Updated: Oct 31
In the grand finale of Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker says to Obi Wan, "From my point of view, the Jedi are evil." He's not wrong. In the opening of "The Phantom Menace," the Jedi aren't sent to free Anakin from slavery. They're sent to deal with an economic blockade. This shows the priorities of the Republic. It doesn't necessarily showcase evil on the part of the Jedi, but it doesn't line up with the Jedi reputation. The Jedi stumble upon him by accident, and weren't interested in him in the slightest until Anakin invites them over to his house to get out of the sandstorm. Which means he was following them looking for a way out of slavery, and saw them as the best option.
Because the story he heard about the Jedi was the propaganda story of noble space knights, not enforcement soldiers, and this is very clear when he is having dinner with Qui Gon Jin. Anakin asks Qui Gon, "have you come here to free all the slaves?"
Qui Gon replies, "No, I have not."
But Anakin shakes his head, and tells him, "I think you have." Because, this is the first taste of hope Anakin has had in a long time, and refuses to let it go. It's a little slave boy clinging to hope. He offers to fix Qui Gon's ship, and then offers to raise money for their parts during the pod-racing event. He's desperate to get out, and his mother is desperate to get him out. She sees the interest Qui Gon is showing in her son, once he suspects the boy is the prophesied chosen one meant to bring balance to the force. There's a potent sadness in Shmi when Anakin fixes the pod-racer and yells, "it's working!" Because she know this is his one ticket out of slavery. Her pushing this is the only thing she can do for him. She knows if he manages to convince the Jedi to take him with them, she'll never see him again. But she'll die happy knowing that her son made it out. Shmi is smart enough to know the Jedi won't take her too, because there's nothing in it for them. This is shown right before the pod-race when Qui Gon is negotiating with Watto, and says "I'll wager my new pod against the boy and his mother." But this is a ruse. He knows Watto won't let both go, so when he settles for just the boy, he gets what he really wants.
Once Anakin wins the race, along with his freedom, he asks his mom if he can go with Qui Gon Jin to be a Jedi. He doesn't realize the difference his freedom makes. He is asking for permission from his mother, but he already has more agency than she can ever grant him. Then, before he leaves, he runs back and hugs him mom, promising to free her. She tells him to be brave and don't look back. There's a world of weight on the shoulders of a 9 year old boy.
Later on, when Anakin stands before the Jedi Council, they sense fear in him. Of course he's afraid. They left his slave mother behind. But they are not wanting to take him on, because he's too old. He's already made attachments outside of the Jedi, and it becomes harder to indoctrinate and train child soldiers when they've made attachments outside.
Because the Jedi never wanted Anakin in the first place. They told Qui Gon no, but he made it happen anyway. All he wants is to feel like he belongs, but they always resent him for not being picked. The Jedi Council is in support of the chosen one prophecy, but they want to be the ones who chose.
By Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of the Clones, Anakin has made it out of the Lions den, but always feels the breath of the Lion on his ear, running as fast as he can away from it. He found stability and success in being a Jedi, and is clinging to it. He sees the whole world through application of brute force, because that's the world he came from. When you're on the bottom, the social contract of abdicating violence to the state is not in play, so brute force solves most disputes.
When he's with Padme at her romantic beach house on Naboo, he suggests that the government system of the Republic doesn't work. That they need to figure out what's best for the people and make it happen.
She says, "The problem is that sometimes people can't agree."
Then he says, "Well, then they should be made to."
She tells him, "That sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship to me."
He tells her, "Well, if it works..."
Because what has Democracy gotten him, really? Democracy didn't get him out of slavery. He did. Anakin knew what he wanted, saw his chance and took it. He knows that you have to shape the world with your own two hands to make it work. No one is going to do it for you.
That's why he pursues Padme. Padme is the first woman to consistently show him kindness outside his own mother, and he falls intensely for her. It's probably an unhealthy level, but he also probably doesn't know what healthy looks like, since he joined a celibate space knight Army. She tells him that given their positions, him being a Jedi, her being a senator, that it's impossible. But he started out as a slave. If he had stayed within the rules society had built for him, he wouldn't have left Tatooine. So Anakin only sees society's rules as an obstacle to what he wants, which is love. So he convinces her that if they keep it a secret, it'll be ok. She knows it won't. But the lie they share that it will be allows them to be together.
Soon after that, Anakin is having a nightmare about his mother's suffering. So he goes off to find her along with Padme. He meets the man who bought his mother, who married his mother. Clegg Lars. He tells Anakin that Shmi got kidnapped by Tuscan Raiders. Clegg lead a party of thirty out to get her back, only four survived. Clegg tells Anakin to accept his mother's death, like he has. But Anakin knows that his mother is alive, and like always he's on his own to fix the problem. Because this is the world he came from, far across the galaxy from the Democratic niceties of the social contract that Governs the Republic. He knows that only intense brute force will solve this problem, and the Jedi were not there when he needed them. Only Padme. So Anakin hops on a speeder bike to go find his mother. He finds her, and she dies in his arms choking out a final "I love you," to her long lost son. Then he gives in to his anger, and massacres the entire village of Tuscan Raiders. Because why wouldn't he? Why would he care about the Jedi teachings? Where were they when his mother was captured?
The next day, Anakin is blaming himself for Shmi's death. Padme tells him, "There are some things no one can fix. You're not all powerful."
He says to her, "I should be. I will become the most powerful Jedi ever. I will even stop people from dying." Then he confesses his sin of massacre to Padme, she just holds him as he grieves the loss of his mother.
In the opening of Revenge of the Sith, Padme tells him she's pregnant. It's the high point of his life. He's come so far from where he began. Anakin lives in the seat of Galactic power, in a high rise tower married to a member of the political ruling class, and he's done it on his own. He's always been an outsider, due to the class he was born into. But he worked his way into the upper levels of society, knowing that he was on his own. Anakin starts to have nightmares about Padme dying in childbirth, much like his mother's death. He knows the Jedi will be useless in saving her, just like his mother. Chancellor Palpatine sees this as a chance to bring him closer to his side. At the Opera, Palpatine says the quiet out loud. How all those who gain power are afraid to lose it, even the Jedi. Anakin responds with scripted dogma, saying, "the Jedi are selfless. They only think about others." But he knows this to be false. Palpatine tells him that the Sith know how to bring the dead back to life, and Anakin has found his solution. He's picked his side. So when Palpatine runs his coup d'etat, he's got the Chosen One on his side. A desperate man does what he can to save his wife. He's on his own to save her, no matter how much brute force it takes. A wife that has been there for him since he was a boy. A wife the Jedi would do forbid him from loving, let alone help him save. Of course from his point of view, the Jedi are evil. Because to Anakin Skywalker, Padme is the ultimate good. Anyone who falls short of her is evil. Even himself.