4. Darth Vader: “Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy! . . . If you only knew the power of the dark side! Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father. . .”
Luke: “He told me enough! He told me you killed him!”
Darth Vader: “No, I am your father!”

This exchange, which occurs in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back on the catwalk within Cloud City after Vader has thoroughly beaten Luke, is one of the central moments of the trilogy. The most important thing we learn along with Luke is the Vader’s true identity and his relation to Luke. The loss that Luke experiences in this scene is profound and multifaceted. He has lost, for one thing, the narrative that has given his life meaning up to this point: that his father was killed by Vader and that he, Luke, will someday avenge his death. Instead, Luke now finds he has a villain, not a hero, for a father. At the same time, he has, in a way, lost another father in Ben, who not only was struck down by Luke’s real father but now stands revealed as having been less than honest with Luke. This is the very moment, the very realization, that Ben had tried to spare Luke, until he was ready to handle it. As it is, Luke would rather die than face the reality of the situation. He throws himself over the side and is saved from death only by luck—or perhaps destiny.

At the same time, Vader’s statement here sheds a bit of light on his own motivations and reveals some of the seductiveness of the dark side. Vader offers Luke a chance to belong, a chance to seize power, and a chance to know his father all at once. Vader claims here to be motivated by a desire for peace, stability, and order, which certainly doesn’t sound all that evil. In truth, however, the only order offered by the dark side is the order of absolute submission to the will of the Emperor, and the only peace the peace of surrender, or death. A Jedi, Luke learns, fights so that others may be free, not to subordinate others to a specious “order” or “stability.”