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Misread Prophecy: Revenge of Sith

Misread Prophecy: Revenge of Sith

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...

With the new era of Hollywood, big budget blockbuster, special effects-oriented movies started to be produced. In our present age, they became the keystones of our popular culture because of their potential to work as globalized myths instead of localized. When George Lucas created Star Wars as series of films, they evolved to a whole new level which can be analyzed by their visual and textual contexts, ideology, philosophy but also their creation of good and bad binary oppositions which means by their ethical insights and along with their explanation of physical and spiritual environment. So in this article, I will try to discuss these issues while examining the force in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of Sith (George Lucas, 2004).

But beware, it contains spoiler. To facilitate this explication, I will explore the canvas of George Lucas’s Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of Sith in terms of visual and ideologic contexts. According to me, firstly, it is highly important to be introduced to what is the force and how does it function as a law to understand the ideology of the movie. Later, I will draw out this phenomenon with the today's political point of view while blowing the lid of the levels of the force such as religion, natural law, order, lifestyle, letting go policy, good and / versus / or bad binary. And to conclude I will reexamine the relations between ‘good’ Jedi and ‘bad’ Sith while mentioning the liberal democratic Republic and totalitarian Galactic Empire.

In the first place, it is a wise choice to start this paper with defining and identifying the ‘Force’. Nowadays, all the modern myths made of almost the same base, a hero’s adventure—which may differ in various forms within the story—and as usual in these Star Wars movies, our hero who was discovered by some other characters and taken to this new world/ order, confronted some challenges and tries to deal with those conflicts, so from now on the side of the storyline, this cycle of the hero is a part of the cosmogonic cycle which is the second element of the monomyth. In Star Wars, the energy which refers to the convergence of the opposites and unity of the universe generated by the cosmogonic cycle which is called the Force. A persona from the movie, Obi-Wan, who was the apprentice of Qui-Gon and was the master of Anakin Skywalker -so called Darth Vader- defines “the Force” as an energy, generated by life to maintain the balance of the universe. So this phenomenon, in other words, defend the opinion of ‘letting go’ the material world and focusing on the order of the universe. But how come does ‘the Force’ become an ideology from being just a myth?

While framing ‘the Force’ and Star Wars in Campbell’s attitudes of new and old mythology, it should not forget these two act as a part of an ideology. But how is that mythology develop into an ideology? In this sense, let’s look at the previous explication, as an idiom, ‘letting go’ is highlighting itself practically throughout the trilogies. According to Timothy D. Peters, Star Wars Episode III (Lucas, 2004) were a way of presenting the transformation of mythology to ideology while reflecting and refracting one of the today’s global ideology which is post-modern capitalism. Basically, the process of not intervening in and letting go has the same idea with current global capitalism. When we look at the 19th century, capitalism is all about being capital while maintaining, controlling the production and surplus its value. However, capitalism in current position is more related with letting go to the forces of production and decentralization of the process while having more control over the production. Parallel to this, in Lucas’s movies, letting go of the physical world is also about not losing control, on the contrary, it is all about shifting it. Besides the ideological meaning of the Force, it can be associated with Western Buddhism too. Once Slavoj Zizek noted that Western Buddhism is also about finding the inner peace and detaching from materiality, which means, in a way, this fancy named religion is also about letting go of the economy of the objects. Force does not produce more disorder instead, it brings more order to maintain balance in the galaxy. Thus, the Force and the Western Buddhism works as the same way and they transform into be the same, the Capital. In my opinion, what is more interesting is the fact that in Star Wars they were no mention about a God? The answer was on the T.D. Peter’s paper which he has also inspired by Prof. William MacNeil’s unpublished paper on P. Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy, the concept of God neither dead, unconscious or demented because in Star Wars and also in Capital, God does not exist. According to this, could the force be replaced with the God? If the force works as the law which holds the system together, then why not?

