In more rational decisions, only using his

conclusion, the Jungian theory is very present in Star Wars. It describes the
struggle the main character goes through and also the path to victory. It can
therefore be concluded that the archetypes play a significant role in modern
stories, since they can be found in other modern stories as well, such as Lord
of the Rings and Harry Potter. No wonder that Jung is the founder of analytical

In the
sixth movie, ‘Return of the Jedi,’ Luke has successfully faced his Shadow and
has become a true Jedi Knight. Luke makes much more rational decisions, only
using his light saber in absolute need. For instance, when his friend Han Solo
is captured by Jabba the Hut, Luke first attempts to bargain with Jabba, only
resorting to his light saber when Jabba does not want to release Han. At the
end of the movie, Luke has to face Darth Vader again to end the reign of the
Empire. This time, Luke wins the battle against Darth Vader, but chooses not to
kill him, which would mean giving in to his Shadow. When Emperor Palpatine
starts shocking Luke, Darth Vader is reminded of his own Shadow and the
manifestiation of his Shadow; Darth Sidious. Vader rips Emperor Palpatine off
the ground and throws him into a chasm, saving Luke. Because both faced their
Shadows, they were able to defeat the Sith and free the galaxy from the
Empire’s reign.

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Unlike his
father, Luke Skywalker does not have a lot of emotional attachments. For Luke,
everything is much clearer; there is no republic which requires absolute
loyalty and the Empire is clearly the Dark Side, which has to be opposed. In
other words, Luke has far less external factors which can lead to the takeover
of his Shadow, but that does not mean that he is free of struggle. Luke also
begins to form attachments, especially to Leia, Han Solo and his mentor
Obi-Wan. Much like his father, Luke is reckless and impulsive. In the fifth
movie, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, Luke is being trained by Yoda, the former
leader of the Jedi Order. After Obi-Wan’s death, Luke is assigned to find Yoda
in order to become a real Jedi, not just a light saber fighter. Unfortunately,
the training does not go as expected. Yoda finds Luke much too impatient. After
having spoken with Obi-Wan’s spirit, Yoda realizes that Luke needs to encounter
his shadow to progress, in this case a physical manifestation of his Shadow.
Luke was raised without any knowledge of his family. He does not know that his
current enemy, Darth Vader, is his biological father and that his newfound
friend, Leia, is his sister. Yoda therefore sends him to a cave filled with the
force, in which he encounters a manifestation of his Shadow, a mimic of Darth
Vader. But when Luke decapitates the mimic, the cracked helmet shows his own
face, depicting his shadow from the inside. Yoda was hoping that this encounter
would teach Luke to come to terms with his own shadow, but it did not. When
Luke later faces the real Darth Vader, he is almost completely under the
control of his Shadow, just like his father was when fighting Obi-Wan. He uses
his emotions and anger to fight Darth Vader, but loses the battle. Vader cuts
of his hand and reveals himself to be Luke’s father. Unlike Anakin, Luke now
comes to terms with his shadow. He realizes that he cannot fight Vader and that
there is nothing he can do about the fact that Vader is his father. Unlike
Anakin, Luke does not get lured in by the Dark Side.

Even though
Padmé has died and Anakin has been replaced by his shadow Darth Vader, their
two children are still alive. After the fall of the republic, which happened
because Palpatine executed almost the entire Jedi order, Obi Wan brought
Anakin’s daughter Leia to planet Alderaan and left her to be raised by the
queen and prince of the planet. The son, Luke, was raised on Tatooine, the home
planet of Anakin Skywalker.

Little does
Anakin know, the Chancellor is actually Darth Sidious, the most powerful Sith
Lord. Anakin is therefore being controlled by his own shadow and Darth Sidious
as the external force of the shadow. Sidious, still disguised as Palpatine,
tells Anakin that he knows of a way to save Padmé, whom, according to Anakin’s
dreams, will die during childbirth. This is when Anakin starts to shift to the
dark side; all he wants is to be in control, which means saving Padmé. When
Palpatine reveals himself, Anakin does not leave his side and becomes a Sith
Lord. He joins Palpatine on his mission to destroy the republic. However, in
Anakin’s mind he is bringing ‘peace and justice to the galaxy’. He is now
consumed by his shadow and is unable to see it, and therefore projects it on
everyone else. When Padmé follows him to the planet Mustafar to get him to tell
the truth, Anakin thinks she has turned against him and has brought Obi-Wan to
kill him. He starts strangling her and only lets her go when Obi-Wan appears.
Instantly Anakin projects his shadow onto Obi-Wan and starts to fight him. In
the end, Obi-Wan wins as Anakin burns in a pool of lava. Having suffered severe
physical and emotional damage, Padmé gives up and dies during childbirth, the
one thing Anakin wanted to prevent. Ironically, while trying to escape fate,
Anakin ends up being the agent of Padmé’s fate.

