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Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings - Essay Example

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Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings 1. Discuss Tolkien’s use of Beowulf in Lord of the Rings. Where does he borrow, where does he outright steal, and where is he only “inspired by” the original poem? Are there moments in Lord of the Rings in which Tolkien or his characters seem to be judging the people and culture of Beowulf?…
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Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings
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Download file to see previous pages However, a deeper study on the two texts also exposes further the similarities in the characters and central themes of the stories. For one, the stories do not just depict collective struggles between good and evil but also the more complicated battle within the self, the internal contradictions within an individual. This may even be the pattern that is the most common of both Beowulf and Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s first book, evil is presented as an external force and it takes solid determination from the side of the hero to battle this through physical means. Frodo is presented as just an innocent Hobbit who does not have any innate tendency to do evil and who treats evil instead as an external enemy just like other characters in Middle Earth. For the reader, identifying good and evil has been made simple through such a presentation, one that formulates the concept that battling evil is easy because it is an enemy that can be seen and detached from the self. It became convenient for one mark Gandalf as good and Sauron as evil in Lord of the Rings just Beowulf is and Grendel respectively in Beowulf. However, in the succeeding books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Tolkien began to describe more the internal struggles within. The typical good hero is presented as not really safe from temptations or from the urge to do evil too. The same thing happened in Beowulf when the lead character also experienced the contradictions between good and evil from within. In Tolkien’s book, even the innocent Frodo undergoes the difficulties of dealing the evil side of him that emerged when a ring was in his hand. At this point, the effect of both literary works on the readers is essentially the same. The reader realizes that battling evil and standing up for good is not that simple because evil can also arise from within, from one person’s mind and heart. Apparently, there seems to be a common theme between Tolkien’s story and Beowulf. However, it could not be discerned if the latter’s author really had this in mind, considering that Lord of the Rings is a reflection of Tolkien’s interpretation of Beowulf. It could be said that Tolkien stole the central theme of Beowulf in order to enhance his own literary creation. However, one may question how he actually wrote about Gollum’s character quite close to that of Grendel in Beowulf. Grendel is Cain’s descendant and, therefore, originated from humans despite his powers and great evil. Even Beowulf, whose strength is also remarkable, comes from the human race and therefore shares a common lineage with Grendel. This is not much different from the case of Lord of the Rings antagonist, Gollum. Gollum actually comes from the Middle Earth, with a Hobbit bloodline, particularly those of the Stoors. Frodo Baggins share a similarity with Gollum in this respect because he is the typical Hobbit himself. These specific depictions of common bloodlines and origins of characters representing opposite sides in the battle between good and evil emphasize further the theme that the struggle is not always external but internal too; that no one is absolutely free from evil tendencies. In Tolkien’s story, Sauron may be the epitome of evil but it is Gollum who represents best the tendency of Frodo to commit evil. In order to win against the evil represented ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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