What understanding is to be derived from Lord of the rings? What art exists to accomplish this?
The imagination of many great authors throughout history has undeniably changed the way we perceive our own world. With the literal weapon of being able to create an entire world helps authors such as JRR Tolkien to portray conceptual meaning in situations based on worlds that contradict the normality of our everyday life. With the use of unlikely characters such as Frodo Tolkien is able to depict the idea of courage and bravery present in every civilian in reality. Tolkien’s contextual experiences of being part of the First World War have changed his perception of his characters and their behaviours. These types of ‘life lessons’ have evidently influenced the writing of Fellowship of the Ring in which the good vs. evil theme is introduced heavily in many sequence of events.
Frodo is quite a unique character in the focal point of Fellowship of the Ring. He is no Aragorn, no obscure hero awaiting his chance to be great. He is no warrior. And far from feeling destined for greatness, he reacts to being thrust into epic events with the cry of the common man – “Why me?” he knows, or thinks, he knows, his own limitations and tells Gandalf, “I am not made for perilous quests”. He accepts an intolerable burden not from any sense that he is the power one to bear it but simply because no one else volunteers. It is worth noting, by the way, that another “little man” –Bilbo_ does volunteer and is gently refused. The heroic figures all hang back, and the common man shoulders the burden. The point is voiced in the narrative by Elrond, who says: “Yet such is often the course of deeds that move the wheels of the worlds: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere”. This is almost a paraphrase of something Tolkien himself once said: “the hobbit represents the combination of small imagination with great courage which (as Tolkien had seen in the trenches during First World War) often led to survival against all chances. “I’ve always been impressed’, he once said, that we are here, surviving, because of the indomitable courage of quite small people against impossible odds”. From Lord of the Rings the idea of courage and heroism can be derived from creatures of all shapes and sizes with as much or as little power is constantly highlighted by Tolkien in the book. Tolkien’s personal experience of going to war is the accepted source of his perception.
The ideas and themes described in Fellowship of the ring are evident in real life. We see it in many facets of our lives including the ones from a political point of view. Yesterdays oppressed become today’s oppressors when they get power. But one has experienced it in the office, in the workplace, in the home. Human beings cannot handle power. Power is our doom. This is highlighted just before Boromir addresses the council of Elrond that the ring itself seems to speak and whispers ‘the doom of men’? Power is the doom of men because we are flawed. At one point Aragorn says to Frodo that he has vowed to protect him and Frodo replies, ‘Can you