In the third
movie, ‘Revenge of the Sith,’ Anakin is no longer just a student of Obi-Wan,
but a Jedi Knight. Now that Anakin is older, his loyalty is even more divided.
He is secretly married to Padmé and puts her above the order. He has also
started to get nightmares about losing her, which are similar to the nightmares
he had about his mother. Not only is Anakin strongly attached to Padmé, he is
also the representative of Chancellor Palpatine. To make matters worse, the
Chancellor and the Jedi Council are not on good terms, which is why the Council
asks Anakin to spy on Chancellor Palpatine. This causes Anakin to become even
more divided; Palpatine is one of the few who encourages Anakin to become
stronger instead of criticizing him. Anakin feels as if the Chancellor is the
only one who understands him.

Even though
Anakin has now recognized his shadow instead of denying it, he is far from
taking responsibility for his flaw; Anakin still won’t admit he is in need of
help. His desire to be in control of everything and to ‘fix’ everything
prevents him from learning from his mistakes. According to Carl Jung ‘one has
to admit that there are problems which one simply cannot solve on one’s own
resources’. Therefore Anakin has to accept that he cannot always be in control
of everything. Some things cannot be fixed.   

After a
while, Anakin’s shadow even starts to take over his consciousness. According to
the theory of Jung, when one’s shadow is repressed long enough it will take
over the ego-conciousness. This happens to Anakin when he goes back home to
save his mother from the Tusken Raiders, thereby disobeying the Order. When he
discovers that his mother has been killed by the Tuskens, he becomes enraged
and kills all of the members of the tribe, even the children. After that he
flies back to the planet of the republic and the Jedi Order, Coruscant, and
speaks with Padmé. During his conversation Anakin once again projects his own
shadow onto Obi-Wan; he believes he is an all-powerful Jedi and Obi-Wan is just
jealous of him and is trying to hold him back. But after raging at Obi-Wan,
Anakin confesses to Padmé that he killed all of the Tuskens and tells her he
should be better than this.

Ten years
later, in the movie ‘Attack of the Clones’, Anakin starts a forbidden
relationship with Queen Padmé Amidala. He becomes more arrogant, aggressive and
impulsive, which are emotions suited to the Dark Side of the Force. The young
Jedi starts to project his shadow onto others, namely Master Obi-Wan, who
decided on training Anakin after Gui-Gon died. Anakin tells his lover Padmé
that Obi-wan refuses to listen to him and never gives him any tasks. In this
way, Anakin blames his unpredictability on the critical mindset of Obi-Wan and
does not face his own shadow.

Anakin Skywalker’s
journey starts in the movie ‘The Phantom Menace’. Anakin is a young and gifted
boy, who is also slightly overconfident. However, he is also very afraid of
losing people and losing control. This is why the Jedi Order first hesitated to
let him train to become a Jedi: Jedi must live an unattached live and must not
be led by their emotions. But when Master Gui-Gon died, the Jedi master who
introduced Anakin to the order, the Jedi order decided on training Anakin
anyway. During his training years, Anakin had to suppress his fear of loss and his
fear of losing control; he denied his Shadow, his biggest flaw. While the Order
encourages Jedi to remain unattached, Anakin does the exact opposite.

Because of
its importance it’s no wonder that Star Wars had made great use of the shadow
archetype. The two main heroes, Anakin and Luke Skywalker, both have to face
their shadows. In the universe of Star Wars the Dark Side of the Force
represents evil, and the Light Side represents good. The Force is an all
powerful energy that can be found everywhere and can be harnessed to do great
things. But the Force in itself is neutral, it’s all about the way the force is
used. While the Jedi, who use the Light Side, strip away their emotions and use
the force for justice and morality, the Sith Lords, the Dark Side users,
harness the force through their emotions and anger.

One of the
most important archetypes in the Jungian theory is the Shadow archetype; the
evil inside. The Shadow is part of one’s individual unconsciousness, it
represents the negative aspects of one’s personality. The Shadow is in fact a
manifestation of a person’s flaw. This archetype, or personality side, begins
to form during childhood, Once a child discovers morality and societal rules,
the child will try to separate its flaws from itself, creating the Shadow.
Since most people try to become their best selves, they will try to suppress
their Shadow, they don’t want the Shadow to be part of their personality.
According to Carl Jung, there are three ways people initially deal with their Shadow;
they try to repress it, to deny it or to project onto someone else. But in this
way people will never learn to live with their flaws. By keeping their Shadow unconscious,
people will start having feelings of shame and inferiority. Only when they
acknowledge their shadow will they be able to make moral decisions instead of
merely following societal morality. In fact, taking responsibility from the Shadow
is so important that without a conscious Shadow, one can’t recognize any other

Carl Jung is
known for his analytical psychology. He believed all people were connected by
their collective unconsciousness, which is populated by archetypes. Archetypes
are hidden forms and patterns which every human being experiences. Since they
are hidden, it is best to look at mythology and religion do deduce the
archetypes. In fact, mythology is full of them. Archetypes such as the
patriarch, the young man and the trickster can be found in the Greek gods Zeus,
Apollo and Hermes. But, can these archetypes also be deduced from moderns
stories, such as Star Wars? In this essay I will explore the impact of the
archetype the Shadow on the story of Star Wars.


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