Darth Vader Shows Us How Fear Can Corrupt
(Possible Spoilers throughout)
If there is one constant in Star Wars, there are always lessons to be learned. One of the biggest lessons taught revolves around the idea. In the franchise, fear is the first step on the path to the dark side. Succumbing to fear leaves you vulnerable to anger, hate and suffering. Fear consumes and pollutes the spirit, and no character knows this more than Darth Vader.
He may be the strongest Sith Lord seen in many years, but it’s his regrets when he was called Anakin Skywalker that fuels his every move. Before the fall of the Republic, Anakin was known to feel fear. From his first day at the temple to the moment he chooses to turn to the dark side, Anakin dealt with the struggles of fear. During the Clone Wars, the Jedi were forbidden to fall in love or develop attachments. Anakin threw away with that rule by marrying his love Padme Amidala. Their love was strong, but it was a secret that very few knew.
By Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin was at his most vulnerable due to a lingering premonition that he would lose his wife. The fear of losing her ultimately pushed him to the dark side, and before he knew it, he had lost everything. Anakin spent the majority of his adult life in a perpetual state of self-depreciation and regret. Anger ruled him, but unlike most other sith, the anger he felt was towards himself.
Darth Vader’s suit was more than a life support system. It was a prison. Vader felt caged within, and rather than a suit designed to keep him alive, it was more like a tomb of eternal suffering. Anakin learned of its consequences ten times over, perhaps more than anyone should have by giving in to fear. To a degree, it isn’t entirely his fault. The Jedi order during the later years of the Republic was fractured. Made to be soldiers in a war with no winners, they lost their way and bottled their feelings until the dark side could fully take over. Had the Jedi come to their senses and were more open to the ideas of love, maybe Anakin would have been free of his self-imposed hell.
As the countless books, comic books, video games and cartoons will show, Darth Vader was never content as a Sith. He felt that this was the bed he made, and he chose to lie in it as a punishment. The dark side was never in his heart, and the Emperor knew it. But Vader was strong, and his desire to live up until his last moment started as punishment and ended as redemption.
Anakin Skywalker was a hero of the Republic and a kind and noble Jedi. These qualities were never lost, just turned into their inverse. Rather than feeling safe, Vader allowed himself to be feared. To be seen as the monster that he felt he was because he had nothing else to lose. However, all of that changed when Luke showed up. He first sought to bring his son down with him, but Luke was too much like his father. Luke’s kindness and ability to know when not to fight ended up saving the tired Jedi from his suffering.
The smallest choices can leave the largest ripples in the world. Anakin became Darth Vader not out of greed but fear. Fear of losing someone he loved. While Vader did horrible things, he was still Anakin Skywalker at heart. Vader never stopped being that young boy on Tatooine. He turned to try and save someone he loved and but instead; he failed just as he failed to save his mother. Fear led him to his greatest mistake.
The point of all of this and today’s focus on Darth Vader is to remind everyone of the power that fear has on a person. Fear is not meant to be taken while lying down. It is meant to be overcome. Anakin turned to the dark side out of love but also out of fear. A Jedi is supposed to overcome fear and find a better solution. But Anakin’s moment of weakness cost him dearly, and he lived with it every day until his death. Fear is like cancer and if we don’t treat it, it will swallow us whole. While the story is tragic, it ends with a forgotten hero overcoming fear, forgiving himself and finding his family. If Darth Vader can overcome his fears to forgive himself, so can you.
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