In order to get a better understanding of Narratives and Structures of stories, we can
look and apply theories that will help us. There are 4 theorists that we mainly look at,
Todorov, Barthes, Propp and Levi-Strauss that have made up theories for Myths and
Folktales. Todorov believes, that all stories begin with what he called Equilibrium (or
balance) between opposing forces. This is disrupted by some event, setting in train a
series of events to close with a second but different equilibrium. Barthes has made up 2
different codes that can be applied, The Enigma Code and The Action Code. The
Enigma Code, which sets up little puzzles to be solved. And the Action Code that is
to be read by means of accumulated details (looks, significant words, etc). These often
relate to stereotypical models, such as "falling in Love!" Propp believes that the spheres
of action in a story could be reduced to 8 character roles.
The Villain, The Hero, The
Donor, The Helper, The Princess, The Princess' Father, The Dispatcher and the False
Hero. Levi-Strauss used the term "Binary Oppositions" to describe a conflict between
two qualities. For example, if we apply it to a western genre, we have to Home Steaders
(or Cowboys) V's The Natives (or Indians).
These theories can be applied to many Mythical films and Texts such as "Spiderman",
"Braveheart", "Shrek", and even the well-known sci-fi "Star Wars". We can apply
Todorov's theory to the beginning of Star Wars; we find out through text on the screen
that there has been an event, which has disrupted the peace between 2 opposing
forces. Firstly, there was equilibrium but an event occurred leading to some plans had
been stolen, and Darth Vader planning an attack on the empire to pull Princess Lea out
of power. This leads a series of events, which carry on through the movie, until the end
of the movie when another equilibrium is reached.
Barthes' Enigma code of little puzzles can be found and pulled out of little part of the
film. Like, the question "Who is Ben Kan Obi?" and "Who is Darth Vader?" Just little
questions through out the movie, which keeps the audience thinking. The theory of the
Action Code can be found looks, feelings and impressions on the character's faces. For
example, When Luke Skywalker first see the women in C-3PO's memory, we
immediately see how infatuated Luke is by the sight of her. And we hear a significant
line "Wow... who's that? She's beautiful!" And the sound of his voice and look on his
face immediately suggests falling in Love!!
Propp's theory of 8 main character roles can easily be found within the roles of each of
the characters in Star Wars.
The Villain, ultimately being Darth Vader.
The Hero, we see from the beginning as Luke Skywalker.
The Donor, Obi Wan Kanobi (Ben Kanobi)
The Princess, the object of Luke's affection, Princess Lea!!
The Princess' Father
The Dispatcher, Obi Wan Kanobi (Ben Kanobi)
The False Hero,
Levi-Strauss' theory of there being conflict between two "Binary Oppositions" fits
straight into the story of Star Wars. The Empire V's Darth Vader and the Dark side!! The
Empire being the stronger side, with those who believe in the "force" and Darth Vader,
who after training to be a Jedi Knight, went against the empire (as predicted by Yoda in
the Prequel) fell into the Dark side. We see this through semiotics in the film, character's
like Princess Lea, Luke Skywalker and those as part of the empire wear clothes that are
usually white connoting purity, and in some cases Good. Darth Vader and those who
follow him usually wear black clothing to go with the Dark side, also connoting Evil.