The Prince in a Galaxy Far Far Away
Just by seeing the above image I am pretty sure I have managed to excite the inner geek in everyone. “Star Wars” is perhaps one of the most popular cult film series ever created by the Hollywood big shot George Lucas, and entertained generations with the initial trilogy in the 1970’s and then the new trilogy in the 2000’s. So let me not go onto the details of the story, but onto the one character that really struck me over the weekend when I decided to watch all of these films in a marathon.
No, its not Darth Vader and its definitely not Master Yoda. I am talking about Senator Palpatine. For those who haven’t invoked the inner geek yet, Senator Palpatine is the unnamed ruler of the Galactic Empire in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. He is also the middle aged politician in Episodes I, II and III. His alter ego Darth Sidious, is the head of the Sith, the enemies of the good guys. He sets into motion various events in the series such as the Clone Wars (Episode II) which leads to the fall of the Jedi (the good guys) and so finally sets up the authoritarian regime in place of the Republic, and usher in the Galactic Empire.
So what does Macchiaveli have to do with any of this?
The galaxy prior to all of this was much like Machiavelli’s Italy – a lot of small fragmented planetary-states. According to Macchiaveli, a prince may come into power through fortune, skill, popularity or evil. Palpatine/Sidious, in their illustrious campaign through the films employ each at some point of time of the other. While being the most watched politician in the galaxy, Palpatine is also able to exert evil through his alter ego Sidious. Fortune favors Palpatine when he uses Anikin Skywalker (the guy who becomes Darth Vader) and his love for Padme Amidala, and then her death, as a means to convert the most giften Jedi (good guy) to the most vicious villain of the series. In addition, he was also a popular politician, and was given a very high office in the republic, and through his popularity was allowed to be in office for far longer than legally allowed. His skill as a politician was his ability to twist situations to suit his own ends, and this was probably the single biggest factor that allowed his meteoric rise. Finally, when the Empire was set up, he turned on his biggest threats and started eliminating them.
In conclusion, I want to ask a question:
Was Palpatine the prince of a galaxy far far away?