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Old 10-18-2016, 04:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
So in Middle Earth, there is a choice, or in some cases a compulsion, to evil. What fuels such choices or compulsions?
Excellent revivification!

There's a temptation, I think, to distinguish between the greater evil servants--the Maiarin servants: balrogs and dragons--and the lesser: orks and trolls, on the basis of their differing origins. The nature of the former is corruption of a different--and higher--order of being. Of course, this is muddled more than a little by Tolkien's failure to settle on definitive origins for his evil races, but setting aside his failure to provide us with a definitive explanation of HOW the evil races came about, I think we could generalise by saying that there is a distinction between the "demonic" races on the one hand and the "humanoid" races on the other.

In the case of the fallen Maiar, the utter origins of evil are a bit more inscrutable: WHY does an immortal spirit that has directly experienced the presence of Ilúvatar choose Melkor? I couldn't say... though I think you can say that it was, in fact, a choice. Once chosen, though, this evil seems to be locked in. Sauron is the only evil Maia in the historical ages to be given a chance at redemption. Ossë, of course, flirted with evil in the prehistorical days, but ultimately didn't fall. Personally, I'm inclined to say that evidence suggests that incarnation--taking physical form and becoming bound to it--in some way represents the irrevocability of the choice made by the evil Maia. Once locked into a physical form--and a physical form (ie. as either a balrog or a dragon) that directly indicates the evil of the choice made--this becomes an unalterable part of their nature.

With regards to the orks and even trolls, however, I think that they have less choice in the matter--less personal choice, that is: they are clearly borne into it, and this is thrust upon them in a way even Melkor could not thrust it upon the balrogs. On other hand, orks and trolls do not seem to be quite as locked into it. Although predisposed toward evil, they seem to have the leeway to slough it off. This is harder to definitively argue: there are no actual cases of orkish repentance in Middle-earth, but I do think it is consistent with the portrayal of orks in The Lord of the Rings to say that they have more action-to-action free agency to choose good or evil--of course, given their environment and perhaps genetics, they are disposed to choose one way.
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