4. The cave on Dagobah
After Yoda reluctantly agrees to train Luke in the ways of the Jedi in The Empire Strikes Back, the experience for both of them is less than ideal. Yoda has high expectations for Luke, and Luke believes that most of those expectations are impossible to meet. Of course, Yoda proves him wrong at every turn, and their training continues, regardless of the struggles Luke faces. And then comes the moment Luke is called to the Cave of Evil, and Yoda cryptically tells him he must face whatever he brings with him into the cave. Luke hasn’t yet learned to trust in the Force and in his master’s teachings, which is why he disregards Yoda’s advice that he wouldn’t need his lightsaber in the cave and takes it anyway.
The cave is eerie, filled with darkness and creatures that are right at home within that darkness. And then out of the shadows, Darth Vader appears. Good thing he decided to bring his lightsaber, right? What was Yoda thinking, trying to send Luke in without protection? There’s a battle of sabers, and Luke manages to take the head of Vader, which rolls to the ground. In a moment, however, we discover why Yoda was insistent that Luke not go into the cave to fight with physical weapons. The mask of Vader explodes, and Luke’s dead eyes within the mask stare back at Luke standing over it. The image is startling, and the lesson is even more so. This was an internal battle within himself, and Luke would never win a war with himself and his potential to fall to the dark side. Anger and aggression and physical fighting would never win this battle for him.