Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The opposite of love is not hate. It is fear. And that is the power of the Dark side - that teaches us to fear. It is this battle between love and fear that is played out in this climactic fight between former pupil and master, between brothers turned foes. In some ways, this battle between love and fear, between good and evil is the centerpiece of the Star Wars saga.
Obi-wan knows the weakness will not be in Anakin’s swordplay - he can see the fear and hate in Anakin’s smoldering eyes.
The Force that harnesses what is good and noble, the Dark side that taps into everything base and selfish. In the sleeper spiritual classic “I Am That” capturing the thoughts and musings of Nisagardh Maharaj, the simple saint, he speaks of life being the river through which we must flow. One bank is desire, the other bank is fear - if we clutch to either then we are no longer flowing with life. We have chosen death. Anakin has fallen prey to both. His fear of losing Padmé combined with his lust for power has destroyed all that is good in him.
The duel begins with a terrifying twist as Anakin chokes Padmé. As he hurts the one he claims to love, the transition from Anakin to Darth Vader is complete. The saber-rattling is preceded by a verbal joust. ”You have turned her against me” screams Anakin. “You have done that yourself” responds Obi-Wan. When their sabers clash there is no blue versus red. Their sabers both sparkle blue - the symbol of what could have been, had Anakin chosen the path of the Force, a promise now extinguished.
As their lightsabers collide, it is clear that Anakin has learned from his master well. His skill seems at its peak. At blurring speed the lightsabers snarl and burn. Obi-Wan is on the defensive as Anakin attacks with hate-fuelled aggression. Brother warriors now turned into gladiator foes. Their fight from within the confines of the mining complex of Mustafar soon switches stage to the raging lava - a mirror of the rage within, that has conquered and consumed Anakin.
As the structure collapses, they swing like martial trapeze artists. Their battle moves to floating skiffs, hurtling across the river of lava, each probing for a weakness and a flaw. Obi-wan knows the weakness will not be in Anakin’s swordplay - he can see the fear and hate in Anakin’s smoldering eyes. “I have failed you”. Obi-Wan makes part-statement, part searching question.
When he makes the final leap to high ground, he pleads with Anakin, he hopes it will not have to end the way he foresees it will. Anakin somersaults through the air - his arrogance and overconfidence blinding him to the slash that will end the duel. There is no triumph in Obi-wan’s eyes - just regret and the sign of a betrayed love. “You were my brother Anakin”. But Obi-Wan knows that Anakin is gone. As the demonic growl of “I hate you” is flung back by the crippled Anakin - the fallen Lucifer descends into the flames. The duel is won. The duel is lost.