The Lord of the Rings

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The Lord of the Rings
-J.R.R. Tolkien-

I choose this book because it has a complex analysis of the society done by Tolkien. The book gives a vision of the continue strife between Right and Wrong, Good and Evil, the capacity to resist or not the every strong seduction of Power. Gollum, the corrupted Hobbit, is in permanent opposition to Samvise who is the only character that has the power to resist the immense attraction of the Ring. Samvise (even though he was apparently selected by error) together with Frodo, the actual Owner of the Ring, in a desperate trip complete the task of destroying the Ring Samvise will accomplish their duty because of his enormous power of will, that Frodo probably doesn’t have. Allthough the work has a of lot a strange characters like monsters, invented people, fantastic beings, it gives an acute analysis of the humans psicology: it presents Evil like eternal seductor of men in general and perversity as a difficulty to avoid. The Tolkienian characters are continuosly being proved by the questions they have to confront. Sometimes they can oppose them, sometimes they cannot do it. This kind of pecularity makes the characters more human, they are grey, not white or black.
Analysis of book
In The Lord of the Rings Tolkien demonstrates the evolution of a literary world. In The Hobbit, often considered a prologue to The Lord of the Rings, he created a kind of being with no parallel in literature; in The Lord of the Rings he expands his single hobbit hero into four hobbit companions and an assortment of helpers and enemies. The character of Bilbo from The Hobbit returns in The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of The Lord of the Rings. The central adventure of the story spans three volumes, each divided into two books. Each of the six books builds to its own climactic ending, but an intricate system of interlacing allows the reader to move easily with the characters as the author fills in more details about the geography of Middle-earth, the history of its inhabitants, and the progress of the quest. The expansive background against which the central action takes place conveys a sense of the universality of the conflict between good and evil. In this world everyone needs the support of others in overcoming obstacles and in doing good. Many of the background sections treat the nature of evil as a distortion of what could have been good. Basic to the history of the One Ring is the thirst for power of its creator, Sauron. In the central volume of The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, the desire for the power inherent in the Ring has also corrupted the wizard Saruman. Tolkien's analysis of the corrupting nature of power explains why three of his strongest forces for good—Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn—refuse to take the Ring and why Bilbo is unable to resist its control. As the story develops, one major source of Bilbo’s distant cousin Frodo's internal conflict lies in the pull of the ring itself. The success of Frodo's quest flows from mercy, friendship, endurance, and the courage to risk life and happiness for the good of others. Physically Middle-earth resembles modern Earth. It is the inhabitants that add the touch of unreality that a reader expects in what Tolkien calls a "secondary" world. In making a world for his hobbits, elves, wizards, dwarves, ents, orcs, ringwraiths, and other unusual beings, Tolkien assumes the creative rights that he says in his essay "On Fairy-stories" belong to the storyteller: the right to be free with nature; to use the world as a basis to make something new, while giving this new world its principles of inner consistency. Much of the mythology and history of Middle-earth comes through songs that pervade the narrative, but a more organized "history", complete with dates for the four ages of Middle-earth and genealogies of major families of elves, dwarves, hobbits, and human beings, is included as an appendix to the third volume. The enduring conflict between good and evil is the underlying theme of The Lord of the Rings, but Tolkien develops other themes in connection with it. He explores the positive and negative sides of power, the nature of heroism, and the role of friendship. To Frodo Baggins, favourite cousin of the ring-finder Bilbo Baggins, is entrusted the task of saving Middle-earth from the control of the master of evil, Sauron. Frodo's task reverses the basic quest pattern: instead of finding a treasure, Frodo is sent to destroy what Sauron values above all—the One Ring. Sauron has poured much of his power into the One Ring to strengthen his control over the 19 Rings of Power. Of these 19 rings, only the Three made by the elves for themselves have never been touched by

