Darth Vader is Philo-SITH-ical

Posted on April 12, 2023 by


The philosophical and political representation of the story of “Star Wars” has been an ongoing discussion since the release of the original trilogy. The character of Darth Vader is now 45 years old, and for 45 years he has been a major villain in the eyes of the “Star Wars” demographic. The tragic story of the once-Jedi begins with the death of his mother, whom he left to become a Jedi. Afterward, he believes it’s his fault she could not be saved, that it was his job to save her. This haunts the Jedi. Anakin foresees the future once more, but this time it’s with his wife, the woman he’s loved since he was a boy. He’s granted the wish to stop her death, but at what cost?

Throughout the series, both the cinematic versions and novelizations show the good and the bad of the Jedi Council, as well as the bad and good of the Sith Lords. It’s been up to the viewers to form their opinions on who are the good guys and bad guys, but ultimately the original trilogy pushes the general idea of who the heroes are and who the villains are.

“The ultimate goal of the Sith is also to gain ultimate power. Throughout history in all parts of the real world, those who sought and achieved great power were most often consumed by it.  This is taught in your basic Social Studies class. The Sith seek absolute power,” Mrs. Karen Sahaydak who teaches the Gods, Goddess, and Superheroes course at Fleetwood Area High school said.

The Sith can be recognized as very authoritarian. The Galactic Empire (The Sith) is constantly shown throughout the franchise as dictators and rulers that need control over the galaxy. 

Sahaydak also mentioned that as viewers of the franchise, fans need to realize what really makes a character evil, such as those characters’ morals and virtues.

“If their values are those of the Sith (self-gain, ruling the universe, destruction, etc.), then you are probably looking at someone who sits on the side of evil and, yes, they should be viewed as a “bad guy,” Sahaydak said. 

“I still look at them as threats to the galaxy, but the sequel and prequel trilogies do a great job at showing that there are flaws within the Jedi order as well, so instead of calling the Jedi good and the Sith bad, there needs to be some kind of middle ground that’s halfway between them,” Mr. Zachary Houp, teacher of the school science fiction course, said.

The Sith have always had bad intentions, but those who rule under the Sith share different intentions.

The story of Darth Vader is very tragic, as shown in the prequels. Anakin is faced with whether he should “save” his wife, or stay loyal to the Jedi Council.

“I don’t think any of us would know how we’d respond in the situation he faced until we actually dealt with it ourselves,” Houp said.

Anakin was faced with ignoring the visions like he did with his mother or stopping them. With the choice of stopping them, he would have to side with Palpatine and overthrow the Jedi.

“Anakin, however, is not looking at the fate of the universe.  His motivation is for himself, not even really for the fate of his wife, as she seems accepting of the way of life she is given,” Sahaydak said.

Anakin is very ambitious to seek power once he finds what he is truly capable of; this makes him selfish in his goals and motives, which gives him the villain title. 

Young Skywalker was the padawan of Master Obi-Wan, who was a great follower of the Jedi Council and their orders. This could explain the reason Anakin vowed always to be greater than all–because he was constantly faced with following orders.

Medicinenet.com reported, “Teenagers want to have a considerable say in their lives and take authority over their actions. When parents force decisions, teenagers tend to lash out and defy their parents.”

In this scenario, the “parent” would be Obi-Wan. Anakin was forced to serve under the Jedi council with the constant companionship of his master Obi-Wan, and when the time came when Anakin felt he was powerful enough to complete missions on his own, and so he saw denial as a result.

“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being,” Albert Camus wrote in “The Rebel.”

The course taught at Fleetwood Area High School by Mr. Zachary Houp called Science Fiction dives more into the concept of Anakin’s rebellion and path to becoming Darth Vader, as well as philosophical concepts in the franchise.

Posted in: Owen Williams