Originally Posted by Traab
Even then he came close to losing. He tempted anakin in to joining him, luke he tried to enrage. He wanted luke to lose himself to hate, not to pledge undying loyalty to palpy. At least, not at the start. Thats why the confrontation took place while giving luke a window seat to watching everyone he cared about face death against the fully operational death star. He wanted luke to feel despair, hate, rage, then he could twist luke from there into being an apprentice. It was definitely more heavy handed than his campaign to lure anakin, but then, palpatine had to be REALLY subtle to avoid drawing attention from the entire jedi order at that point.
In that light, it make's Palpatine seem much less foolhardy. In fact, it makes me feel like Palpatine wasn't really trying to get Luke to change sides at all. Rather, he was trying to get Luke to do the same thing Anakin did to the Sand People...just a step down a darker path, not a cannonball.
Extrapolating, had Luke given in to his anger, I could see Palpatine glorying in it, rubbing it in, and subduing Luke when he came to his senses. Then engineering his escape in such a way that he continues to take steps down the path to the Dark Side.