Study Guide

Star Wars: A New Hope Good vs. Evil

Good vs. Evil

Star Wars built its tale on a classic good versus evil theme. The bad guys are cold-hearted villains, the good guys are ragtag but good-natured heroes, and the only quality they have in common is that they enjoy shooting lasers at each other.

True, the sequels will muddy the waters by introducing Darth Vader's true backstory and showing Luke tempted by the Dark Side of the Force, but in this original entry, you can root for good guys, cheer when the bad guys are dealt defeat, and not have to consider any moral shading. It is pure escapism.

Questions About Good vs. Evil

  1. Would you say Star Wars's approach to the concepts of good and evil is simplistic or complicated? Why? Also, what are the advantages and disadvantages to such an approach?
  2. Do you think any characters exist somewhere between good and evil? If so who, and how does that affect your reading of the film? If not, then why is this important to the theme?
  3. In the original Star Wars cut, Han Solo shoots Greedo first. In the Special Editions, Greedo shoots first and Han defends himself. Do you see this changing the good vs. evil dynamic in the film? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Although the film attempts to cater toward a universal idea of good versus evil, it ultimately relies on modern Western ideals of both concepts.

In Star Wars, killing is justified as long as it's done for good reasons. This is why Luke is seen as the hero of the film rather than Vader, despite both scoring similar kill counts by the film's conclusion.

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