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April 1991


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Jayson Raymond <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 8 Apr 91 12:50:00 PST
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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