Our (and Luke's) original impression of Yoda is by no means flattering. He looks like a crazy hungry green thing that unfortunately has the ability to speak. Yoda digs through Luke's stuff, eats Luke's food, and, obsessed with that awesome little flashlight, ends up stealing it. (He even goes so far as to fight with Artoo over it.)

So was Yoda slowly losing it during all those years as a hermit?

Perhaps going from fighting battles and conversing with others on a daily basis to living in total isolation with no one to speak with would play a part in that? Or could Yoda have been faking his apparent insanity for some reason? (If so, what is mentioned reason?)

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    Question my sanity, do you? Hmmm... When 900 years old you reach, be as sane, you will not.
    – user2900
    Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 17:02
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    Was Yoda ever lucid? Commented Oct 22, 2011 at 5:42
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    I think Yoda was an antagonist, man. Especially in episodes 1-3. He often said things like they were concrete and undeniable. He could have done a better job of teaching his pupils. Their arguments were so ridiculous. Sometimes they showed no critical thinking abilities or explanatory power at all. Commented Oct 22, 2011 at 6:09
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    Dvk, in the comic books, they have rehabilitation chambers where they help people recover from a fall to the dark side. Becoming a padiwan, and in fact any progression in the jedi ranks is supposed to be difficult and highly selective. The tribulations Obiwan went through prior to working with Kuai Gan aren't reflect in Kuai Gan's hasty bonding with Anakin. Obiwan is not really a Jedi master, but Yoda allows him to take a padiwan by Anakin after Kuai Gan dies. Even though Yoda realizes Anakin is tainted, he then allows Anakin to advance rapidly. Maybe they were all afflicted by the dark side. Commented Oct 22, 2011 at 13:54
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    If you ask me, I don't think any of those "be at one with the universe" people are sane... I always felt 'Jedi' was the term for 'crazy old man'. Seriously, think about it: Obi-Wan (in episode IV); Vader (well, not quite a man); Dooku; Yoda; Sidious... shall I go on? Even Mace Windu is a large scary dude with a crazy glint in his eye. And they all meet in their secret tree fortress to play with midichlorians or what-not...
    – einpoklum
    Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 20:26

9 Answers 9


He was:

  1. Pretending to be the nutty old harmless thing so Luke would not know who he was.
    See Obfuscating Stupidity.
    The reasons were:

    • He didn't want to teach Luke (being wary of another Skywalker Reversal) due to Luke having similar problems to Anakin (started too late, wrong personality traits, Skywalker Curse, and excessive Midichloran count meaning that the downside of Luke falling to Dark Side was that much higher).

    • He didn't know if he could risk the info that he was Yoda the Jedi Master to fall into Luke's hands yet.

    • Luke not knowing who he was helped him test Luke by observing Luke in "natural" state (e.g. NOT the state of Luke talking to great Jedi Master).

  2. In addition, that behavior was testing Luke (e.g. would he react with violence to stealing of flashlight or food? How would he react to having his patience tested by seeing this nutcase when he's in a rush to find Jedi Master?).

    This is not just a logical speculation, but is confirmed in C-Canon:

    Yoda had also given Luke a hard time at that encounter. It had been a test of Luke's patience and of his treatment of strangers. And Luke had flunked it. Rather miserably. (Dark Force Rising, Timothy Zahn)

Also, as far as behaving in weird manner, it's a standard archetype/trope for a Quirky Weird Wise Wizard Mentor. Somewhat covered by Old Master but I'm too afraid for tvtropes to go dig for more specific trope names.

