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  • Kay Fletcher

The Dark Side 11/06/2014

We are watching ‘Star Wars Return of The Jedi’. I have seen the other two films and realise I am feeling sympathetic towards Darth Vader. I am watching the Emperor goad Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, exploit their temper – go on he seems to be saying, lose your temper, give in to it, act upon it, feel the dark side, join the dark side, become one with the dark side – your dark side.

I am also hooked by the father and son aspect to it, parent and child; how do those roles define the characters, and my reaction to them I wonder? I watch Luke’s will to restrain his temper, to not give in to it, to not be ruled by it – to realise why he is crying, who he is crying about, and what will happen if he acts in anger. I realise I am waiting with baited breath – will Luke’s father save him, is there good still in Darth Vader? What is stronger than this dark side, his dark side – love, an emotional connection? Yet this hasn’t been the case with his friend and father figure Obi Wan Kenobi, rage and jealousy prevailed; but for Luke, for his son? Luke cries to him saying ‘father’ – Darth Vader has said Anakin Skywalker is a name that is ‘dead’ to him, yet father, this name is new to him.

Father does save son, yet poignantly it really is the son who saves the father, the son who has believed in the father, and never lost hope. I had desperately wanted Darth Vader to step in, could not believe it was taking him so long … to do what? What I wondered, had I wanted, or needed? I had wanted hope to win, to be proved right, to be rewarded; and a father to love his child. I had recognised the Dark Side, the concept of it had resonated with me and so I was sympathetic to Darth Vader. He had battled with his dark side, but others had recognised it and manipulated it and so him. In the end he had let his anger and jealousy speak for him and he acted from them.

Do we all have a Dark Side then, is that what spoke to me? One that is individual and unique to each of us? As Kelly Clarkson sings “Everybody’s got a dark side … do you love me, even with my dark side?” What about my Dark Side? What had I recognised? I was drawn to Luke’s sense of hope, was I also hoping that my own Dark Side would not win; did I recognise that if Luke gave in to his temper, acted in anger, he would no longer have a dialogue with his Dark Side but instead be consumed by it. And of course for me that feels like the real Dark Side – all balance gone. Did I also hope that my own father figure would have rescued me? After all it’s a family connection – their Dark Side. Certainly something of the Skywalkers’ Dark Side felt known to me. Maybe I finally acknowledged the continuous dialogue I have with it in my own life as I strive to keep a balance; the experiences of being overwhelmed by it that have repercussions and consequences not just for me but for those around me. Those I love.

Maybe this acknowledgement means a Dark Side becomes something less hidden, at least to ourselves, and we can work on it. A work in progress may seem less of a burden, giving us back a sense of perspective. A Dark Side less about being bad or wrong then, and more about what we do with it, what we bring forth, or ‘force!’, from it.

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