Study Guide

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Hate

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It's taking a lot of restraint not to lead off with some lame "I am your father" joke, so let's just get started—in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is locked in a no-holds-barred battle with his own hatred and anger.

After the events of the previous film, in which the evil Darth Vader killed his mentor Obi-Wan and murdered his adopted family (that's rude, pal), Luke is understandably eager for revenge. Who wouldn't be? As he begins his training as a Jedi Knight, however, our young Padawan comes to learn that his hatred might be his undoing. Even worse, it could take him down the same path as a certain helmet-clad villain—the path to the dark side.

Questions About Hate

  1. What's the relationship between hatred and the dark side?
  2. What does the cave scene symbolize about Luke's hatred towards Vader?
  3. How is Luke's hatred towards Vader represented visually in their final lightsaber duel?
  4. Does Luke's hatred of Vader change after he learns that he is his father? If so, in what way?

Chew on This

The image of Luke's decapitated head beneath Vader's helmet in the cave on Dagobah symbolizes how Luke's hatred of Vader makes him susceptible to the dark side in the same way that Vader had been.

The cave scene shows us that Luke has already started falling victim to the dark side, as he is allowing his fear and hatred to guide his actions.

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