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Old 10-31-2004, 03:38 PM   #41
Aiwendil
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Bethberry wrote:
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This is, to me, what accounts for the kind of frustration which Imladris has identified here.
This is interesting. I had always considered the compromise between mythology and theology to be one of the strong points of the Silmarillion, that which elevates it above both the purely mythological (i.e. ancient) and the purely theological (i.e., in this case, Christian). I suppose one person's profound satisfaction is another's insatiable frustration.

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This is why, for me, the question of whether the eucatastrophe 'exists' in the text or in the reader is a fruitless dichotomy. It exists where the reader brings his or her mind to bear on the story
Which is to say (and please forgive my pedantry) that it is subjective and dependent on the reader (for in either case it's dependent on the text). Certainly there is some event that occurs in a reader's mind on reading the relevant text. We may as well call this "eucatastrophe". But that definition does not answer the question: is there an object in the text itself that we could define as the "eucatastrophe inducer" for lack of a better term (i.e. if we reserve "eucatastrophe" itself for the event between the book and the reader)?
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Old 10-31-2004, 03:51 PM   #42
Imladris
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Tolkien

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is there an object in the text itself that we could define as the "eucatastrophe inducer" for lack of a better term (i.e. if we reserve "eucatastrophe" itself for the event between the book and the reader)?
Yes, the glimpse of joy, the glimpse Evangelium. In other words, the ultimate Myth -- the Christian story. That's how Tolkien defines it I believe.

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This is interesting. I had always considered the compromise between mythology and theology to be one of the strong points of the Silmarillion, that which elevates it above both the purely mythological (i.e. ancient) and the purely theological (i.e., in this case, Christian). I suppose one person's profound satisfaction is another's insatiable frustration.
I find no joy in the Christian/Silmarillion story, thus this glimpse of "joy" is not an euctastrophe for me I suppose. I love the way that Tolkien weaved mythology and theology together. The fact that he did that, though, doesn not make the ending of this story a eucatastrophy, but a doom with no hope.

Of course, as I believe that Bethberry touched on, we may not know Tolkien's true feelings, as the book was not finished before his death.
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Old 12-02-2004, 05:38 AM   #43
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little late, but still...

I'm new here: I came upon the word eucatastrophe and had to react on one of the comments.

I read somewhere that the eucatastrophe in LOTR was the crumbling of the Black Gate.

Of course the eucatastrophe is the destruction of the ring, which was against all odds.
By doing it, you change the world you wanted to save. That is the logic of terror, either way you lose. By fulfilling your task, you undo the reason for your task (because the One is bond to the powers of the Three).

More precise: the eucatastrophic element is the moment when Frodo finds out about the ring. Once he knows the facts, he can't deny them. That is the terrifying power of a vocation.
It's in the knowledge: things will never be the same...(sacrifice and resurrection in one, like Christ)

Last edited by ivo; 12-02-2004 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 12-02-2004, 03:08 PM   #44
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Good points, ivo, and welcome to the Downs!

Any thoughts on the topic here, eucatastrophe (or lack thereof) in the Silmarillion?
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Old 12-02-2004, 07:49 PM   #45
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Yes, the glimpse of joy, the glimpse Evangelium. In other words, the ultimate Myth -- the Christian story.
If we were to look at the phrase that began Tolkien's myth for him, the one in Old English concerning Earendel, ...

EDIT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crist of Cynewulf
"Eala Earendel engla beorhtast, ofer Middangeard monnum sended..."
Quote:
Hail Earendel, angel brightest, over Midgard to men sent
... then one may reasonably conclude that Earendel would be analogous to the Messiah. There are a couple of ways one might look at the analogy, but if one made it as direct as possible, then (in the interest, or hope, of discovering the eucatastrophe from a comparison with Tolkien's One True Myth), -- if, I say, one were to construct such an analogy, then one might parallel them thus:

Christ --------- Earendil
Incarnation ---------parents Idril and Tuor
early life ---------Gondolin
ministry---------adulthood
final journey---------takes ship westward
passion---------offering of Silmaril
(at this point it gets hazy, but one take might be: )
death ---------placed in sky as morning star
resurrection ---------return to defeat Morgoth
ascension --------- back into the sky again
(admittedly there are other options that one might choose for parallels.
I myself prefer a slightly different one, I think. Maybe.
But I submit this simply for the sake of the argument that follows. )

Okay. Having said that:

Tolkien stated that the Gospel is the One True Myth, the incarnation & passion & resurrection of Christ is the ultimate eucatastrophe. So (if we were to go by comparison) then Earendil's voyage, placing, return, and re-return would be the analogous events.

However-- note that in all this, the surrounding folk don't have it so easy. Even those closely allied with Christ -- where was the 'happy ending' for them? No picnic there! Mary got to watch her son die a brutal, horrifying death. All the apostles but John were executed, many crucified. Lots of folk became lion fodder. Martyrdom abounded. Persecution was intense.

Early church life was as bleak as the Silmarillion in its own way. It was the Long Defeat. Or at least, it sure looked like one. So in the book of Acts, and even in the rest of the New Testament (excluding Revelation), where is the eucatastrophe?

It's not at the end of the story. It's not even in the middle. Its at the beginning.

The eucatastrophe that Tolkien calls The One True Myth, had comparitively little physical evdence. There were no crumbling towers, panicking armies, volcanoes, or the like. The main evidence was located in humble places where the historians of the time paid little or no attention.

However, that life, the beginning and the 'earthly ending', is the event which Tolkien calls the ultimate eucatastrophe. It took place almost entirely invisibly. Yet to the christian it is the pivot point of history. Physically it is immersed in suffering, hardship, executions, persecution and martyrdom; the essential monumental moment of victory is invisible.

That is, unless you happen to be standing in Valinor, as Earendil offers up the Silmaril.
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Last edited by mark12_30; 12-03-2004 at 04:21 PM. Reason: Supply Earendel quote
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