Lord of the Rings: A World War I and II Allegory?
Nearly everyone agrees that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a true masterpiece when he wrote his trilogy Lord of the Rings, and we find it surreal to think that he and other literary greats were able to create an entire world in their heads. This however is my question: what if the setting for the
Lord of the Rings isn't a new world, but rather a twist on Europe during World War I, or World War II?
When the First World War started Tolkien was a student at Oxford University. After his graduation he joined the British Army and landed in France. While there he began to take record of what was happening and of the machines of modern warfare - machine guns, tanks, and poison gas. He was fighting in some of the bloodiest battles known to human history.
First, before I can give a detailed explanation a few things must be clarified:
1) Lord of the Rings was written in the 1930's and Tolkien was at war after graduating from Oxford in 1918. Therefore, it is quite feasible that the war influenced these stories.
2) This article is not saying that the Lord of the Rings is simply a retelling of the war; rather it is saying that the war helped create the map and basic scenario of the plot.
If we look at the map that Tolkien drew concerning his world then we would see that it looks a lot like Modern Europe without Italy. Mordor, the land of evil, is more or less in the location of Germany. Gondor, the land of the white city - the city of Kings, is in the location of France. And finally, the Shire, which is obviously England, is remotely north-left of everything. What happen to Rohan and the land of the elves? And how do we know that this is true? Throughout the books and movies there are given symbols to show us.
First of all, anyone who has ever studied European history knows that France use to be divide into two major sects: Provence, the south and France, the north (France here meaning the land of the Franks). Therefore, the South, or in this case Gondor, was the old city - the classic France
stereotype. The North was the land of the Franks - a Viking-like people, this is Rohan. Númenor or Andor, the land of the elves appears to be the northern Scandinavia states. Why? The people are very thin and pale. They fit the stereotype perfectly. However, this idea could easily be argued.
Supporting the idea of Mordor being Germany:
1) Its location
2) Being the center of evil; of beings of an inhumane nature which desires to kill. In my opinion, this is a distortion of Nazi Germany.
Gondor is France for several reasons:
1) Its location lies directly to the west of Mordor.
2) Contains the White City, the city of Kings. France is very proud of their 40 Kings. They are the center of modern and prehistoric history.
3) In the main hall of the King in the White City there is a distinct décor. Over the doors there is a Romanesque design of black and white interchanging bricks. This is the same as Vézlay, a famous roman cathedral in the middle of France.
And finally, the Shire as England:
1) Its location
2) It being a land of freedom and simple life. Interestingly enough these books were written by an Englishman, and therefore, like anyone else writing from their perspective, their culture will be the perfect culture.
Above all, this story has taken pieces of the Great Wars and applied Tolkien's real life experiences into a story that is as worldly real as it is spiritually real. There is symbolism in this book that stretches beyond that of a good war story and into the spirituality and truth of Christianity.http://www.associate...pg2.html?cat=38
I added this as this is something I learned way back, that it is almost certainly possible that Tolkein was influenced by the two world wars, as with all arts, whether it be books, film, poems, paintings or any other, outside influences, culture even family life, location and history play there part in the shaping of works