Study Guide

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Redemption

Redemption

LUKE: Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father.
OBI-WAN: Your father was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So, what I told you was true, from a certain point of view.

The way Obi-Wan sees it, Anakin is long dead. Uh, so good luck with that whole redemption thing, Luke.

OBI-WAN: Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. Anakin was a good friend. When I first knew him, your father was already a great pilot, but I was amazed how strongly the Force was with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought that I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.
LUKE: There is still good in him.
OBI-WAN: He's more machine now than man. Twisted and evil.
LUKE: I can't do it, Ben.
OBI-WAN: You cannot escape your destiny. You must face Darth Vader again.
LUKE: I can't kill my own father.

Obi-Wan sounds pretty pessimistic here, doesn't he? He believes that it's Luke's destiny to take down Vader, and he thinks it's going to be mega-difficult. Meanwhile, Luke knows his true destiny is to whup up on his daddy with the redemption stick—if you'll pardon the expression.

LEIA: But why must you confront him?
LUKE: Because, there is good in him. I've felt it. He won't turn me over to the Emperor. I can save him. I can turn him back to the good side. I have to try.

Does anybody share Luke's faith in his dad? Here, Leia suggests leaving Papa Skywalker alone, and letting somebody else get his or her hands dirty. That's pretty understandable when you think about it, though. Leia's only known Darth Vader is her dad for about a minute, so it makes sense that her connection to him isn't as tight.

DARTH VADER: The Emperor has been expecting you.
LUKE: I know, father.
DARTH VADER: So, you have accepted the truth?
LUKE: I have accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father.
DARTH VADER: That name no longer has any meaning for me!
LUKE: It is the name of your true self; you've only forgotten. I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully. That was why you couldn't destroy me. That's why you won't bring me to your Emperor now.

Given that Darth Vader delivers Luke to the Emperor right after this, it looks like the joke's on Luke at this point. Still, Luke keeps the faith.

LUKE: Search your feelings, Father, you can't do this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.
DARTH VADER: It is too late for me, son. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your master now.
LUKE: Then my father is truly dead.

Is Luke engaging in a little reverse psychology here? He's practically daring Anakin to ditch the mask and man up.

DARTH VADER: His light saber.
THE EMPEROR: Ah, yes. A Jedi's weapon, much like your father's. By now you must know that your father can never be turned from the Dark Side. So will it be with you.

Given all that they have in common—their Jedi training with Obi-Wan, their robotic right hands, their love of wearing all black—part of Luke's motivation to save Anakin is to save himself. If it's Luke's fate to end up like his dad, he wants his dad's story to have a happy ending.

DARTH VADER: Now, go, my son. Leave me.
LUKE: No, you're coming with me. I'll not leave you here. I've got to save you.
DARTH VADER: You already have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me. Tell your sister you were right.

Even though he's about to kick the bucket, Anakin feels that he's already been saved by Luke's faith in him. The fact that Luke can forgive him for all of the truly heinous, deplorable, downright nasty stuff he's done is the definition of redemption.

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