Free Study Guide for The Lord of the Rings J. R. R. Tolkien
Aragorn, one of the greatest characters of The Lord of the Rings, does things quietly and with much thought. He roams Middle-earth gathering information that will aid the Ring bearer in his quest. He does this without revealing his true identity and even posts his men, the rangers around the Shire, to protect its people. He does his duty to his ancestors. He reforges the Sword Anduril and gives the Dead a chance to redeem themselves. He is a good king, who looks to the interests of his people and does not try to grab opportunities unscrupulously. Arwen gives up her right to immortality so that she may marry Aragorn. She lets Frodo go to the Blessed Realm instead of herself, and Frodo rightly deserves the honor.
The Ents know that their end is near. They cannot find Ent wives and they know their race is doomed. Yet, they spend their precious lives and time on the storming of Isengard. Their sense of responsibility is great, as is that of Faramir and Boromir. These two brothers try to do their fatherís bidding: Boromir goes to Rivendell to get help from Elrond while Faramir goes to Osgiliath to protect the borders of Minas Tirith, even though he knows that is a fatal task.
Tolkien has stressed the importance of altruism and responsibility. The god characters always manage to do their duty even if it is at the cost of oneís life. They know that a greater good is served by their individual sacrifice.
Middle-earth is a creation of Tolkienís imagination. It is peopled by many creatures of different groups. All these creatures have their own social and moral codes that correspond to their groups. However different they may be from each other, they understand the value of peace and harmony.
One of Tolkien's themes is the importance of racial harmony. This is epitomized by the friendship between Legolas the Elf and Gimli, the Dwarf. This friendship represents and ideal. Interestingly, the races of Middle-earth remain separate for much of the novel. But when the War of the Rings begins, they come together as a united front. This is Tolkienís vision.
Tolkienís Middle-earth is not covertly Christian, but as Paul Kocher remarks "it contains many of the transcendent elements of a more than pantheistic religion." There is an underlying scheme of values and rituals of religion and the emphasis placed on pity and forgiveness is definitely Christian. There are examples of sacrifice and redemption, as well as forgiveness and rebirth. These religious themes lend authenticity to the imaginary world of Middle-earth.
Tolkien has invented not only names but also languages for the different races of Middle-earth. The Elves speak a language that is soft and pleasant sounding; the orcs, on the other hand, have a language that is just as bad as their behavior.
Tolkienís attention to detail is remarkable. With each change in status, the characters are given new names. Strider becomes Aragorn who then is crowned king Elessar. Tom Bombadil has many names and is called different names by different races. Even the speeches or talking style of the characters in different. Treebeard the Ent, who is the oldest living thing on Middle-earth, talks in long sentences. The Hobbits, on the other hand, are short and to the point in their speech.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on The Lord of the Rings".
. 09 May 2017