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Old 01-07-2004, 07:32 AM   #1
Pile O'Bones
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Silmaril historical allegory/similarities between LOTR and human history

I am aware that the question whether LOTR resembles WW II has been discussed at length at this forum.

What I would like to talk about is whether historical allegory in a more general sense can be found in the books.
Is the story, as M. Steiner suggests in his excellent essay in the articles section, a portrayal of any given decade in human history where war is a predominant factor?
Or is there no historical allegory at all, since the process and conclusion of the war differ from any historical battle in human history.

I feel inclined to believe the latter, since I cannot think of any combat where the rulers would not have utilized the ring.

I admit that there are similarities between the story and historical phaenomena, such as the dread imposed by war, or the social and political structure of Rohan and Gondor, which resemble the feudal structure of medieval times. Tolkien's fictional world rests upon characteristics of the real world, but I would feel reluctant to describe them as allegory
elan sla lmen' omentielvo
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Old 01-07-2004, 08:49 AM   #2
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Oooo, quick, before half the forum jumps down your throat, change "Allegory" to "Applicability" in the title of your thread! "Allegory" is a four-letter-word, but "Applicability" is okay.

[img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] Neat topic!
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Old 01-07-2004, 07:31 PM   #3
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I don't know if I'd call it allegory, but since Tolkien heavily based Middle-earth upon certain events, places, and peoples of our world, many similarities would exist. You said that one similarity was the dread caused by war. The reactions of the Rohirrim and the Gondorians are similar to our reactions because we are all human. We all share certain characteristics and personality traits that make us act in very similar ways. You cannot say the same thing about the Elves, though. They are a "humanoid" race, ergo we would share some characteristics, but not as many as we share with our counterparts, the Edain. They react to situations differently, because that is how they were "made," as a race. They were intended to react differently, ergo, they do.
But Melkor also was there, and he came to the house of Fanor, and there he slew Finw King of the Noldor before his doors, and spilled the first blood in the Blessed Realm; for Finw alone had not fled from the horror of the Dark.
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