The great tragedy of Anakin Skywalker is he never got a chance to be free.
Think about it. He’s born into slavery. He lives 9 years as a true slave. Even if Watto was the “best” owner ever that is still a horrific circumstance to spend your FORMATIVE YEARS. Even if Watto was a saint, there is so much trauma in having no freedom or control over your own body, in knowing the PRICE of your life. Not to mention secondary trauma, which is NO LESS TRAUMATIC, btw.
Then, he’s “freed” by a Jedi. But the Jedi frees him with the implied condition that Anakin be taken in and trained by the Jedi order. As soon as he leaves Tattooine, all choice is stripped from him. The counsel evaluates him and finds him wanting. His entire future is thrown into jeopardy because the man who bought him is dead and the new owners may want to return him. When they finally do induct him into the Jedi Order, it is with suspicion and a lot of conditions (cough, being the Chosen One, cough)
Once again he’s in a situation where he must call the people in charge MASTER.
(But it’s Different, someone might say. Yeah, well, when you’re 9 a cucumber looks like a zucchini, and patterns of thoughts, how the world works, worldview, that doesn’t change just because someone tells you some pretty words)
In the Jedi Order, Anakin loses the autonomy of his choices. He loses the option of getting married and having children (which, btw, is one of the rights traditionally stolen in slave cultures). He loses the right to chose where he goes and what he does EVEN AFTER HE REACHES ADULTHOOD. And, he loses the right to his own emotions.
Even as a slave, emotions are the one thing they can’t truly take from you. They can try to break you, they can punish you, but as long as you can think you can feel, you can hide what you’re feeling. You can be angry, sad, happy, in love even if they don’t want you to. But in the Jedi order, not only are these emotions bad, but it is an entire organization of psychics who vocally criticize and police you out when you’re struggling to “let go” of anger and hate, even or especially hate that is justified!
Then, this Order begins using SENTIENT HUMAN SOLDIERS who have been BRED AND RAISED AND SOLD TO BE AN ARMY. Soldiers who’se MINDS have been stripped to make them more obedient. And the Jedi don’t even hesitate to put them to use. The Jedi Order legitimized slavery. How do you suppose THAT felt for the former slave boy?
So, in the movie, you see a progression as Anakin struggles for power. Because, if he’s the master then HE WON’T BE THE SLAVE.
Lastly, after THREE YEARS OF TRAUMA AND WAR AND SLOWLY SLIPPING TO THE DARK SIDE (don’t tell me it was just Padme’s death that caused him to fall), Anakin fall’s and turns to the only Authority Figure who has treated him with full respect and told him that he is powerful, he is in control – Darth Sidious. Who then ENSLAVES HIM UNTIL THE DAY HE DIES.
Anakin only got 30 minutes of true freedom and he was dying.
And that just kind of kills me.