The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-03-2003, 04:58 PM   #1
little_bit_odd
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Shield Eowin kills Witch-King: Allegory?

I've heard that Tolkien disliked allegory, but it seems like this scene depicts the fall of an oppressive government.

The Witch-King is the Military dictatorship, or other dysfunctional government, and Eowyn is an activist. When everyone else runs away or cowers in fear (or is otherwise preoccupied with basic survival) when the Nazgul appears, Eowyn is brave and even arrogant.

The Nazgul says no man can defeat him, she cracks a sort of joke, saying that she is not a man, but a woman! She runs up and starts fighting, and wounds the Witch-King.

Then she starts to lose, briefly, before she gets the support of the hobbit (everyman, common people)who literally cuts the legs out from under the Nazgul (as the government would have its 'legs' cut out from under it when it loses the fear or support of the people)

Perhaps I'm just reading too much into this, but I think that even if it is not an allegory, Eowyn's victory is more symbolic because she has the courage to fight the Nazgul, and that is what defeats him, not the actual stabbing. I am reminded of the "Legend of Roland" in French history, in which the hero is killed not by a physical wound, but by being forced to admit weakness and blow his 'oliphant' horn for backup in battle. As soon as he blows the horn for help, blood shoots out his ears and he dies.

Thank you, Ultimatejoe, for pointing out my spelling error. I hope I have fixed it, and not made it worse.

[ February 04, 2003: Message edited by: little_bit_odd ]
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2003, 05:47 PM   #2
burrahobbit
Hidden Spirit
 
burrahobbit's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1,436
burrahobbit has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

No, because
Quote:
Tolkien disliked allegory
__________________
What's a burrahobbit got to do with my pocket, anyways?
burrahobbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2003, 09:54 PM   #3
Legolas
A Northern Soul
 
Legolas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Valinor
Posts: 1,846
Legolas has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

You've confused allegory with applicability.

Allegory is when something is written specifically to represent something else.

Applicability is when two different, unrelated things can be compared in principle - finding parellels.

I have given quotes from Tolkien that speak of this matter in my post here.
__________________
...take counsel with thyself, and remember who and what thou art.
Legolas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2003, 10:20 PM   #4
Ultimatejoe
Wight
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario
Posts: 125
Ultimatejoe has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Ultimatejoe
Sting

This is a post-structuralist nightmare.

On edit: Tolkien certainly never implied any sort of message with the character of Eowin since nobody of that name appears anywhere in his writing.

[ February 03, 2003: Message edited by: Ultimatejoe ]
__________________
Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.
-Leonardo Da Vinci
Ultimatejoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2003, 02:57 PM   #5
Balin999
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
Posts: 521
Balin999 has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Balin999
Sting

Quote:
Perhaps I'm just reading too much into this
Yup, I think you do. I think the "Just-try-it"-Symbol goes more with the Hobbits. They are very small and weak to the world outside the Shire, but in the end one of them nearly beats Sauron in the end.
__________________
...Nichts ist gelber als Gelb selber...

...The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, but conformity...

...Everything is possible, except to ski through a revolving door...
Balin999 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2003, 04:45 PM   #6
Jellinek
Pile O'Bones
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 23
Jellinek has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

It just reminded me of MacBeth, who also could not be killed unless... (several reasons, one of them to do with not being 'from woman born')
Jellinek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2003, 03:12 PM   #7
Aredhelaran
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 31
Aredhelaran has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

I don't think Tolkien even realized that it could be allegory. Plus, you can take almost everything and turn it in some way into allegory. Tolkien very much disliked allegory, ehich is one reason he disliked one of his best friends works, C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia.
Aredhelaran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2003, 03:26 PM   #8
Lady Of Light
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: VA
Posts: 26
Lady Of Light has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Lady Of Light Send a message via AIM to Lady Of Light
Sting

Dear me all, we are cutting poor "little_bit_old" down, aren't we? I know that Tolkien disliked allegory, and I'm not saying that this is allegory, because it isn't. However, the beauty in Tolkien's work is that everyone can find meaning in it, weather it be relating the struggles of the characters to your own personal struggles, or to something political as this person chose to do. That is a really interesting parallel, though it was definitely not intended it works very well. Tolkien's writing is said to be applicable because everyone relates to it at some level, and thats the most important thing.
__________________
The knight looked to her with reproval, and she laughed, and he could not help but join in.
Lady Of Light is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2003, 07:49 PM   #9
Keeper of Dol Guldur
Shade of Carn Dm
 
Keeper of Dol Guldur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: 315, CNY Boys and girls.
Posts: 405
Keeper of Dol Guldur has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

