Today we have been offered a great number of stories about superheroes. However, they are not an invention of the authors of the 20th or even the 19th century; people have been enjoying stories about heroes for many centuries: we can meet an image of a hero in ancient myths and books of different religions of the World. Interesting enough, all these heroes possess similar traits and often even have similar life stories with each other and with our contemporary superheroes.
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That is why the notion of the “archetypal hero” appeared; as Campbell explains, “There is but one archetypal mythic hero whose life has been replicated in many lands by many, many people” (quoted in Garrett 10). Having analyzed the image of Luke Skywalker, the protagonist of the Star Wars Trilogy, I have noticed that he also possesses a set of features that many other heroes have. Thus, the purpose of my essay is to outline the elements of Luc Skywalker’s life story that fit the notion of an archetypal warrior hero’s story.
We can notice archetypal elements from the very beginning of Luke Skywalker’s story. He was born when the old Republic collapsed and the new Empire was emerging. The “setting” of Luc’s childhood was quite simple: he spent his early as a farmer boy at his uncle’s farm.
Luc was growing without his parents being looked after by his uncle only. Growing up without parents is one of the common elements of archetypal hero stories; probably, at this stage, you have already recollected a range of superhero stories that have the same exposition: for example, Batman who witnessed the death of his parents, Spiderman who also was an orphan, or even Harry Potter who also spent his young years in his uncle’s and aunt’s family.
At the same time, the story of Luc Skywalker’s (as well as other characters’ that we have just mentioned) birth has mysterious circumstances that a character does not know until a certain moment. Quite often, archetypal warrior heroes neither know who their parents were nor are aware how and why they were split.
The second stage of an archetypal hero story is facing a challenge or a “call to adventure” (Garrett 12). In each hero’s story, there is a moment when he/she meets someone who tells him/her about his/her predestination or becomes his/her teacher, or when he/she falls under circumstances that force him/her act resolutely. Luc’s life changed after two droids acquainted him with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
When an archetypal warrior hero’s story develops, he/she gets a super power and becomes much mightier than ordinary people. Being taught by Joda, Luc proved to be a talented “student”.
When the core events of the story take place, we also notice a range of archetypal plot details. A hero always has to defend the interests of a group, a culture, a nation or the mankind (ibid.). Luc’s mission was to help the rebels overthrow the Empire. A warrior hero is on the “light” sight despite he faces temptation to join the “dark” side; in Luc’s case, the Emperor tried to “entrap” him and gain him over, but – of course! – failed. Besides, as every hero, Luc has an “antihero” Dart Vader and has a final battle with him where he wins.
Luc wins. This is what we always expect of a warrior hero story. “We watch the Star Wars movies and we love the Star Wars movies because there is something in us that says, “No they are going to make it. There is an outside chance that good will win.” (Grimes 25). We believe that if good overcomes bad in a fantastic story, it will win in the real life.
Whether one is a child or a grown up, he/she keeps the passion to wonderful stories during all his/her life. Fairy tales, fiction books, comics, fantasy movies offer us narration where the reality and magic seem to lose their border and where good always wins, and that is why in my opinion we feel such sympathy for them.
Garrett, G. Holy Superheroes! Exploring the Sacred in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Film. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008. Print.
Grimes, C. Star Wars Jesus: A Spiritual Commentary on the Reality of the Force. Emumclaw, WA: Winepress Pub, 2007. Print.