Sauron and his evil. The Seven, originally distributed to dwarf leaders, have been destroyed and do not affect events in the story. The major concentration of evil confronted by Frodo comes from the Ringwraiths, or Nazgul, who are men enslaved by Sauron through the Nine Rings. Sauron, having learned from Gollum the whereabouts of the One Ring, sends the Nazgul to recover it. Since the defeat in which the Ring was cut from his hand, Sauron himself can no longer assume a physical form. He can, however, act through those who have submitted their minds and wills to his service. The nature of the Rings of Power and of the Ringwraiths is made clear to Frodo before he accepts responsibility for destroying the Ring. The wizard Gandalf and Elrond, great leader of the elves of Middle-earth, determine who will accompany Frodo on his quest. To match the number of Nazgul, they include nine individuals in the Fellowship of the Ring, representing the people of Middle-earth: four hobbits (Frodo, his servant Sam, and two young friends, Pippin and Merry); the elf Legolas; the dwarf Gimli; two men, Aragorn and Boromir; and Gandalf himself. The fellows all demonstrate some aspect of heroism. Gandalf has an aura of supernatural power. He risks his life and his power when he is pitted against other supernatural forces: his fellow wizard Saruman, turned evil by desire for the Ring; the Balrog of Moria, who leads him to at least a symbolic death; and the Lord of the Nazgul, who is reinforced by the great strength of Sauron. Gandalf’s heroism is beyond human imitation. Human heroes abound in The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn, Boromir, his brother Faramir, the aged Theoden, Eowyn and Eomer (Theoden's niece and nephew), and the many warriors of Rohan and Gondor. Boromir at one point yields to the power of the Ring, trying to take it from Frodo, but he recognizes his weakness almost immediately and dies defending the younger hobbits, Pippin and Merry. Aragorn, descended from two great marriages of elves and mortals, has a grace and power beyond that of mere human leaders. With this heritage he seems like one of the great epic heroes of the past, just as Tolkien's story itself at times echoes the heroic epic world. Aragorn plans, leads, encourages, and heals; he is always ready to risk his life for the salvation of others. When the royal line of the great kings of the West is "returned" to power by him, the free peoples of Middle-earth can again find justice and the age of men can begin. The most "human" heroes are the four hobbits. Although at first they do not fully understand the dangers of the quest, their commitment grows in proportion to their knowledge of the nature of their enemies. Frodo undergoes the greatest test because the forces of Sauron concentrate their attacks on him. He is also tested by the Ring, by Gollum whom a lesser hero might have killed for his own safety, and by physical strain. Although Frodo at the last moment yields to the evil pull of the ring, he is saved by his own virtue: the pity that had spared Gollum. Frodo carries a sword, but he rarely uses it, except when he futilely strikes at the Lord of Nazgul; his heroism lies more in endurance than in battle. Sam, like his master, endures, but he is called to fight against Gollum, Shelob, and the orcs. He delights in hearing the orcs misidentify him as a great elven warrior. Sam's major role in the narrative is that of loyal friend. However, he is also the voice of normality, longing for the beauty of home, his family and friends in the Shire, his garden, and his pots and pans. Like Sam, Pippin and Merry exemplify friendship and heroism on a more attainable level. They are too small to fight the orcs who capture them, but they outwit them and travel with Fangorn and the ents to overcome Saruman. Back in the Shire after the destruction of the ring, Sam, Pippin, and Merry all share in the battle against more "normal" enemies: mere men. Neither Elrond nor Galadriel participate in the quest, but they do contribute to its outcome. Elrond's power rescues Frodo from the Nazgul attack and his wound; and it is at Elrond's home that the fellowship is formed. Galadriel's gifts, especially Frodo's phial of light and the seeds of new life in Sam's box, symbolize the life-giving nature of the elves. When Galadriel later tells Frodo that the destruction of the One Ring will probably destroy the power of the Three Rings, it becomes clear how much the elves are sacrificing for the success of the quest. The 19 Rings of Power made by the elves of old had originally been formed as objects of goodness and beauty; it was Sauron who turned the rings he touched into sources of evil. Tolkien demonstrates how goodness can be perverted into evil, but he also shows that evil in turn can be overcome.