It's just another example of art imitating life/life imitating art/what works in one place almost certainly works about a million other ways. Just like how a cell works like a whole organism, etc...
__________________
"I come from yonder...Have you seen Baggins? Baggins has left, he is coming. He is not far away. I wish to find him. If he passes will you tell me? I will come back with gold." - Khamul the Easterling
Keeper of Dol Guldur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2003, 08:45 PM   #10
burrahobbit
Hidden Spirit
 
burrahobbit's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1,436
burrahobbit has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

It's not like that at all.
__________________
What's a burrahobbit got to do with my pocket, anyways?
burrahobbit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2003, 08:23 AM   #11
Daisy Brambleburr
Shade of Carn Dm
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 334
Daisy Brambleburr has just left Hobbiton.
Pipe

Quote:
I don't think Tolkien even realized that it could be allegory. Plus, you can take almost everything and turn it in some way into allegory. Tolkien very much disliked allegory, ehich is one reason he disliked one of his best friends works, C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia.
That sounds interesting. I've read CS Lewis' Narnia books but never noticed any allegorys. Call me stupid for not noticing, but can anyone tell me about them? I know this is a little off track, but I'm intrigued as to what they are.
__________________
'What news from the South, O sighing wind, do you bring to me at eve?
Where now is Boromir the Fair? He tarries and I grieve.'
Daisy Brambleburr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2003, 02:51 PM   #12
Estelyn Telcontar
Princess of Skwerlz
 
Estelyn Telcontar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: where the Sea is eastwards (WtR: 6060 miles)
Posts: 7,529
Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Silmaril

Daisy, try typing Narnia or Lewis into the box on the search function; you should find plenty of discussions that might help you there.
__________________
'Mercy!' cried Gandalf. 'If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What more do you want to know?' 'The whole history of Middle-earth...'
Estelyn Telcontar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2003, 04:36 PM   #13
Wren
Pile O'Bones
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Deep in the Woods
Posts: 11
Wren has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Wren Send a message via AIM to Wren
Sting

I think it is a bit of a stretch to say that Eowyn symbolized an activist. If anything Sauron could have symbolized Hitler, and Eowyn the Jews who were so mistreated during WWII.

I don't really think this is the case either, but it is an example of how we can see our own political views in a wonderful story.
Wren is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2003, 10:54 AM   #14
Finwe
Deathless Sun
 
Finwe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Royal Suite in the Halls of Mandos
Posts: 2,609
Finwe has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Finwe
Sting

I think that you can compare Tolkien's books to just about anything in our world or in our history. His books have so many themes that are relevant today, that it is very easy to compare, say, Eowyn's killing of the Witch-King, to the overthrow of an oppressive government.
__________________
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.
Finwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2003, 08:11 PM   #15
Westerly Wizard
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 72
Westerly Wizard has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Even if you were to only bring this idea to the level of applicability, and not allegory, I think it would be quite a poor reading of the passage to think it should be applied to the overthrow of an oppressive regime.
__________________
"He was sent by a mere prudent plan of the angelic Valar or governors; but Authority had taken up this plan and enlarged it, at the moment of its failure."
Westerly Wizard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2003, 02:42 PM   #16
Finwe
Deathless Sun
 
Finwe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Royal Suite in the Halls of Mandos
Posts: 2,609
Finwe has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Finwe
Sting

Besides, the poor old Professor would be turning in his grave if he found out that we were comparing Eowyn killing the Witch-King to the downfall of an oppressive government. In the Letters, he specifically said that he didn't have anything like that in mind when he wrote the story. He just wanted to write the story, not compare it to anything else. Besides, he hated allegory.
__________________
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.
Finwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2003, 02:48 PM   #17
Lord of Angmar
Tyrannus Incorporalis
 
Lord of Angmar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: the North
Posts: 833
Lord of Angmar has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

I agree. While I am sure that many things in Tolkien's life influenced his writing, I am equally sure that he did not mean for any of the tales of Middle Earth in any way, shape or form to stand for something else alegorically. LotR is simply meaningful, well-crafted fantasy that will always have parallels to life in the real world.
__________________
...where the instrument of intelligence is added to brute power and evil will, mankind is powerless in its own defence.
Lord of Angmar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2003, 06:31 PM   #18
Morgoth the Great
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Thangorodrim
Posts: 59
Morgoth the Great has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

how dare you insult him like that! Tolkien did not write allegoricaly, he was imaginitive! now be quiet, im shunning you [img]smilies/mad.gif[/img]
__________________
Walking to Rivendell: 130 miles. tiring it is too precious....
Morgoth the Great is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:36 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.