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Title: J.R.R. Tolkien, the Influence of Christianity, and Symbolism in "The Lord of the RIngs"
Authors: Morris, Michelle
Keywords: Text;Honors papers;Religious Studies, Department of;Student research
Issue Date: May-2012
Publisher: Memphis, Tenn. : Rhodes College
Abstract: My project focuses on Christological symbolism in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. I investigated which figure in the story embodies Christ. In order to build my case, I researched Tolkien's life and the impact religion had on him. Tolkien was a devout Catholic and his religious beliefs impacted several of his key relationships: with his Mother, his wife, and his best friend and fellow author, C.S. Lewis. By exploring Tolkien’s life, I emphasize the importance of religion to both his upbringing and his overall perspective, demonstrating how his beliefs could have infiltrated his fantasy writing. Though Tolkien claimed any symbolism in The Lord of the Rings was unintentional, I argue that Catholicism's subconscious effect on his world perspective led him to unconsciously create a story that strong reflects Catholic Christian themes. Through exploring Catholic doctrine, the conclusion I have come to is that Frodo and Gandalf are both Christ figures. The emphasis in Catholicism seems to me to be asserting the true divinity and true humanity of Jesus. Frodo would be representative of the fully human aspect of Jesus and Gandalf would represent the fully divine.My paper concludes with a detailed comparison of Christ with both of these characters. I show how each character is Christ-like not only in their actions, but also in their character traits and relationship to other characters in the story. I further highlight how these similarities show Frodo to be the human representation of Christ and Gandalf to be the divine.
Description: The author granted permission for the digitization of this paper. It was submitted by CD.
Appears in Collections:Honors Papers

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