Reflections on ‘Revenge’ (Part II)

In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

As I said in my previous post, watching Revenge of the Sith has led me to reflect over a great many things. Another one of these is the origins of evil. From where did evil come in the first place? What is the root of all sin, all evil? I believe it is arrogance. You can see it in the conduct of the Sith throughout all six films of the Star Wars epic. Darth Sidious engineers the invasion of Naboo by the Trade Federation in the very first film. Why? For his own aims; he cares nothing for the effect on the Naboo or the other star systems. Arrogance.

He tells the Viceroy to kill the Jedi, wipe out the Gungans, and tries to have Queen Amidala kidnapped. All out of arrogance. The same goes for Episode II. In Revenge, you can see the arrogance in full form. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine tells Anakin to kill Count Dookoo, Palpatine’s own apprentice. Later, Palpatine – speaking as Darth Sidious – said that the murder was a necessary move. Arrogance. Palpatine does the exact same thing in Return of the Jedi. He tells Luke Skywalker, standing over Darth Vader with lightsaber to his throat: “Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny and take your father’s place at my side.”

Now that I have seen all six films, this last exchange took on an entirely new significance. How could the Emperor tell Luke to kill Darth Vader? How, after everything that Vader did for Palpatine? It was Anakin Skywalker’s command of the Force that led to the Emperor taking over the galaxy. It was Darth Vader who helped Palpatine destroy the Jedi, allowing the Galactic Empire to come to power. It was the fear of Darth Vader, not the old Emperor, that kept the Imperial footsoldiers and workers in line. The Emperor did basically nothing. Thus, how dare he tell Luke to kill Vader? Didn’t the Emperor have any sort of loyalty?

Absolutely not. This was because the Emperor was not only evil, but arrogant. The root of his evil was his arrogance. I believe all those who are evil are, at the root of things, arrogant. They believe that the law (of God, of nature, etc.) do not apply to them. Thus, they can do whatever they feel is in their best interest, and to hell with the effect on other people. When I willfully and wantonly disobey God, I am being arrogant against Him. I feel that the requests of God – my Creator, the One who gave me life when I was dead – do not apply to me. How arrogant can that be?

The first sin ever committed, in fact, was one of arrogance:

And Lo! Thy Sustainer said unto the angels: “Be­hold, I am about to establish upon earth one who shall inherit it.” They said: “Wilt Thou place on it such as will spread corruption thereon and shed blood – whereas it is we who extol Thy limitless glory, and praise Thee, and hallow Thy name?” [God] answered: “Verily, I know that which you do not know.” And He imparted unto Adam the names of all things; Then He brought them within the ken of the angels and said: “Declare unto Me the names of these [things], if what you say is true.” They replied: “Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! No knowledge have we save that which Thou hast imparted unto us. Verily, Thou alone art all-knowing, truly wise.” Said He: “O Adam, convey unto them the names of these [things].” And as soon as (Adam) had conveyed unto them their names, [God] said: “Did I not say unto you, “Verily, I alone know the hidden reality of the heavens and the earth, and know all that you bring into the open and all that you would conceal?” And when We told the angels, “Prostrate yourselves before Adam!” They all prostrated them­selves, save Iblis [Satan], who refused and gloried in his arrogance: and thus he became one of those who deny the truth (2:30-34, emphasis added).

After this, Satan made it his mission in life to take this creation of God’s – along with his progeny – into damnation with him: “[Iblis] said: “Now that Thou hast thwarted me, I shall most certainly lie in ambush for them all along Thy straight way” (7:16). All out of arrogance. Now, the overwhelmig majority of those who sin do not do so out of spite for God, I believe. Most sins are because of our succombing to human weaknesses, not our arrogance. Yet, deliberate disobedience to God, I believe, is out of sheer arrogance.

This arrogance, however, ultimately leads to the destruction of the arrogant one. Thus, the Emperor, in the end, was destroyed by his own arrogance. Luke spoke the truth when he told Palpatine, “Your overconfidence is your weakness.” The Emperor never thought – in his arrogance – that Darth Vader would intervene to save his son from the lightning bolts of the Dark Side of the Force emanating from the Emperor’s hands. That led to his destruction.

Back here on earth, the arrogant are ultimately defeated, because, there is only One Who is the Greatest, and that is God. And He has no rivals whatsoever.


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