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Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope

A breakdown of characters, symbols, archetypes, irony, and the theme in Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope

Hrag Kurdoghlian

on 13 October 2014

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Transcript of Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope

The Tower
Luke Skywalker
Ben(Obi-Wan) Kenobi
Princess Leia
Han Solo
Ben Kenobi was a Jedi master and is very wise and very mature. He also plays the role of Luke Skywalker's mentor. The mentor is an individual who teaches the hero the skills needed to successfully complete his or her quest. Obi Wan trains Luke and takes care of him, teaching him how to use the "Force", a universal energy. Ben Kenobi's wisdom becomes known when he is stuck in a situation and finds a quick solution. For example, in the beginning of the story, Ben uses the force against storm troopers and tricks them into letting Luke pass and go to the bar. Obi Wan is also a martyr in
Star Wars: Episode 4
. Towards the end of the movie he risks his life to allow the rest of the crew to escape from the death star. He then becomes the supernatural aid, talking to Luke and guiding him. He always reassures Luke and builds up his confidence by saying things such as "May the Force be with you", "Do it Luke" and "Trust the Force".

Luke Skywalker is a teenager who lives with his uncle and aunt on a small farm. His father is missing and presumably dead. Luke is the archetypal "hero" in the
Star Wars
series, and embarks on a journey to save Princess Leia after discovering an urgent message from her, hidden in a droid. He is characterized as brave, courageous, righteous, and quick to forming solutions.
Luke's bravery and courage is shown when he forms plans to rescue Princess Leia from the prison in the Death Star, a planet-sized space station. He also joins the rebel alliance with little fighting experience. He is also quick to forming solutions, demonstrated in on scene in which Luke saves Leia and himself from Storm Troopers by using a grappling hook to swing across a chasm. His righteousness is shown by his will to save Princess Leia and the universe without any direct gain. He is also a character foil for Han Solo, displaying the opposite set of characteristics compared to him.
Han Solo is a cargo pilot for the "Millennium Falcon", a space ship. He is very arrogant, prideful, and is clearly driven by monetary wealth alone. In
Star Wars: Episode 4
, Han is hired by Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi to transport them to Princess Leia's home planet, Alderaan, charging them 17,000 for it. Upon arrival to the planet, they are pulled aboard the Death Star by a tractor beam. When Luke reveals their true motives of helping bring peace to the galaxy, Han wants no part in the quest. Yet, when Luke informs him about a possible reward for the rescue of Princess Leia, his interest in the operation increases and he tags along. His arrogance is evident in the way he fights. Han Solo prefers to do things alone, and independently fights off Storm Troopers. Han also believes that he can easily ward them off, surprised by Princess Leia's competence.
Although Han displays these characteristics, he is a dynamic character, undergoing a change in character at the end of the story. He retains his arrogance, but his greed begins to disappear. In the final scenes of the movie, Han returns to help aid the Rebel Alliance after specifically announcing he would not waste his life and assist them without any monetary gain.
Princess Leia can be characterized as a very clever girl. She also plays the roles of as the damsel in distress and women as a temptress. The damsel in distress is a character archetype of a female stuck in a situation, awaiting rescue. She has been held captive by the Galactic Empire. She saves recordings of herself and puts it in her droid R2-D2; This is how Luke Skywalker, and Obi Wan become aware that they need to save her. They later invade the Death Star and rescue her. As they make their escape out of the Death Star. We see that she is tougher than we think. She grabs a gun and starts shooting storm troopers aggressively. She also refused to say where the Rebel base is even after they destroyed her Home world. She is the women as a temptress because she provides a reason for Han and Luke to rescue her, as both of them are seduced by her.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
. Screenplay & Dir. George Lucas.
Lucasfilm & Twentieth Century Fox, 1977. Film.
Hrag Kurdoghlian
John Tabakian

Darth Vader
Darth Vader is a former Jedi, but turned to the "dark side". He is characterized as very evil, relentless, and clever, fulfilling the role of the devil figure, an individual who is the main antagonist of the story. He is the leader of the Galactic Empire and wants to expand his control of the universe. He has a planet-sized space station build, known as the Death Star, and to aid his conquest. As the main antagonist, Darth Vader threatens to destroy the Rebel Alliance and every planet involved with it. He even kills Obi Wan Kenobi, the climax of
Episode 4
. He is relentless in his interrogation of Princess Leia, refusing to show the slightest bit of mercy. He is also clever, shown in his plans and strategies, as well as through his idea to combat the Rebel Starfighters himself.
Magic Weapon
The Castle
Good Vs. Evil
The Scapegoat
The Tower
The tower in a story is a place where the evil force resides. In Star Wars: Episode 4, the tower is the Death Star, a huge station the size of a planet. The Death Star is capable of destroying a planet, it holds many storm troopers, Galactic Empire generals, and Darth Vader. As these people represent the evil in the story, the Death Star fits the tower archetype.
The archetypal castle is a location of strength and defense, usually being a place of good. In the film, the castle is represented by the Rebel Alliance base. The base houses many Starfighters, hundreds of rebel soldiers, and a massive armory. As it is heavily defended and where the good side is found, the Rebel base fits this archetype.
The Scapegoat is an individual or thing that is sacrificed for the greater good of others. In the Star Wars series, Ben Kenobi fits this archetype. In the final scenes of the movie, he is caught in intense battle with Darth Vader. He is evenly matched, but he decides to sacrifice himself so that his party can leave as soon as possible.
The colors of the characters sabers say a lot about them. The blue sabers symbolize the good and the red symbolize the bad. Red symbolizes death and evil, while blue symbolizes loyalty and good. Also Darth Vader's costume is black, black symbolizes death and evil.
In the movie
Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope
, the main theme of the story, good will always prevail against evil, is made evident through characters, events, and the Force.