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    In that case, R2D2 failed Yoda's test. :D Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 14:30
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    Why are so many people on this site afraid of the TV Tropes website?
    – Tango
    Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 14:36
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    @Tango - tvtropes is a combination of Roach Motel (you start looking for a specific thing and never emerge from the maze of links) and Crack++ Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 14:39
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    @TangoOversway I went there once to look up dopplegangers and didn't leave the site until 3 hours later. I didn't even get to the end of the entry on dopplegangers because i branched to so many other pages. Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 16:06
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    @PeterDC - Realize that R2 probably knew who Yoda was so may have been a) mad at how yoda was treating luke b) playing along with yoda c) just being R2's obstinate self. R2 does seem to enjoy being a pain when it doesn't really matter.
    – Chad
    Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 20:22

Yoda was purposefully being as annoying as he possibly could, to test Luke's patience. Patience is key in all aspects of the "Light Side" of the Force; Jedi trained as Younglings and/or Padawans for years, even decades, to become a Jedi Knight. The Dark Path is easy and fast, and those are powerful lures. Yoda needed to be sure that Luke wouldn't follow in his father's footsteps.

Luke WAS impatient, and he lost his hand because of it, but during Luke's training Yoda also took extra care to hammer into him what the consequences of starting down the Dark Path would be, and so Luke was able to make the right decisions despite his rather impulsive moves to place himself in temptation's path.

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    +1 It was Anikin's impatience that that led to his falling to the dark side.
    – Chad
    Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 20:18
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    I think it was other people misspelling his name that led to his falling to the Dark side.
    – Zikato
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 9:46
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    Fortunately, "Luke" is much easier to spell. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 20:47
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    @JohnSensebe I always thought it was "Luc"? ;-P Commented May 13, 2016 at 13:57
  • @Zikato Nah. He went to the dark side because he was mad at George Lucas for adding missah who shall not be mentioned.
    – user64742
    Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 20:48

Cabin fever and mischievousness aside, Yoda was sizing Luke up. He wanted to see if Luke would judge a book by its cover and how quickly Luke would get annoyed.

Notice that Yoda immediately drops the facade as soon as Luke knows who the annoying little dude in the swamp is (actually, moments before).

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    + 1! this should be the accepted answer; Yoda's not crazy! He was just testing Luke's patience and maturity and Luke failed...
    – djm
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 15:59

It seemed to me he was doing two things, having fun playing the fool, and evaluating Luke's demeanor. Yoda considered Anakin's betrayal as a personal failing for his failure to foresee and prevent the destruction of the order. Taking on the training of another Skywalker would not have been done lightly.

As for being alone you are never alone when you have the force. While that may sound corny remember that through the force Yoda could connect with other living creatures on a level we do not understand. Not to mention communicating with Quijon and Obi Wan.


Has anyone taken into account the loss of several hundreds of Jedi? In ROTS, when Mace and a few other Jedi die he falls to the ground holding his head. With the other hundreds then dying soon after and over the coming years it's possible it was psychologically traumatic for Yoda. Hence his supposed 'insanity' in the Original Trilogy.


I think that Yoda had to be testing Luke for multiple reasons. For one, and this one has already been stated, Yoda keeps telling Luke over and over that he must be patient. Another reason is that Yoda mostly drops the act when Luke figures out who he is. My final reason, but not the last reason I have, is that Yoda is heard talking to Obi-Wan, saying that Luke was not ready. Besides, was Yoda ever completely sane. He was always wise, yes, but completely sane, no.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F! You say "My final reason, but not the last reason I have"; is there a reason for leaving out potential reasons?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 22:24

Yoda was being annoying and faking being crazy because he was testing Luke's patience to see if Luke is ready for Jedi training. If you remember the scene where Yoda and Luke are in Yoda's hut, Yoda started to talk to Obi-wan and said that Luke is not ready for training.

