The Disarming Masculine Symbolism Behind the Repeated Hand Amputations in Star Wars Films

As part of their ongoing analysis of the many Star Wars films, Debra Minoff and Susannah McCullough of Screenprism took a look at how the repeated theme of losing hands, symbolizes a castration of sorts. When an opponent loses a hand, the opponent loses the ability to fight back. In essence, this type of deliberate amputation removes their power as an opponent.

Here are two Sith Lords who cut off an opponent’s fighting limb in the film, but both are
actually former Jedi and in both cases they don’t want to kill the person they’re fighting either because it pains them or because they have plans for that opponent and want them alive. Cutting off an opponent’s hand in Star Wars is a symbolic castration. In a world where male power is linked to fighting to take away a man’s weapon hand or arm is to rob him of power.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.