In his preface to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien distinguishes between allegory and the applicability of works of literature to life. While he disclaims having imposed any allegorical significance on his story, he asserts the right of readers to apply the meaning of the story to their own lives as they see fit. In light of this disclaimer, it seems contrary to Tolkien’s intention to interpret The Lord of the Rings as political or social allegory, as some critics have done. On the other hand, readers of all generations can apply to their own age some of the overall principles embodied in the story. The fact, for example, that elves, dwarves, hobbits, and human beings can set aside major differences to work together for the welfare of Middle-earth can be extended to a hope that modern human races can set aside their differences, no more deeply embedded than the distrust between dwarves and elves. Many battles take place in Middle-earth—often violent and bloody ones. The heroes fight bravely, sometimes against terrible odds, but the "good" characters do not rejoice in fighting, except perhaps when Fangorn and the ents delight in overthrowing the tree destroyers, Saruman and his orcs, or when Legolas and Gimli compete over the number of orcs slain. Before the Battle of Bywater, after the return to the Shire, Frodo directs his companions to avoid killing their enemies if possible. Even Saruman would have been spared if his own cruelty had not provoked the enslaved Grima to turn against him. Evil is readily recognizable by its ugliness and by its fruits. Goodness is equally recognizable and its fruits are more lasting. The author does not preach, but his good characters exemplify in action the virtues of mercy, perseverance, generosity, and friendship. Sauron, Saruman, and the Ringwraiths all embody the vices of hatred, greed, and the thirst for power. The influence of Sauron on those who once were normal men demonstrates the pervasiveness of evil, as does the ugliness of Sauron's land, Mordor. While the destruction of Sauron and the Ringwraiths suggests that evil can be overcome, it does not imply that the destruction of a major source of evil eliminates all evil. The Southrons continue to fight after Sauron's power has collapsed, Saruman's petty destroyers of good continue their work in the Shire, and Aragorn finds it necessary to establish guardians for his borders. Middle-earth after Sauron is no utopia, but it is a world very much like ours, one worth cultivating to bring forth beauty and goodness. In Gondor and in the Shire hope lives on. The author creates two major challenges for himself in structuring the three volumes: deepening the story's historical dimensions and uniting the many narrative strands. To make Frodo's quest part of a more cosmic struggle, Tolkien continues to evolve the history of Middle-earth, using Gandalf and Elrond to relate the ancient history of Sauron, the Lord of the Rings. He also supplies many glimpses of the mythological and legendary past through songs, allusions, and tales told by elves, dwarves, ents, and mortals. Tolkien allows information to seep through gradually. The Black Riders, for example, appear several times, each time causing deeper dread in the hobbits, before they are identified as the Ringwraiths. Aragorn's nobility also impresses itself on the reader in stages, not only through his historical deeds but also through revelations about his descent from legendary heroes. The destruction of the Ring and the crowning of Aragorn complete a chain of events stretching back from the end of the third age to the creation of elves and men in the first age. The compact history of Middle-earth in the appendix provides a broader explanation for many of the allusions within The Lord of the Rings itself; several sections of the appendix also extend into the future. While Tolkien is deepening the overall dimensions of the War of the Ring, he also interlaces separate narrative threads to tell of the great deeds of the Fellowship. In the first volume the action moves forward smoothly and quickly, adventures following one another chronologically and flashbacks deepening the story without blurring the time sequence. After the breakup of the fellowship, however, Tolkien links the activities of the separated fellows by a more intricate system of flashbacks, foreshadowing, retellings, and allusions to what is happening simultaneously at other places. After the death of Boromir, Tolkien traces two groups of six fellows; later (in book five) the narrative becomes even more complex because the fellows have re-formed into three groups. Isengard and Minas Tirith provide not only meeting places where the six fellows can explain recent events to one another (and to the reader), but also dramatic events to which the story of Frodo and Sam can be linked.

At the end of the final volume, The Return of the King, Tolkien completes the cycle with the hobbits' return to the Shire after Aragorn's coronation and wedding. In the account of the journey home, the reader learns what has happened to several characters from the earlier stages of the quest. Tolkien leaves no loose ends in his narrative. Saruman, for example, is removed from Middle-earth; Sam's friend Bill, the pony, reappears to bring revenge on his old master and joy to Sam; Lobelia Sackville-Baggins proves that goodness can assume many guises. When the narrator finally reveals who has the Ring of Fire, the source of Gandalf's pervasive fire-creating power becomes clear. Throughout The Lord of the Rings Tolkien exemplifies his views on true fantasy. He produces an inner consistency within the secondary world so that what happens there follows consistent principles. Although some of the inhabitants of Middle-earth remain foreign to the "real" world, they fit convincingly within the Tolkien cosmos. Those who appear repeatedly always act according to their natures. Orcs, for example, are cruel, crude, ugly, and quarrelsome; they love darkness and hate sunlight. When the orcs do not shrink from the sun, Aragorn sees their actions as a sign of Saruman's greater control over them. Ents are consistent in their hatred of orcs and in their longing to see the lost entwives again. Their legends, their tree-like distinctions of personality, and the fitting traits of their leader Fangorn add a touch of humour and a sense of the role of nature in the history of the world. The strangeness of talking trees is explained by their relationship with elves, who befriended ents in the past and taught them to speak. Whenever elves appear, they are beautiful and good; they love starlight, water, and trees. The mythic significance of their "Star Queen", Elbereth, permeates the story, as does the concept of the movement of the elves over the sea to the west. The final sailing of the elves with Gandalf and the two ring-bearers provides an ending in accordance with elven tradition and with the cyclic narrative.