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Monday, August 30, 2010

The Pivotal Scene

I watched "The Empire Strikes Back" today. I have seen this film several times in my life; I wouldn't know how to put a number on it. Tonight, as I watched the battle between Luke and Vader I had an emotional reaction to a portion of their conversation:

Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.

Luke: He told me enough--he told me YOU killed him!

Vader: No, I am your father.

What struck me is the emotion of both men in this small piece of dialogue.

Let's look at Luke first:

Here is an orphan that has been raised by aunt and uncle (who were killed by the Empire). Luke and his uncle--based on the previous film--had a difficult relationship. Owen was hard, or appeared to be hard on Luke, probably for two reasons: 1) Luke would have been a wanted individual. If the Empire ever got wind that Anakin's son was on Tatooine they would have come for him. 2) Luke was Anakin's son; Owen knew how Anakin turned out. Therefore, Owen didn't want Luke becoming anything like his father.

Growing up, I'm sure this distanced Luke from Owen and built his own father up in his mind. "My Dad would never treat me this way," Owen probably heard Luke say a billion times. Whether he was a pilot on a freighter or a Jedi Knight, I'm sure in Luke's developing mind he was the ideal father. When Obi-Wan told Luke that Vader killed this idealized man it had to effect the farmboy. I'm sure part of Luke's resolved to become a Jedi and join the rebellion was to honor the memory of his father (and possibly revenge).

Now for Vader:

How would he feel when he heard Luke say: "He told me enough--he told YOU killed him!"

That's how Obi-Wan felt? Anakin was dead to him and Vader was the murderer? Certainly it wouldn't have effected him as much as it would have twenty-three years earlier, but it was the last sting Kenobi would give Vader and something I'm sure he thought about later in his mediation chamber. Perhaps it was partially what brought Anakin back from the Dark Side?


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