As kids, I think we all wanted to be Han Solo, yet most of us found we were Luke Skywalker. He never really resonated with me as a kid, people would ask me who my favorite character was and I'd usually say Boba Fett. Then as a teenager I started to think of Luke as a complete weenie who never stopped whining. My opinions of him changed when I grew up and finally realized how Luke had changed throughout the series. And now I present another geeky character analysis.
Luke Skywalker embodies the "everyman" persona. Most of us can see ourselves in him because he starts off as a nobody. He is ambitious and idealistic, he wants to prove that he can be more, but he is stuck in his own world. His uncle is a stern but loving man, he seems to be squelching Luke's dreams but really he is afraid for his safety knowing what really happened to his father. Luke is then offered the chance of adventure by Obi-wan Kenobi, but he initially rejects the offer as most heroes do at first, but the sudden tragic loss of his guardians launches him out of his comfort zone. Kenobi also reveals to him his own history, and Luke knows now that he has a destiny of his own.
Upon entering the Cantina in Mos Eisley he is now aware there is no turning back, this is where he crosses the line and is entering a whole new world of danger. It is here he finds an unlikely ally in the mercenary pirate Han Solo, who is the foil to Luke's idealistic nature. Together they are forced to work together, though for different motivations, to rescue Princess Leia.
Alas, Luke's relationship with his mentor Obi-wan is short-lived as he is cut down by his father's murderer, Darth Vader. This is an important step for any hero as the mentor cannot stay forever, if the mentor did stay the hero would never know that they have in fact learned from them and can now put the teachings to use. And as he is swept up in the battle against the Death Star he becomes a key player and has his first true connection with the force, which allows him to save the day.
From that point on he finds himself in a position of leadership and must learn to cope with the violence that surrounds him. He is however still impatient and short-sighted, wielding his newfound power somewhat carelessly. It is then that he comes across an unlikely new mentor, who tests him both physically and mentally in ways he doesn't understand. Yoda's teachings are however essential, for to become enlightened you can't simply be shown the path, you must find it yourself. And Luke does in fact try to do things on his own terms and rushes off to save his friends from Vader, but walks into a situation he isn't ready to face. Though he duels admirably, he is defeated and receives the unbearable revelation that Vader is his father. Knowing now what will happen to him if he strays from the path of wisdom and acts on passions, this experience humbles him.
One of the most powerful visual symbols of Luke's character are his clothes. In the first film he appears in an all white outfit, simple farmer attire that symbolizes his innocence and naivete. In ESB he dresses in grey outfits, showing that he has begun to lose his innocence, gotten his hands dirty, and more importantly he is beginning to realize that he isn't immune to the lure of evil. By the time of ROTJ he is dressed in all black, knowing now that there is darkness in him but he has learned to accept it and deal with it. Now Luke is calm, collected and the voice of reason with his friends, but he still faces his greatest challenge. Knowing that Vader is his father he has two choices, one is to join him as Vader and the Emperor want, and the other is to do what Obi-wan and Yoda want and kill him.
In the end Luke does something completely different. Having acted on his passions, his love for his sister and hatred for the Emperor he sees that he has become like his father. It is then that he chooses death instead, as result offering himself as a sacrifice to save his father. Vader, overcome with love for his son, finally breaks free from Palpatine and destroys the evil Sith Lord. And Anakin now has come to grips with his fear of death and dies willingly.
What began for Luke as a thirst for adventure, became a strive to destroy evil, which then became a quest to redeem his father.