The Myth of the Jedi: Memory and Deception in the Star Wars Saga

Rónán L. MacDubhghaill

Abstract


The importance of science fiction in contemporary cultural studies can hardly be underestimated, no more than it can be denied. Many narratives emerging out of the world of science fiction have become fully integrated within the contemporary cannon of popular understanding, mythology and reference. Amongst these narratives, perhaps no story is more fully integrated with contemporary culture than the original Star Wars saga. More current in the contemporary social imagination than the norse sagas, or those of ancient greece, Star Wars shares many of their epic qualities. The focus on the heroic characteristics of individuals, for example, against the backdrop of a great conflict between forces of good and evil, in which the righteous and the virtuous prevail is the standard narrative of many epic cultures. Indeed, this is the origin of classic notions of virtue, which stay with us to this day (MacIntyre, 2007). In that sense, this saga could be understood as yet another permutation of a story which has been told since time immemorial. Yet, as with the classical sagas, one must be sensitive to problematic aspects within their narratives; to the version of morality which they promote, and the ways in which they do so. This main focus in this essay will be just one such problem: the (mis)use of memory within the narrative of the original Star Wars saga, and deception as it relates to the myth of the Jedi.


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