the ending would be like. I imagined Obi-Wan walking off in the sunset while putting his hood up ... which would symbolize his hiding. Then, 20 years later, Obi-Wan comes out of hiding and removes his hood. Obviously that wasn't in the movie (at least, not exactly as I pictured it) but I still feel they're used mainly for symbolism. Perhaps like what sunglasses are to the Matrix. They're a form of self-confidence in a way.
  5. ThePriminister05 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2005
    star 2
    I agree with all these points, there are multiple reasons.

    But heres one more...

    Darth Vader, Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker looked AWESOME with those hoods on, especially Vader.
  6. mandragora Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2005
    star 4

    I have to disagree here. Vader has a meditation chamber in the OT, remember?

    People always seem to associate the Sith with some kind of street villian gang who just act out their emotions with not much thinking involved. I don't think this does the Sith justice. No street villian would ever be able to accomplish what Sidious did. It requires tremendous reflection and insight into others as well as self awareness to pull off an endeavour like overtaking the galaxy.

    I see them as a spiritual order with very strict disciplines and practices, and very hard training, not so different from the Jedi in this respect. The major differences relate to the way they acquire their knowledge, i.e. they use a hand path whereas the Jedi follow a right hand path (see taoism thread), and, specifically, to what end they use their knowledge. The Jedi choose to serve people and the Force, the Sith choose to achieve power over people and exploit the Force. To me, they resemble more some destructive and subversive Far Eastern secret warrior cast devoted to combat training, occult practices, and manipulation, rather than a street villain gang.
  7. Darth-Seldon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2003
    star 6
    It is there for several reasons.
    Those of the Western World, and even the in the Eastern tradition--hoods can be associated with religious, spiritual or magical qualities.

    They also conceal the face and keep the individual hidden and adds a sense of mystery.

    On Tatooine (where Maul, Luke and Kenobi all wear hoods) it can be argued that they are being used for practical reasons. Sand is shifting across the dunes and the cloth must provide some form of protection.

    Kenobi gains some protection on Kamino from wearing the hood (though not enough protection.) So one of the reasons is really enviromental factors.

    For Sidious, it was a way of keeping his deception. He had to hide his face for the sake of his main objective, and the hood accomplished that part of the goal.

    Darth Maul wears a hood to conceal his horns, when he takes that hood off to reveal them, it is even more intimidating (at least in my view.)

    Luke Skywalker is trying to ease his way into Jabba's palace, he doesn't want to be recognized in the first few minutes. For the sake of the mission, it was necessary for him to use some level of disguise.

    There are really thousands of reasons.

  8. i_dont_know Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2005
    star 4
    Of course, I wasn't comparing a Sith to a common criminal. Especially not Sidious. But I think that the Jedi are generally much more reflective than the Sith.

    introspection, shielding from outside influences - But if Anakin was able to shield himself from outside influences, he wouldn't have turned.

    how many Star Wars fans compare Sith to street criminals anyway? :p
  9. mandragora Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2005
    star 4

    We haven't got a lot of Sith for comparison, unfortunately. Sidious was clearly reflective enough make the entire Jedi order look like fools, and proved to be able to foresee things, quite contrary to the Jedi. Yes, "the dark side clouded their vision", I know. Question is, how this could be? We don't really know a lot about Maul, and not very much about Dooku, however, from what we know he was at least reflective enough to question the current state of systems and the order. We got some information on Plagueis which hints that he was more the reflective than the warrior type.

    As for Anakin, he wasn't a Sith by the end of ROTS. He hadn't even started Sith training. He was a psycho who got consumed by his anger and hatred, but not a Sith.

    When it comes to trained Sith, I don't think there's a lot of difference in this respect between Jedi and Sith.

    Judging from some board posts I've read here, there are quite a few people who come close to it.
    Well, but actually this goes off topic, and I don't want to lead your thread to digress.
  10. mandragora Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2005
    star 4
    One addendum to the question of the Sith shielding themselves: Sidious very successfully shielded himself, since he was never uncovered during the prequels. The cloak symbol here perfectly fits.


    Some more information on the Tarot Hermit and his hooded cloak:

    One of the books states that the hooded cloak is a symbol of protection, of hidden secrets, of depth. Its also mentioned that the Hermit also is someone who walks his way alone. He?s an exceptional personality that differs from the great majority of people. The author also connects the symbol to a monk. In other books, the connection to introspection, religious orders and monks is also mentioned, as is the connection to shielding to the outside world, introspection, reasoning and walking your own path.

    The ?complete idiot?s guide to Tarot? (great book by the way, despite the silly title) the message is stated as ?timeout for inner truth?. Keywords given are:
    - seeking truth
    - seeking wisdom
    - listening to inner voices
    - silence.

    And finally, one Karin Brandl explicitly connects the Hermit to ascetics and to an occult teacher, having magical powers.

    I think the plainness in outer appearances, the seclusion and shielding metaphor, the notion of being different and walking your own way, as well as the one of the occult teacher with magical powers applies to both Jedi and Sith. The metaphor of introspection, monasticism, seeking truth and wisdom clearly is true for the Jedi, I think this is uncontroversial.
    I'd argue that in a very different way, interpreted from viewpoint abstracting from morality questions, it also applies to the Sith.
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