The Oedipus Complex and Star Wars

The seminal works of director George Lucas, collectively known as "Star Wars", are often applauded as brilliant works of cinematic art, and are loved the world over for their compelling tale of good vs. evil. However, the central conflict of the story is not, as first appears, between the evil empire and the rebel alliance. To the well-honed analytical mind of a modern psychiatrist, it is clearly seen as a tale centred on the Oedipus complex, one of the bases of modern psychiatry, and the most important discovery of the brilliant scientist Sigmund Freud. In a moment of self-analytical revelation, he gave us the key to one of the greatest mysteries of the human mind; the development of our sexual life. Star Wars sheds new light on the complex, showing the tragic consequences of sexual abuse, and the conflicts and abnormalities that can arise when a child is brought up without a mother. The Oedipus complex occurs during the "Phallic" stage of sexual development, when a boy first discovers that his penis can be a source of sexual pleasure. In Lucas' work, the penis is clearly represented by the Light-saber used by many of the films' characters; most importantly to us, we should note that Luke Skywalker and his father, Darth Vader, use these weapons. Their phallic nature can be seen in their rod-like shape, and the manner in which they extend from a small, flaccid length into long, hard beams for use. Leia, Luke's sister, has no such weapon; being female, she has no penis, and her frustration can be clearly seen; at one point she tells Luke "You have a power I don't understand, and could never have". Much of the tragedy of the story can be traced to the unhappy childhood of Luke and Leia; with their mother dead, Luke has no focus for his sexual desires during the phallic stage of his development. Normally, he would be attracted to his mother, and this would lead him to fear his father's wrath on discovering his secret desire to steal his sexual partner. However, with his mother missing, Luke's desires have been focussed elsewhere, making his a deviant form of the Oedipus complex. His sexual desire is focussed on the other female in his family; Leia. It is obvious from Luke's satisfaction at the kiss he receives from his sister that he wants her; and more, the kiss is a clear sign that she not only wants him as well, but is acting on that desire. The two are, in fact, incestous lovers. Leia's apparent attraction to the clearly gay Han Solo is a mere sham, intended to hide her forbidden love for her brother. This forbidden love leads Luke to fear that his father will punish him by castrating him; this anxiety is normal for a boy in the thrall of the oedipus complex. However, Luke's deviancy and attraction to his sister add a new twist; Vader is, indeed, jealous of and enraged by Luke, and in a fit of rage castrates him, cutting Luke's saber-phallus from his hand. Luke, however, builds himself a new saber, and gains a prosthetic hand; this is possibly a metaphor for a John Wayne Bobbit-style penis extension. The provocative image of the severed hand also evokes another strong fear of the Phallic-stage male; that he will be caught masturbating, with his hand on his penis, and punished. But why is Vader so enraged? Luke's feelings for his sister may be deviant, but to castrate his son is a sick and violent act. Jealousy is the answer. Vader bears a sick and terrible love for his son; a sexual love. The "dark side" into which Vader tries to seduce Luke is no religion, but in fact a metaphor for the sexual abuse Vader inflicts on Luke. "Come with me. It is the only way", Vader tells his young and innocent son; cum with me is what he really means. But Luke resists; "I'll never join you!" he screams in defiance. "Join", of course, is an alternative term for the act of coitus or copulation. Luke resists his father's advances as best he can; however, when he finally drives him off, his father's attentions turn to his sister. "If you will not turn to the dark side, then perhaps she will", Vader tells him. In defiance, Luke attacks his father, cutting his saber-phallus and hand from his body to protect his sister. In the end then, the ultimate irony is that Luke, the son, castrates his father to protect his own lover. A strange reversal indeed of the classic version of the Oedipus complex. in Chapter 2; Han and the Wookiee; Homosexual love and Impotence.

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