Lord of the Rings: Tempted Mortals


The Lord of the Rings is not an allegory, and it is best to resist drawing parallels to the real-world events of the 20th Century. That said, I do think it is informed by Tolkien’s WWI experience. I also think it’s fair to ask what Tolkien is saying about morality.

LOTR is a set of arguments about the corrosive moral effects of hubris, anger, jealousy, greed, and aggression. In my opinion, this is a case of an author telling a damn good story that reflects his values. There is no conscious effort to write a tract; but Tolkien’s moral and theological content  is as easy to locate as Dante’s and Milton’s.

I think the way you locate the moral content is by looking at choices the characters make and the outcomes of the choices. Middle Earth has a well-developed natural order, supported by a monotheistic theology in which the…

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