October 31, 2011
A Psychological Analysis of the Character of Darth Vader
The Star Wars franchise has enlightened us about visions of the possible future; from flying cities to powerful weapons that can destroy entire planets. The mystical Jedi, the guardians of the Galactic Republic and users of the light side, fighting the Sith, evil warriors of cunning and treachery who use the dark side, both of whom wield the Force, an interconnecting of all living things, set up the back-story to this space epic. However, the one character that has been given the most depth is, the one that the movie series chooses to focus on: Darth Vader. “More machine than man, twisted and evil” (Episode VI), Vader, formerly known as the Jedi Anakin Skywalker, “turned to the dark side, believing that it was the only way to save his wife from death” (Anakin Skywalker). He defended the evil then-Chancellor of the Republic, Palpatine, from a Jedi attack, betraying his Jedi brethren, and helping the Sith. “By giving in to his darkest nature, Anakin Skywalker had become Darth Vader. At Palpatine’s command, he led a[n]… assault on the Jedi Temple, slaughtering hundreds, including even the youngest students” (Wallace 82). Palpatine, now crowned the Imperial Emperor, had all Jedi executed for treason, and few escaped the wrath of the Empire. However, Skywalker’s former mentor, Obi- Wan Kenobi, “faced his former apprentice in battle. The battle left both combatants bruised and exhausted, but in the end Obi-Wan maimed Anakin…” (Wallace 84). “Emperor Palpatine’s surgical droids rebuilt Darth Vader, and his ebony skull mask reflected the darkness of the spirit within. Encased forever in a walking coffin, his every wheezing breath in pure agony, Darth Vader was doomed to live that Padmé (his wife) had died… He, Vader, had killed the only thing he had loved” (Wallace 84). It was at this point that Palpatine kept Vader “constantly on the move, traveling throughout the galaxy to defeat rebel uprisings or arrest corrupt Imperials” (Anakin Skywalker) to “give him focus and prevent him from wallowing in self-pity” (Wallace 86). One of these tasks involved the building of a giant space station: the Death Star. Plans of it were leaked to the Rebel Alliance, revolutionaries who wanted to overthrow the Imperial regime. The plans reached the Rebel base on the planet Yavin IV through the efforts of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, Vader’s twins who were born shortly before Padmé died. The Death Star was destroyed when attacking the base, due in part to Luke, whose abilities in the Force were sensed by Vader. After the battle, the Imperials attacked another Rebel base on the planet Hoth, led by Vader. The Rebels retreated, and Vader tried to trap his son on Cloud City, where he revealed that he was Luke’s father. Luke escaped, and willingly gave himself up to his father on the second Death Star, hoping to turn him back to the light side of the Force. Vader, however, remained stoic to Luke’s pleas, and fought him once more, before the Emperor. Defeated, Vader lay wounded, and as the Emperor attacked his son for not joining him, he threw the Dark Lord of the Sith to his doom, redeeming himself. Slowly dying, Vader was taken by Luke to escape, and he was laid to rest on Endor. Before his dramatic change of heart, Vader was characterized as pure evil, and was completely ruthless. Soon after his transformation from Jedi guardian to Sith Lord, Vader became ruthless after his goals, stopping at nothing to achieve them, disregarding the lives of humans, aliens, even those of his troops. He had an entire planet inhabited with billions of civilians destroyed in order to discover the location of a Rebel base. Throughout the series, he personally executes military leaders and prisoners who fail, or even be in his presence when he doesn’t want to be disturbed. And when chasing the Rebel smuggler Han Solo and...