Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jedi Lies: Episode VI

In the final film in the Star Wars Saga, Episode VI, we find some interesting information to help us answer the question, "Is lying against the Jedi code?"
  • Up until this point, Luke has been an honest character, telling no lies or not using deception at all. It is noteworthy then to see how he changes in this film. First, he appears to be very up front with Jabba but he is, in fact, planning to kill Jabba. I mean, what would he have done if Jabba had said, "Okay. You can have Solo." Would Luke then have said, "Oh, and I need the two droids back, one of which has my lightsaber, and the Wookie." Don't think so. Luke put himself in a position where the only avenue of escape was violence so his proposed negotiations were actually a sham.
  • Luke, in a message to Jabba, says, "I am Luke Skywalker, Jedi knight, and friend to Captain Solo." Why is he claiming to be a Jedi knight? When he talks to Yoda later he says, "Then I am a Jedi," as if he, himself, wasn't sure. But Yoda sets him right saying, "Oh! Not yet. One thing remains - Vader. You must confront Vader. Then, and only then, will a Jedi you be." So clearly when Luke claims to be a Jedi knight this claim is false. 
  • Luke's first use of the Jedi Mind Trick is against Bib Fortuna. Luke says, "You will take me to Jabba now," and, "You serve your master well," and, "And you will be rewarded," and, "I must be allowed to speak." The first is a command but the rest of these implanted thoughts are false. Clearly from Fortuna's opening remarks to Luke, Luke knows that Jabba has rejected his offer and doesn't want to see him. So when he forces Fortuna to bring him to Jabba he knows that he is NOT serving his master well and he will NOT be rewarded. 
  • Luke then tries the Jedi Mind Trick on Jabba, saying, "You will bring Captain Solo and the wookie to me." Luckily for Jabba he has the strength of mind to resist this Jedi trickery.
  • After rescuing Han, Luke makes good on the promise he made to Yoda in the previous film. He says, "I have a promise to keep... to an old friend." This once again demonstrates that the Jedi do, in fact, keep a sworn promise.
  • Yoda says to Luke, "That face you make - Look I so old to your young eyes?" To which Luke responds with a lie, "No, of course not." OF COURSE NOT!?! Yoda's 900 years old, extremely wrinkled, barely able to slowly walk around and he's coughing up a lung - of COURSE he looks old! It's a polite lie, but a lie nonetheless.
  • The ghostly Obi-Wan Kenobi says of Anakin, "When I first knew him, your father was already a great pilot." While there may be a seed of truth to this one, I would hardly call Ep. I Anakin a "great pilot." Let me see - he had never previously won a podrace, in fact failing to finish any prior races. When he gets into the cockpit of an actual spaceship he survives based on stupid luck. Hardly what I'd call a "great pilot." I would say, more accurately, that he had great POTENTIAL as a pilot.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi also says, "I thought that I could instruct him as well as Yoda. I was wrong." This is a curious statement. Does this mean that Yoda didn't teach Anakin as he did all other younglings? It's a little unclear to me but it's strongly implied in Ep. I that Obi-Wan takes Anakin has his apprentice right away, not at the typical age of 13. If this is the case, than Obi-Wan's statement above is true. If, in fact, Yoda did instruct Anakin with all the other younglings then this statement may be misleading at best.
  • Obi-Wan continues his old manipulations when he says to Luke, "Then the emperor has already won. You were our only hope." But Obi-Wan doesn't know that Yoda has finally told the truth on his deathbed. Obi-Wan is caught in his deception when he says, "Yoda spoke of another." The look on Obi-Wan's face in the moment of pause right after that line is priceless.
  • Luke is getting so used to deceit that he's telling others to lie as well! Luke says to C3PO, "3PO, tell them that if they don't do as you wish you'll become angry and use your magic." Clearly, C3PO has no magical ability and Luke's pulling a fast one on the Ewoks. I'm sure he makes Obi-Wan and Yoda proud every time he practices deception...
  • The final entry into this list comes secondhand. Luke doesn't say it directly, but the imperial officer that brings him to Vader at the end says of Luke, "This is the rebel that surrendered to us. Although he denies it, I believe there may be more of them..." Luke lies to protect his friends. It's understandable but still a lie.
So, our journey is complete, having gone through all seven films. What did we learn from this installment?
- Previously, Luke was completely truthful but it seems that once he considers himself a Jedi he's willing to lie and use deception.
- Luke kept his promises.

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