“You will not bow before Snoke.” -Rey, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
As I examine the character of Snoke, it becomes apparent that he is a stand-in for the kind of psychological turmoil that would be experienced by a person in Ben Solo’s position. While it’s apparent that Snoke in the Star Wars universe is a personal entity that is adversarial and interacts with the other characters, it seems to me that he’s an allegory for something experienced by those with mental illness and emotional trauma in the real world.
Snoke seems to be a stand-in for unwelcome, demanding voices as experienced by someone with a psychosis.
While the cause of such voices is still not fully understood, it seems they are caused by thoughts in a person’s own head, which the brain wrongly interprets as audible. This phenomenon can be caused by, among other things, prolonged stress or perhaps just inadequate sleep.
In persons with obsessive-compulsive disorder, a person’s unwanted thoughts can “take over” making them believe that they have to do certain things. At first, it’s usually trivial and ritualistic tasks, like how a person washes their hands. But conceivably, these thoughts can develop into “voices” that can “guide” them into some poor life choices. There are cases where the voices have a spiritual meaning to the person experiencing them, and they might wrongly attribute them to the divine!
Considering this, the allegory of Snoke becomes much more apparent. For one thing, his voice sounds almost exactly how a judgmental internal voice would sound: wise enough to sound like they’d have answers to the person’s problems, but can even be loud and abusive if there exists even a minute flaw.
Also noteworthy is that Snoke demanded continual sacrifices to placate him, and what’s more, what he demanded was whatever could give Ben hope outside of Snoke himself. Evil voices demand similar sacrifices! It was Snoke who pressured Ben into killing his father, who was a connection to Ben’s old life. When Ben did kill his father, it still wasn’t enough. What’s more, the fact that Ben felt conflicted about it was enough to invalidate the sacrifice as far as Snoke was concerned!
Ben then felt pressured into killing his own mother, and to his credit, he didn’t go through with it. However, Ben’s conflict was noteworthy enough for him to bring up again when meeting Rey. Snoke was willing to condemn Ben for his mere thoughts!
But it’s interesting that Snoke would have such direct access to Ben’s thoughts, especially considering that he couldn’t do the same to Rey without the assistance of a force-ability designed to that end. For some reason, Snoke had more direct access to Ben.
Snoke has been manipulating Ben for a long time. Ben was coming to realize that, if Snoke had his way, the abuse would be continual.
So Ben killed Snoke.
For a long time, Snoke pulled Ben along with the idea that he could bring out Ben’s potential. But the reality was, Snoke was intent on continually using him. With Snoke dead, Ben ascended to the position of Supreme Leader of the First Order, and in so doing, he began to rise to live up to his potential.
”The Supreme Leader is dead.” -Kylo Ren
”Long live the Supreme Leader.” -Armitage Hux