Frodo in a World of Boromirs (I)

Image : Peter Xavier Price

(Written from an American point of view, but very interesting indeed from a British perspective too)

One mark of a great metaphor is that it functions on several levels. In this respect J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings can be, and has been, interpreted to mean any number of things by its central metaphor of "One Ring to rule them all." The battle over the Master-ring some have read as an allegory of the battle between the Allied and Axis powers in World War II. Christians may find in it a mirror of the battle between Satan and God; socialists (and communists), a re-enactment of the class war between capitalists and the working masses; environmentalists, a saga about the clash between industrialization and nature. Still others take it simply as a rousing tale so fine in the telling that these other possible layers of meaning become moot, or at least secondary.

Perhaps all of these views are valid; perhaps none are. That is the measure of how deeply and carefully Tolkien wrought his magic.

For me the Dark Lord's terrible ring holds another meaning, one that might serve as a warning for any age, but particularly, I fear, for our own. I see in it the lure of political power, specifically the ultimate power of the modern nation-state. And I must admit, even in trying to discuss this concept with most of those nearest and dearest to me, I feel like Frodo in a world of Boromirs. (to be continued)

Kurt Luchs - First Things
Oct 27, 2008

2 comments:

Emmy said...

This is very deep! As an American, I find this to be very interesting as well.

Roger R. said...

More to come Emmy... MUCH more.

Regards (RR)