Title

From Medieval to Modern: The Hero in the Mirror

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Video

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Abstract

Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker and the Red Cross Knight from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene (1590) share many similarities, from their rustic origins to their being tempted by despair. Both knights come from the outskirts of society, and both receive hand-me-down equipment for their quests. Both knights are also drawn away from their mentors (Yoda and Una) by visions brought about by the main villains of their stories (Darth Vader and Archimago). Finally, both Luke and RCK are tempted respectively by the Emperor and Despair to give up hope and "turn to the Dark Side." These similarities and others support Richard Simon's argument in Trash Culture (1999) that Star Wars is a virtual retelling of Spenser's epic for modern, secular times, as well as a major cultural achievement in its own right.

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