Sunday, June 05, 2005

Peace and Freedom in Episode Three

I recently saw Revenge of the Sith. It was fun. I appreciated how well the plots of Episode II and Episode IV were connected. I was slightly annoyed at how many times "rules of that setting" were broken, especially regarding a Jedi's speed, stamina, and danger sense. I smiled that the awkward dialog between Anakin and Padme now seemed reasonable since those two were supposed to be ill at ease with each other.

Most interesting to me was the contrast in that setting between two mindsets.

Some people (the Emperor, the Senate majority, and most importantly Anakin) valued peace as the primary virtue. Stopping the warfare was of ultimate importance. Sacrificing some freedoms was acceptable. With peace there would be more advances in society and quality of life, especially in prolonging life.

Other people (Padme, the jedi, and their allies in the Senate) valued freedom as the primary virtue. They recognized that if you gave people freedom there would inevitably be disagreements and conflict, and sometimes war. Stopping the war was important, but not so important as to warrant loss of freedoms. With freedom there would be more meaning to society, especially since only freedom allows loss and tragedy to be meaningful.

The Emporer was clearly evil, yet he did not lie and betray more than was minimally necessary to accomplish his noble ends. The Rebels were less clearly good, since they sought to preserve a stability that no longer existed. Killing a general would put an unquestionably end to a war. Absolutes are dangerous, even though only the good guys believe they exist.

And, as a whole, the six episodes no longer focus on Rebel vs. Empire or Jedi vs. Evil. The tale is now Anakin's Story, and the end of Episode VI is substantially different when the party on Endor's Moon is visited by a small group of happily paternal ghosts from which Padme is conspicuously absent. Sorry, dear, but you didn't have enough mitochloreans.

(p.s. - According to the Ultimate Star Wars Personality Test I'm Wicket the Ewock.)