December 13, 2018
You Don’t Know the Power of The Dark Side
Monsters are real whether you believe it or not. From the mythical creatures that gave us nightmares in the middle of the night to the surreal horrific people who commit acts of terror also makes them a monster itself. But the question is; what were the events that caused a person to become a monster in the end. There could be many psychological causes of how a monster came to be and their intentions behind it. For this essay, I will focus on the Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker, who fell into the path of evil and ultimately became a monster himself. Anakin Skywalker was a Jedi knight of the Galactic Republic and the chosen one of the force as said in the prophecy. As a Jedi, he reached extraordinary heights, excelling other Jedi and reaching many accomplishments at his age. As the chosen one of the force, Anakin was supposed to bring balance to the force and destroy the Sith. Anakin did eventually bring the prophecy into fruition, but at the cost of his own emotions, sanity, and a troubled past. I believed that Anakin suffered 3 major causes that molded him to become the monster that we know today as Darth Vader. The necessary cause of how Anakin became a monster was the close attachment to his mother and Padme. Another reasonable cause is that he wanted to save the ones he loved. Another cause was that Anakin was always driven by emotion as he was never able to critically think on any situation, he was in. Another contributing factor of him turning into a monster was his ego. He thought that he was the best and believed that he was ready to receive the title of “master” but was denied. All of these specific causes were stepping stones turning him into the most feared Sith lord in the entire galaxy.
To Get an idea of why Anakin became a monster, we have to trace back to the early moments of his childhood. Anakin was born to Shmi Skywalker, a slave on Tatooine who was owned by a junk dealer named Watto. In the movie, The Phantom Menace, we see a young Anakin skywalker closely attached to his mother. They seemed to form a very close bond within each other as they endured many days of hardship and doubtfulness as slaves. As the dad was never mentioned in the series, it is clear that Shmi Skywalker is the mother and father figure to the young skywalker. When Anakin was freed from Watto, he had to face reality when he couldn’t bring his mother to him. This brought a lot of emotional resentment within himself as he promised her that he would come back and free Shmi. “Previous researchers have conceptualized the association between emotion regulation and attachment from a unidirectional perspective, that is, either that children’s emotion regulation predicts the quality of their attachment to their parents, or that attachment security predicts the development of children’s emotion regulation” (see, e.g., Cassidy, 1988; Kiel & Kalomiris, 2015). Meaning that, even though Anakin and Shmi were living under harsh conditions, Anakin’s emotions and sense of security has come from his attachment to Shmi. Another form of attachment that we see is Anakin’s undying love for Padme. Anakin and Padme were forbidden to fall in love because it was not allowed in the Jedi council. As for Padme, she was queen of Naboo and it would only complicate matters and threaten her status of Queen if the politicians find out. But they both decide to rebel against the rules and get married in secret. We first see Anakin’s Attachment to Padme on Episode 2, Attack of the clones. Anakin still had unresolved feelings for Padme before meeting her again. This was the first sign of attachment as he started to grow overzealous for her throughout the film. Anakin not having a mother figure in his life, grew a strong attachment towards Padme. He needed to feel loved, feel safe and secure as he felt this way towards Padme as said in this quote: “Adult attachment theory provides an interesting framework for studying interpersonal and sexual dynamics of romantic partners (Hazan & Shaver, 1987; Mikulincer & Shaver, 2016).The theory originates from previous work by Bowlby (1982) as well as Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, and Wall (1978), who studied young children’s emotional attachments to their caregivers. Their findings indicate that early attachment relationships are at the heart of a person’s internal working models or schemas of self and relationship partners, which impact feelings and behaviors within close relationships all the way through adulthood (Cassidy & Shaver, 2016). Brennan, Clark, and Shaver (1998) described individual differences in adult attachment according to two relatively independent dimensions of attachment insecurity: anxiety and avoidance.” (Audrey, 235). With 2 meaningful people in Anakin’s life. There close attachment to them ties in to the next cause of why he Became Darth Vader.
With Padme and Shmi closely attached to Anakin, he develops the need to save both of them. When a loved one is suffering, the first instinct that we would do is seek help in any way we can so they wouldn’t be hurting anymore. Anakin’s Ploy was to save the ones he loved from dying. In this case, Anakin went back to Tatooine to search for his mother. When he had found her, Shmi had been tortured and was left to die. Anakin came in the just of time only to witness her mother dying in her hands. In Cohen’s monster culture, Theses I: The Monster’s Body is a Cultural Body. “The monster is born only at this metaphoric crossroads, as an embodiment of a certain cultural moment-of a time, a feeling, and a place. The monster’s body quite literally incorporates fear, desire, anxiety, fantasy (ataractic or incendiary), giving them life and an uncanny independence. (Cohen, 4). Witnessing the death of his mother in his own hands, we start to see a different side of Anakin who incorporated fear. Fear grew within inside him and acted irrationally. As Yoda said “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” (Yoda). In Padme’s Case Anakin was witnessing visions in his dreams of Padme dying at childbirth. The fear was starting to grow within inside him again, he would do anything it takes to save Padme from death. Also caught in the middle with tensions between the Jedi council and Chancellor Palpatine, Anakin was caught in the middle of matters which was not helping his own internal problems. Temptation and curiosity sparked Anakin as Chancellor Palpatine told him an old parable about a Sith who could save people from dying. Reluctant enough it was at the point where Chancellor Palpatine was able to manipulate Anakin and twist his mind into become the very thing he swore to destroy. His new name Darth Vader, a monster born within himself used hatred to guide him. He had turned against the Jedi order and committed a mass Jedi murder making him one of the most feared man in the galaxy. The only person left to stop him from his rampage was Padme herself. She pleaded to him to stop and turn back to her. He was no longer Anakin Skywalker, his mind was consumed with hate and lust for power. Ironically in the end, Darth Vader tried everything he could to save Padme from death, but she has lost the will to live knowing that Anakin and life will never be the same again. She died giving birth to twins, Luke and Leia and Anakin was left heartbroken and more machine than man.
Works Cited Page
- AHMETOGLU, EMINE, et al. “Children’s Emotion Regulation and Attachment to Parents: Parental Emotion Socialization as a Moderator.” Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, vol. 46, no. 6, July 2018, pp. 969–983. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2224/sbp.6795.
- Brassard, Audrey, et al. “Oversexualization among Emerging Adults: Preliminary Associations with Romantic Attachment and Intimacy.” Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, vol. 27, no. 3, Dec. 2018, pp. 235–247. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3138/cjhs.2017-0031
- Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Monster Theory: Reading Culture. University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
- Star Wars Episode I Phantom Menace https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120915/?ref_=nv_sr_2
- Star wars II Attack of the Clones https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0121765/?ref_=nv_sr_1
- Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0121766/?ref_=nv_sr_2