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    Do you have any evidence to support this at all? Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 7:31

Well, Yoda is (of course) a figment of the imagination. This is the first time he appears in this collection of stories and I believe that this was not some "act" on this characters part to dupe or test Luke. This is the way that Yoda was meant to be portrayed and was only later refined into some great leader of the Jedi to fill his role in earlier episodes. It is a major flaw that we Star Wars fans strive to correct by inventing these multiple theories. These theories that we concoct are wonderfully creative and I will gladly read and ponder them but, let us be earnest here. The character of Yoda, if a REAL living being, would be considered to be at best severely bipolar, and most likely he would be psychotic/and or in the grip of a multiple personality disorder. Please be kind to me in your replies. I LOVE SW...even the last 3 films and the cartoon(s). My wife makes fun of me and my buddies when we nerd out on SW. I do truly believe that when created Yoda was to be a much more hermit like individual with NO social graces. I don't think Lucas foresaw him EVER being a leading member of the Jedi High Council or schmoozing with dignitaries as he negotiated policy for millions upon millions of sentient beings. This high council Yoda would NEVER rifle through someones belongings and consume their food/steal trinkets and then have fisticuffs with a droid over it. NOT logical for someone that is SO in tune with the force. So, with that(and many other unlisted points) in mind I stand with my aforementioned premise that it is simply poor character development or character planning. Maybe he should have had Yoda suffer some type of brain damage that was not properly diagnosed or treated.....this I could believe would cause him to act in the manner he does when he meets Luke in the swamp. Damn, that is a pretty good idea! Just thought of that as I typed. Maybe some type of viral infection/mechanical injury that damaged his brain or neural chemistry could be worked into story. Sounds like a great fan fiction short story.

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    The theory that this is an act to test Luke isn't just conjured to fit into the prequel narrative of Yoda. The basis for this theory is completely encapsulated within Episode V. Yoda did not let on that he is the Jedi Master Luke is looking for, ambiguously promising to bring Luke to Yoda eventually. He purposely wasted time by constantly acting distracted and then settling down at home for a meal. Luke was getting increasingly frustrated and insisting to be brought to Yoda immediately, while Yoda constantly urged Luke to be patient. This constant urging for patience is a sign that Yoda is in Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 11:33
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    full control of his mental faculties, and is actively monitoring for and urging Luke to exhibit more of that most important quality a Jedi requires - patience. When Luke eventually burst out in a fit of anger due to his impatience - a dangerous sign that he too may be prone to darkness like Anakin was if allowed to be trained to be a Jedi - Yoda made his judgement, immediately dropping the act and telling Obi-Wan that the boy cannot be taught. That Obi-Wan tried to argue for Luke's case because Obi-Wan was just like Luke when Yoda took Obi-Wan in is a sign that Obi-Wan had been monitoring this Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 11:47
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    Welcome to SFF.SE. You state that you believe that upon his creation GL had not yet seen Yoda as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order in exile, he eventually turned out to be. Could you provide any sources supporting that opinion? Because otherwise it's not an answer, just an opinion - one you're obviously entitled to, but without evidence, it's likely to be downvoted and/or deleted, since we look for facts not (unsupported) fan theories on this site.
    – BMWurm
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 11:47
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    If Yoda was genuinely not his Jedi Master self, would Obi-Wan not sense that and attempt to knock him out of it? That he followed along showed this was planned. When Luke realised the truth and attempted to rectify the situation by persuading Yoda otherwise, we can see the final part of what is a common plot device used in narratives across space and time: The master expects a prospective student's visit > Pretends to be someone else > Acts out an encounter as a test > Said student fails it > Master reveals himself and say student's not worthy > Student tries to persuade the master otherwise. Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 11:57
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    Therefore, from within Episode V alone and without reference to any other movie in the series, we can see the entire theory being portrayed and proven. As a final note, you can see real world interviewers do similar things increasingly often these days - interviewees on the way to the interview encounter staff in disguise acting out a scenario and interviewers monitor how interviewees react to it via CCTV. Sorry for the long posts, but it was necessary to dissect the movie point by point in order to persuade the poster in this rebuttal. Thanks! Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 12:01

Living on a swamp planet for 20 years with limited if any contact with other sentient species has probably given Yoda a little bit of cabin fever.

The mischievousness is probably how he copes with the extreme loneliness and boredom brought on by his surroundings.

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    Also: when 900 years you are, just as senile will you be!
    – Marakai
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 11:54

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