The Tolkien Paradox: The Silmarillion and the Denouncement of War Using Heroic Style

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Samantha Skipper (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site:
David Hopes

Abstract: World War I devastated a generation of men and women with its technologies of mass destruction and its lack of progress relative to the death toll. Despite his experiences as a World War I soldier, J.R.R. Tolkien did not wholly reject the values and traditions of the past. Tolkien maintained his belief in the qualities of valor, honor, and good faith when much of his generation did not. While Tolkien concedes that some wars are necessary, most of the wars detailed in his novel The Silmarillion are viewed as largely pointless as they are fought for frivolous reasons and accomplish little. Tolkien uses high style to tell a story that appears to glorify war, yet upon closer examination details the problems underlying war. Through examination of The Silmarillion the author of this paper posits Tolkien's war experiences and religious beliefs, allowed him to create a story which depicts war as Tolkien experienced it, glorifying those traits which human possess that allow them to withstand evil yet vilifying war as a futile effort.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
The Silmarillion, heroic style, war, traditional values

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