The characters that aid in the derivation of the theme are Luke Skywalker, Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader. Ben Kenobi, a jedi master, is Luke Skywalker's mentor and a large symbol for good. Oppositely, Darth Vader is the Supreme Commander for the Galactic Empire. He is the devil figure in this movie, making him the main symbol of evil. At the climax of the story, Ben is engaged in a battle with Darth Vader. This fights scene is a symbol for how good and evil will clash. Further paving the way for the theme, Luke Skywalker, the hero of this saga, is the most recognizable symbol of good in
Star Wars.
In the final scenes of the film, Luke single-handedly, destroys the Death Star, a massive space station that acts as the evil fortress in the story. The destruction of the Death Star and the fight between Ben and Vader are two examples of the triumph of good over evil.

The Force also plays a major role in helping one discover the theme of the movie. The Force is described as a invisible and omnipresent energy that can be harnessed by people trained to use it. The Force has both a good and dark side. The good side of the Force is responsible for growth and all things good in the universe. However, the dark side nurtures anger and aggression. These two clashing sides are analogous to the struggle between good and evil. However, in the end the good side of the Force, controlled by Luke, wins and holds back the dark side; This further supports the theme as good is prevailing over evil.
Good vs evil archetype is a dispute between good and evil forces. In the movie
Star Wars: Episode 4
, we see the Galactic Empire, who are the evil, clash with the Rebel Army, who are the good. In most stories, the good prevails, in this movie the good prevail and complete their mission successfully; which was to save Princess Leia and destroy the Death Star.
The magic weapon archetype is a special weapon or technology used to defeat evil or help identify the main character. In this movie, the magic weapon is the force, a universal energy that can be harnessed. It is used by Obi Wan and Luke Skywalker, as well as Darth Vader. The force provides Luke with the ability to defeat the evil. Using it, he gets a perfect shot into the reactor of the Death Star and destroys it, saving the universe.
The Ritual
The Quest
Death and Rebirth
The Hero's Journey
Battle Between
When C-3PO tells R2-D2 to stop the trash chute from crushing Obi Wan, Leia, Han, Luke, and Chewbacca; Luke and the others start yelling and celebrating in happiness. C-3PO, unaware of this, thinks they are screaming because they are being crushed. This is dramatic irony because we know that they pary is safe, but C-3PO believes otherwise.
Dramatic Irony
Situational Irony
Verbal Irony
When Princess Leia is being rescued by Luke and Han, we expect her to be a scared and delicate "princess". Yet, we receive a different character entirely. She is a very strong, aggressive, and willing to fight. She is also not afraid to get dirty. This is an example of situational irony as the audience does not expect Princess Leia to be characterized the way she is.
Situational Irony
In the final battle of the movie, Luke asks Han if he will stay and fight. He refuses saying he would not take the risk. However, he later returns in a crucial moment and saves Luke from death. This, too, is an example of situational irony as the audience would expect Han to depart and never return; Yet, Han Solo reappears to save the day.
Verbal Irony occurs when a character says something they do not mean. Two examples of verbal irony can be found in one scene in
Star Wars
when Jabba the Hut and Han Solo are talking. Jabba says, "Han, your the best smuggler I have ever hired." This is ironic because Han failed to complete his most recent task assigned to him by Jabba. Hans then replies with, "Jabba, your a wonderful human being." This is also an example of verbal irony as Jabba isn't a human being and is in fact an slug-like alien.
Good and Evil
The hero's journey is an archetypal plot structure. It is composed of the protagonists' entire journey, including all the tasks they complete and people they meet. The hero in
Star Wars: Episode 4
is Luke Skywalker. The audience accompanies him as he completes his quest and experiences a mentor's rebirth, a battle between good and evil, and a ritual in his honor.
The Quest is a major situational archetype in the hero's journey. It is the task that the heroes of the story must complete. In the movie
Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope
, the quest is assigned by Princess Leia to Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi; They must aid the rebel alliance in their fight against the evil Galactic Empire.
Death and Rebirth is a situational archetype in which somebody in a story dies, whether it be physical or spiritual, and comes back in another form. This usually makes an impact on the story. In
Star Wars: Episode 4
, Obi Wan dies during a battle with Darth Vader, but is reborn through the Force as a voice in Lukes head, guiding and encouraging him.
The battle between good and evil is the most common of the situational archetypes. It is the conflict between the "good guys" and their opposition. In
Star Wars: Episode 4
, the good is the Rebel Army, while the evil is the Galactic Empire. The two sides engage in a large battle at the end of the story. Usually the good side wins this battle, and
Star Wars
is no exception.
The ritual archetype is a ceremony that honors characters in a story for the completion of their quest. At the end of
Star Wars: Episode 4
, Princess Leia gives Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke medals for their success in defending the galaxy and destroying the Death Star, the two tasks that defined their quest. This situational archetype completes the Hero's Journey.
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