As it mentioned above, the Force which is the primary ideology of Star Wars—the myth of our times—, has very complicated and well merged mythologic, politic and ecclesiastic layers. But what is the underneath of the force? Could it be identified as the law? When putting aside all those layers and religious mythical dressings, the basic relation between law and the force reveal itself as a natural law. Let’s take a look at the Star Wars Episode III just for a second, without myths and religion, the main goal of the force is to maintain the balance and desires to order. After reading the references throughout the movie, it can easily understand that the force was not just any divine being out there somewhere, it was created from all living things in the universe. However, while talking about the societies, civilizations and their orders, law and order breakers comes to mind. In that case, the Force puts a plate on to the table for terms such as savagery and violence to preserve the order. For instance; the ‘good’ Jedi knights supposed to not intervene anything but still, they carry a lightsaber. Why do the defenders of light bring a violent weapon? Does it really necessary using legitimized violence to justify the order and restore the balance? To me, Lucas had already confronted with this issue and tried to define this differences with the colors of the lightsabers. Knights who use legitimate violence only to defend something have green ones like Master Yoda, and the users who use legitimate violence for a cause have blue ones like Master Kenobi, of course, this visual solution got out of hand after the extended versions of the Star Wars came out. On the other hand, for the terms of letting go, preserving order and the general Jedi motto, Anakin’s turn to the dark side can be the perfect example from the movie. Although George Lucas who created Star Wars noted Anakin’s choice to not let go the ones that fear to lose, as a viewer I think he was attached to himself more than to his mother or Padme and they died just because he actually listened and applied ‘let go’ motto. My argument is that if you let go and get away from everything near, you will eventually turn yourself into more and more each day and will put yourself before others and will focus on your desires and powers. The reason why young Skywalker trapped so easily Palpatine’s suggestion to gaining more power. In a visual analysis, this situation is visible to the eye at the scene of Anakin and Palpatine’s dialogues at the senate. The scene has a very symmetrical view, two personas from the movie sit in front of the whole senate and there we can see Anakin at in the middle of the screen while Darth Sidious was sitting next to him and whipping dark thoughts on Anakin. With this scene, the audience starts to sense the thing that Anakin turning into. At first sight, the reason can be saving the loved ones but, isn’t love a self-centered act too? After all these reasons and consequences, this 'letting go' motto evolved to a paradox and started to shake the foundation of Jedi society.

To summarize, generally, to the point in here is that the thing which we called the Force is not just a simple natural law. Being a myth of our times, the Force evolved and take a place in the modern law subject, especially with the correlation between law and order, and their connections with violence or defense system of the civilization or society. However, Fitzpatrick and Freud declare that most civilizations are under attack from their insiders not from the outsiders, so whatever you take precautions, the society has always a potential to being at risk of a return to an earlier stage which means savagery. This situation occurs in the movie as the conflicts between good and the dark side of the force. For instance, in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Master Yoda mentioned about two paths to go to the dark side, fear and jealousy. Yoda also noted that these two emotions should be avoided. It is my belief that Jedi knights are missing some points such as Sith and Jedi’s power comes from very unique entity which is the Force so it seems to me that whether try so hard to avoid or block these emotions, they are always there naturally, and it really does not matter where you run to, you are always going to run along side of the darkness of the force. The relation between dark and light does not change, they always been next to each other, moreover in some occasions they were merged together and bring balance to the force like a simple Ying and Yang symbol. It is now clear that the force is neither a perfect lightness nor darkness, let me conclude with an example—the prophecy. Jedi Knights always talked about the 1000 years of a peaceful Jedi era with the lack of the Sith Lords. Isn't the right thing to do to let the Sith Lords increase or gain more power just to maintain the balance in the Force? So in this case, with Anakin’s turn to the dark side—also with the transformation of ‘good’ republic to ‘evil’ empire—, the prophecy become true at some point. All of these points prove the fact that the Force has a light side and dark within but the wrong is light is not always right same as dark is not always evil. Palpatine nominated to be the head chancellor, and with his rights, he'll bring back the peace and justice in his way. Finally, as he said in the movie, Jedi and Sith are the same in almost every way, they came from the same entity, just the methods are different so, made the force be with you.

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