Holy Warrior: The Faith of Luke Skywalker and the Red Cross Knight from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene

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Spring 2015


What makes holy warriors out of Luke Skywalker and the Red Cross Knight from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene? First, both heroes fight in the name of a deity: the Christian God and the Force. Both warriors also belong to an order of knights. In fact, as seen in the Prequels, the Jedi Council sits in a circle much like King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. By sitting in a circle, the two orders of knights emphasize both their equality and their worship of a deity at the center of their religion. Whereas Luke wields a blue lightsaber to demonstrate his commitment to the Force, Red Cross Knight bears the sign of his worshipped Lord upon his shield. Whether in Star Wars or The Faerie Queene, a warrior must always beware of temptation. Luke is tempted by his father to join the Dark Side of the Force, while the Red Cross Knight is tempted by despair. Significantly, a holy warrior draws power not from weapons but rather from his faith (either in the Force or in the Christian God). A holy warrior must also follow a code, rather than his own impulses. Jedi follow the Jedi Code, while Red Cross is called to heed the two codes of Christian morality and chivalry. The overall goal of the holy warrior is not to defeat an enemy, whether it be a dragon or an emperor—rather, the true goal of the Christian and Jedi warrior is to better understand their faith.

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