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April 1991


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Jayson Raymond <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 8 Apr 91 12:50:00 PST
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (98 lines)
After conversing with Maria on this, I convinced her that this was
indeed relative to the topic (and that her english was not poor) and
thought perhaps others might alos find it of interest.
So here it is...
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Date: Sat, 6 Apr 91 10:59 EST
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Arthurian Legend & Star Wars
To: [log in to unmask]
          Firs of all, I'd like to apologize for my English.
Since I'm not a native  speaker,  I'll  probably  make  some
mistakes (that's why I didn't want to post this  message  on
SCREEN-L, but if, after reading it, you  think  some  of  my
comments should be posted there, fell free to do it in  your
own words).
          Your question  about  the  relations  between  the
Arthurian legend and _Star Wars_ interested me because I'm a
big  fan  of  the  trilogy  and  I'm  presently  writing  my
dissertation about  the  Arthurian  legend  in  English  and
American  Literatures   during   the   nineteenth   century.
Honestly, I  think  that  there  is  an  amazing  number  of
similarities between the structure of Lucas' trilogy and the
basic arthurian story.
          Take Luke Skywalker as an example.  In  the  first
movie he starts what I would call his "quest" (a mission  he
has to fulfill, although he  doesn't  know  exactly  why  or
how). He is not alone, though, this old and  wise  man,  Obi
Wan Kenobi will help him to understand the  meaning  of  his
quest  while  it  happens.  Luke  wants  to  become  a  Jedi
*knight*, as his father was.
          Basically, he's doing  what  all  knights  of  the
Round Table are supposed to do: go out  seeking  adventures.
They have to go through different challenging adventures  in
order to prove themselves worthy of the knighthood. But Luke
is not looking for any adventures. He has a  specific  quest
to accomplish. In this sense, he may be compared to Galahad,
the knight that will accomplish the quest for the Holy Grail
in the Arthurian legend.
     Galahad, as Luke, learn about his quest with  the  help
of an old wise man. He, as Luke, will finish the quest  that
his father  -Lancelot-,  although  being  the  best  of  the
knights couldn't finish because of his love affair with  the
Queen. Is it to  much  to  think  about  Darth  Vader  being
"seduced" by the dark side of the Force? Maybe not.
     In _The Return of the Jedi_, Luke will win  the  battle
against the Emperor only because he had the  moral  strength
to refuse the temptation of being  impelled  by  his  anger.
And, by doing so, he'll not only free his  father,  but  the
universe as a whole. It's the old  fight  between  Good  and
     Once again, we can remember that  Arthur's  kingdom  is
falling apart, and its survival depends on the quest of  the
Holy Grail. Galahad is the only knight able to  finish  this
quest, because he's the only one that's  good  enough,  that
didn't commit any sin. And, as Luke, he'll succeed.
     Galahad and Luke are ready to face the Evil and succeed
because,  during  their  individual   quests,   they   faced
themselves, their most terrible fears, and they wan. In this
sense, I think it's fair to say that both  are  involved  in
the same quest: the quest for identity.
     The comparison of these  two  characters  is  only  one
example of the similarities existent between _Star Wars_ and
the Arthurian legend. I tried not to mention the  aspects  I
consider more obvious: all the  confrontations  between  the
representatives of the Good (Obi Wan & Luke)  and  the  Evil
(Vader) in the  movies  are  nothing  more  than  futuristic
"sword" fights...
     I've read Temper's reply to your question and I believe
that, when he says that he can't think of any correspondence
between Malory's _Le Morte D'Arthur_ and _Star  Wars_,  he's
thinking about the stories told. Maybe if he  thought  about
the structure of both stories, he would change his mind.
     If you have  specific  questions  about  the  Arthurian
legend (or any questions about my comments), I'd be glad  to
try to answer.
                              Maria Luiza Abaurre
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
P.S. - Isn't it amazing  that  the  Arthurian  legend,  that
first appeared in the 9th century, is still alive, inspiring
movies,  books,  comic  books  and   (why   not?)   academic
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