"A Certain Point of View":
Lying Jedi, Honest Sith,
and the Viewers Who Love
Not long after our second (or was it third?) viewing of Attack of the Clones, my boyfriend and I became involved in one of our not-uncommon debates about Lucas's galaxy in general and the Jedi in particular. As we argued the finer points of Jedi philosophy and mindset, he commented, "Isn',t it interesting how the Jedi lie so much more than the Sith, and yet they're supposed to be the good guys?"
Jedi enthusiast that I am, I automatically leaped to their defense—only to be stopped by the realization that he was right. The Jedi do an awful lot of lying and shading of the truth for a religious order that's supposed to be on the side of virtue. Obi-Wan Kenobi lies to Luke about his father; Yoda misleads Luke when he arrives on Dagobah; and Mace Windu covers up the fact that the Jedi are losing their powers. By contrast, the Sith do a surprising amount of truth-telling for villains. Count Dooku tells a captive Obi-Wan flat-out that the Senate has been infiltrated by a Sith. Senator Palpatine, aka the Sith Master Darth Sidious, worms his way into power without speaking a single literal untruth.1 And, of course, in one of the most famous moments in Lucas's entire epic, Darth Vader tells Luke the devastating truth that Obi-Wan had withheld.
1 The big exception would appear to be the speech he gives to the Senate in
Attack of the Clones, which certainly seems to contradict the facts. I'll discuss