Moral Ambiguity in a
RICHARD H. DEES
The moral universe of Star Wars has two colors: black and white. In the opening moments of A New Hope, we find Darth Vader, dressed all in black, confronting Princess Leia, dressed in virginal white. Every identifiable character in the six movies works either for the Light Side of the Force or for the Dark Side. It's a world with very few shades of gray, much less of brighter, more interesting moral colors. In this galaxy, unlike our own, there seems, at first glance, to be no room for moral tragedy, for choices where no answer is morally correct, or for plain moral ambiguity.
Nevertheless, moral ambiguity can be found lurking in the Star Wars universe, if we look for it. Often, important characters are first presented to us as morally ambiguous. When we meet them, we do not know whose side they are on in the war, but later, their true natures reveal themselves. We can, I think, learn some important moral lessons by looking at the ways characters like Han Solo or Lando Calrissian reason when we first meet them and at the ways in which they turn towards one side or the other. There are also a few cases that are closer to real ambiguity, like Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker. From both kinds of cases, we can learn how to think about moral problems more deeply and more intelligently.
to Use It?"
When we first meet Han Solo in A New Hope, he's a smuggler caught in the web of the crime lord Jabba the Hutt. He's arrogant