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Revenge of Anakin
Why Trust Was Pivotal in Anakin Skywalker’s Betrayal

By Kat
Staff Writer

June 09, 2005

Nearly thirty years after the release of the first Star Wars film, the May 2005 release of Revenge of the Sith marks the completion of the epic six-part Star Wars saga. In the film, the protagonist, Anakin Skywalker, falls to the dark side and aligns himself with the evil individual and corrupt government he had vowed to fight. He exacts his revenge on the Jedi Order, which he feels betrayed him. After his tragic fall from grace, Skywalker adopts a new name, Darth Vader, which better reflects his new dark persona.

From the beginning, Anakin Skywalker was believed to be the Chosen One, a Christ figure of sorts in the galaxy far, far away. So what went wrong? How did a man with such good intentions become so corrupted and evil? One of the major influences was trust. Humans need to trust other humans. They must have some kind of a support system that, no matter what, comforts them and cares about them, because humans are socially dependent beings. Many people find this support in their family and their friends.

Anakin’s support system was his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the Jedi Order. The problem was that from the beginning, neither knew exactly how to deal with him. Everybody knew that he was different. He was skilled, quick, and perhaps one of the most powerful Jedi that had ever lived. But the Jedi treated him the same as everybody else, and he became impatient. His impatience and arrogance made the Jedi even more cautious around him and they never truly trusted him, and Anakin knew it.

His trust and faith in the Jedi - his family - slowly crumbled day by day as his faith in Chancellor Palpatine, the leader of the Republic, strengthened. Palpatine was always upfront with Anakin. There was no cloak and dagger scheme with him. When the time is right, Palpatine fatefully revealed to Anakin that he is the Sith Lord, the cancer and corruption eating away at the democratic government. The cancer and corruption that Anakin and the other Jedi asserted to extinguish.

Upon hearing the news, initially Anakin recoils, pulling out his lightsaber, and threatening to kill Palpatine. Palpatine does not seem bothered, and tells Anakin that he should do what he feels is right. The Chancellor has so much faith in Anakin that he is putting his own life on the line. Anakin had never found this kind of devotion and trust from the Jedi. Anakin restrains himself. He does not kill Palpatine.

His face vividly reflects his internal conflict. The lines between light and dark, and good and evil begin to blur right before his eyes. Nevertheless, looking pale and unwell, Anakin dutifully reports his disturbing findings to the Jedi. Immediately, the Jedi send a team to investigate and arrest Palpatine. Anakin is ordered to remain behind. Again, the Jedi fail to trust Anakin. This lack of trust finally drives Anakin to the breaking point, and leads him to assist Palpatine in killing the final surviving member of the Jedi team that had been sent to arrest Palpatine.

Anakin pledges his loyalty to the Sith Lord Palpatine, the man who had trusted him all along when the Jedi had not. Anakin helps Palpatine hunt down and destroy nearly all of the Jedi. He betrays his Jedi family because they did not trust him.

Trust is the very foundation upon which a family is built. Mutual trust promotes security and stability. Without trust, there is insecurity. Insecurity results in fear, and the wise green Jedi Master Yoda aptly put it, "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering." Corruption is a vicious cycle that cannot easily be escaped; a cycle that Anakin had fallen victim to in Revenge of the Sith because the Jedi did not trust him.

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