He went further than human tyrants.

Tolkien illustration

“In my story Sauron represents as near an approach to the wholly evil will as is possible. He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit.

“In The Lord of the Rings the conflict is not basically about ‘freedom’, though that is naturally involved. It is about God, and His sole right to divine honour. The Eldar and the Númenóreans believed in The One, the true God, and held worship of any other person an abomination. Sauron desired to be a God-King, and was held to be this by his servants; if he had been victorious he would have demanded divine honour from all rational creatures and absolute temporal power over the whole world.”

“You can make the Ring into an allegory of our own time, if you like: an allegory of the inevitable fate that waits for all attempts to defeat evil power by power.”

―J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

5 thoughts on “He went further than human tyrants.

  1. I have enjoyed most of Tolkien’s writings, which I think can be interpreted at different levels. Each has left me thinking about certain issues for days afterwards.

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  2. My oldest recently read “The Lord of the Rings” for the first time. Over the weeks he read, we had numerous talks about the allegories within…good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Oh, how timely this is! I’m always amazed when I read something from the past hundred years or so, of this type. Amazed that somebody way back then was able to see what was really going on when things seemed not-so-bad. Not so bad compared to now, anyway! Thank God some people see clearly in every age.

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