Yoda is a deeply wise character with some very distinctive speech patterns. The result is that quotes from this iconic character have become some of the most widely recognized in cinema history.
This old Jedi Master has dispensed countless nuggets of wisdom across the extensive Star Wars franchise, but here are twenty of our favorites.
“Put away your weapon! I mean you no harm!” – The Empire Strikes Back
This line is notable mostly because it’s the first line that Yoda speaks in his entire appearance in the franchise. It’s part of his effort to disguise his identity in order to test Luke’s patience.
On second or third viewing, there’s a great irony in seeing this character, who we know to be one of the most powerful in the whole Star Wars universe pretend to be frightened of a jumpy young man.
“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” – The Empire Strikes Back
Perhaps one of Yoda’s most widely known quotes, he speaks this to Luke while training him to use the Force. It’s a sobering reminder to everyone that, while it’s all well and good to “try” and do something, what ultimately matters is whether we end up actually doing that thing or not.
“That is why you fail.” – The Empire Strikes Back
Yoda utters this line in response to Luke remarking, “I don’t believe it!” after he lifts Luke’s X-Wing out of the swamp using nothing but the power of the Force.
The meaning is clear: belief in the power of the Force, and in one’s own ability to draw upon it, is key to becoming a Jedi. Likewise, one cannot tap into one’s own talents unless one believes in them and in oneself.
“Great warrior? Wars not make one great.” – The Empire Strikes Back
Yoda utters this line upon Luke’s first encounter with him, in response to Luke, who doesn’t yet know his identity, remarking that he is seeking Yoda, a “great warrior.” This is essentially Yoda’s first lesson to Luke: there is far more to being a Jedi than prowess in battle.
“You must unlearn what you have learned.” – The Empire Strikes Back
Another line that Yoda utters during Luke’s first encounter with him. It’s an approach that many teachers introduce students to a new concept or discipline take, encouraging them to rid their minds of all their preconceptions about it to truly absorb it.
“Fear is to anger. Anger is to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – The Phantom Menace
Yoda speaks these words to a young Anakin Skywalker, who, the viewer is well aware, will eventually become the iconic villain Darth Vader. It pushes the viewer to reflect on how anyone can be pushed down the darkest of paths even this innocent young boy.
All it takes is an unfortunate situation in life and the frustration and anger that fear and uncertainty so often give rise to.
“Much anger in him, like his father.” – The Empire Strikes Back
Yoda makes this remark to Obi-Wan while training Luke. It’s a line that becomes all the more sobering after you’ve watched The Phantom Menace and heard the above quote. Yoda has seen anger and hatred consume a promising young man before. The slight chance that it might happen to Luke as well is almost certainly one that haunts him.
“Named must be your fear before banish it you can.” – Revenge of the Sithnovelisation
Tapping into the ongoing theme of how anger and fear can lead one down an extremely dark path, this quote reminds us that our fears become far easier to face when we are able to put a name to them. That, after all, is the first step to facing them.
“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is…You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.” – The Empire Strikes Back
Yoda uses these words to underline the ubiquitous nature of the Force to young Luke while training him. It’s a reminder to both Luke and the viewer that the Force is absolutely omnipresent in the Star Wars universe and that those with the patience to become one with it are a rare and powerful breed.
“Not far. Yoda not far. Patience. Soon you will be with him.” – The Empire Strikes Back
Another line that Yoda utters to Luke during their first meeting. As alluded to earlier, Yoda is pretending not to be Yoda in order to test Luke’s patience. The hotheaded look doesn’t respond well at first, but as he will soon learn, patience is one of the essential facets of becoming a Jedi.
“Stopped they must be; on this all depends. Only a fully trained Jedi Knight, with the Force as his ally, will conquer Vader and his Emperor. If you end your training now – if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did – you will become an agent of evil.” – The Empire Strikes Back
Not only does this line serve to remind Luke how critical it is that he complete his training if he is to defeat Vader; it also summarises how easy it is to fall to the Dark Side.
Luke’s training has been grueling and frustrating to him, but Yoda underlines how this is a necessity. Taking a quick, easy approach to harnessing the Force, he emphasizes, is how one falls to misusing it.
“For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph! Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless!” – The Empire Strikes Back
This remark by Yoda reflects the deepest commitment required to train to become a Jedi. Luke’s hotheaded nature and his craving for adventure, excitement and other short-term thrills mean that it will be difficult for him to acquire the patience needed for his training.
“No. There is another.” – The Empire Strikes Back
Yoda utters this line in response to Obi-Wan’s remark that Luke is their last hope to defeat the Sith. It’s a deeply mysterious line that leaves the viewers wondering who he could be referring to; and it’s a question that won’t be answered until the next film.
“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is. Uncluttered.” – Revenge of the Sith
Yoda makes this remark while training a group of very young apprentices to tap into the Force. It’s a nod to how encouraging Jedi to draw upon their talents at a very young age is key to helping them harness them fully, as that is when their minds are less distracted with other concerns.
This is, many parents and teachers can attest, also very true of many other talents.
“Train yourself to let go… of everything you fear to lose.” – Revenge of the Sith
As Yoda predicted, one of the driving forces behind Anakin’s eventual turn to the Dark Side is his deep-set fear – at this point in the series, his fear of losing his lover, Padme.
Yoda attempts to persuade him to let go of his more selfish concerns and focus on the way of the Jedi. However, as the viewer already knows, he will ultimately fall to his fears.
“Faith in your new apprentice, misplaced may be.” – Revenge of the Sith
Yoda says this in response to Darth Sidious remarking that Anakin Skywalker – now Darth Vader – will become more powerful than either of them. There’s a deep and tragic irony to Yoda’s words here since as we know, he’s wrong. Darth Vader will indeed become one of the most powerful Jedi in Star Wars history.
“When you look at the Dark Side, careful you must be, for the Dark Side looks back.” – Revenge of the Sith
This quote is a fairly direct reference to Nietzsche’s famous saying, “if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you”. This increases the universality of this saying. As it makes clear, the Dark Side, much like evil in reality, can have profoundly negative long-term effects upon those who expose themselves to it.
“[Arrogance is] flaw more and more common among Jedi. Too sure of themselves they are. Even the older, more experienced ones.” – Revenge of the Sith
Yoda’s remark reinforces one of the themes of the film, wherein overconfidence – along with fear and anger – are instrumental in pushing Anakin over to the Dark Side.
“Do not assume anything, Obi-Wan. Clear your mind must be if you are to discover the real villains behind this plot.” – Attack of the Clones
Not an especially significant quote, perhaps. However, the fact that Yoda makes this remark to Obi-Wan shows that, despite Obi-Wan’s tremendous experience and the fact that he now has his own apprentice, he still allows
“The greatest teacher, failure is.” – The Last Jedi
This line, spoken by Yoda to a remorseful Luke, who is racked by guilt at allowing Kylo Ren to fall to the dark side, speaks to a universal experience. Failure is something we cannot ever hope to avoid.
What we can do, however, is learn from these failures – a far more productive response than simply allowing ourselves to fall into guilt over them. It’s moments like this that remind us just how universal much of Yoda’s utterances are.
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