ROTS & “Paradise Lost”

A reader passed along a link to this essay from a site called Clashing, “A Paradise Lost:  The Anatomy of a Fall.”  It focuses on Anakin’s fall in ROTS and compares it to John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”

Anakin as a representation of temptation also parallels Eve and Adam as Palpatine slithers into the role of the serpent. Eve is amazed by the serpent who speaks of their gifts being bestowed upon them by tasting the fruit from the tree of knowledge. The serpent further gains Eve’s trust by flattering her beauty.

Palpatine gains Anakin’s trust by constant flattery, encouraging him to take pride in his exceptional skills and convincing him that despite his youth he deserves a spot on the Jedi Council. When fear begins to take hold of Anakin, Palpatine offers his own fruit to the falling Jedi: salvation from death. Anakin’s pride and fear feed into each other as his pride and arrogance don’t allow him to concede to the possibility that he might not save Padme. When Eve goes to wander Paradise alone, Adam fears for her.

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3 Responses to “ROTS & “Paradise Lost””

  1. Hoggle Says:

    If one thinks of Anakin’s fear being the result of a Sith spell he unwittingly made himself susceptible to after the Palpatine rescue, then his dream, the first one of which is the most vague, is Anakin’s defense against it, giving him a warning of Sith influences at work on him if he doesnt wake up – which he doesn’t or able to follow any such notions.
    Afterwards, he is now troubled by it, but he’s still able to function without being obsessed by it initially, it isn’t till he starts having more and more (clearer or tormenting) visions of it that it becomes seemingly irrepressible to Anakin.

    I like looking at it this way as it ties into alot of dialogue of tMSB & RoTJ to me in what is being talked about in relation to the Vader & the power of the Dark Side. It helps make the dark side alot more trickery, & overall a more sympathetic tragedy to alot of the mythological themes tht can be the overall story telling.

    The conflab with Yoda in tESB, how to tell the diff between the good and the bad, then, can apply to how to tell the diff between what is a dream of the future, and what is a warning to your state of going ons.

    It’s a otentially deep aspect of the story telling that one could yabba on & on about, & go off all kind of potential tangents in possible hypothetical ramifications, & this is a part of the overall art in the PTs although i fear much shooting script stuff missed in cuts of AotCs & RotS, means alot of less keen 1-6 Star Wars fans, will not get to appreciate the nibbles of.

  2. Independent Radical Says:

    “Palpatine gains Anakin’s trust by constant flattery, encouraging him to take pride in his exceptional skills.”

    I think Palpatine’s flattery is about more than gaining Anakin’s trust. He’s also shaping his value system, causing him to believe that his power is what makes him valuable, so that his whole sense of self worth is dependent on him being powerful enough to save those he cares about. We definitely see this happening in Attack of the Clones with the way Anakin behaves after the death of his mother. He feels anxiety because he “wasn’t strong enough to save her”. His focus is on himself and his incapacities, not just on the loss of his mother. The sense of self worth that Palpatine built up in him is dependent on him being powerful, so it’s crushed when he fails to protect the ones he loved. People underestimate how much of a role Palpatine played in corrupting Anakin long before his actual turn to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith.

    • Tony Ferris Says:

      Very well said.

      I’ve nothing to add really, just thought your comment deserved a ‘very well said’. 🙂

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