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“The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 11th, 2021


The epic novel The Lord of the Rings was written by an outstanding English philologist and well-known writer J.R.R. Tolkien. This book refers to the high fantasy style disclosing the complex analysis of various origins and themes. The story is considered to be rather sophisticated in analysis and structure consisting of three volumes “the Fellowship of the Ring”, “the Two Towers”, and “The Return of the King”. The book managed to leave a significant impression on the readers who have an opportunity to enjoy not only the book but movies and musical tracks devoted to the story. The Lord of the Rings combines the interaction of the mythological, religious and philological motives touching the industrialization effects with the reflection of the author’s war experience.

Plot Summary

The Lord of the Rings is the story disclosing the desire of Middle Earth inhabitants to save their land and people from malevolent Sauron’s enslavement. Some centuries before the events Sauron managed to forge a Ring that contained all his power to be strong and have complete control over dwarves, elves, and men. The author showed that a lot of men were under his power; nevertheless, an alliance of elves and dwarves managed to defeat him and as a result, the Ring appeared to be cut from Sauron’s head. No doubt, that this Ring could have been destroyed but… it was taken by Isildur, a human prince. The flow of events is rather complicated and intricate. Everything could have been perfect but for the prince to lose it in the river. From this very moment, the story discloses the introduction of plenty of new characters who managed to find the Ring or who had been killed for it. Thus, for example, it was found by Deagol and as a result, this character was killed by his friend Smeagol to get the power of the Ring. The author involves the reader in the series of adventures and difficulties experienced by its main characters.

The Fellowship of the Ring, which is the first part of the story, is aimed at the ring destruction by hobbit Frodo and his companions Pippin and Merry. The strength was joined under the power of wizard Gandalf and Strider, king of Gondor, who was rather a mysterious man. These two characters appeared to be the most formidable enemies of Sauron. The splitting of the established company can be observed due to agents of Sauron, known as Black riders. So, this part of the story is devoted to the readers’ involvement in the world of constant fight and competitiveness.

The second part called The Two Towers discloses the events of the war of rings. The author shows how Saruman, being Sauron’s wizard, is defeated by Gondor. Sam’s and Frodo’s journey into Mordor, the black kingdom of Sauron, is recounted by the author.

Speaking about the third part of the trilogy The Lord of the Rings it is important to stress that its name The Return of the King can highlight the main motive of the book. In this part, the author managed to recount Sauron’s defeat and Aragorn’s triumph through Frodo’s quest fulfillment. So, a summary of the story’s basic parts will allow analyzing the themes and motives of the story and its reflection of the author’s life vision. The Lord of the Rings can be examined as the illustration of the good and evil fight or as a kind of adventure story stimulating for reading and analysis (Tolkien, 2005).

Themes Analysis

So, the themes disclosed in the Lord of the Rings have been thoroughly examined and analyzed by various critics who considered mixing the negativity and positive aspects of the book. Thus, some critics perceived the Lord of the Rings as a racist story. The aspect of race disclosure can be observed through the whole book using the character’s determination; Hobbit, Dwarf, Orc, Southron, etc. are considered to be examples of the race characters depiction. The critics state that such a position in the text is closely connected with the personal experience of the author. Nevertheless, on the contrary to the racist adaptation of the story, it should be noted that The Lord of the Rings is shown based on textual evidence and personal racism perception by the author. The problem of good and evil has been centralized by the author through the problematic illustration of the traditional social structure. The aspect of class determination appeared to be presented through the disclosure of the social structure after the war events. Tolkien tried to reflect the position of class interactions of the twentieth century showing the characters’ manner of behavior.

One of the central ideas of The Lord of the Rings is considered to be the issue of immortality existence. The problem of mortality took place in the society after war period. Not in vain philosophers of that time happened to notice that people expressed fear for mortality. Such a position was completely reflected in the author’s trilogy. Certainly, war events left an impact on the psychological state of the nation; people were ready to die for their culture preservation and this phenomenon was considered to be quite normal and adequate. To provide a kind of human mortality foil, the author managed to invent a noble and deathless race in the book. Elves illustrated in the story used to suffer the difficulties of immortal life being unable to the reproduction process. The author showed the medium age of his elves is about a millennium. It is a way to the national decline and empire extinction. According to the content of the story, nine Rings given to men could produce immortality caricature. The presentation of elves’ immortality in the world of mortal culture is considered to show the combination of myth and reality. The author tried to show that the taste of immortality can poison everything. Thus, Hobbits Samwise, Frodo, and Bilbo who touched the immortality effect had to leave Middle Earth being “poisoned” forever. Galadriel had to abandon the mortal world together with her people: “I will diminish and remain Galadriel” (Spengler, 2004).

To explain the mythological nature of the book one should state that the story is predominantly based on inspirations from mythological legends. The Lord of the Rings is closely interacted with the epic adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero, saving The Danes from monster Grendel. Myths and the problem of good and evil are based on one common issue. The author wanted to prove that everyone can become a real monster by demonstrating evil as physical and external quality requiring strength and power to fight it. Gradually the author moves to the illustration of evil as an internal and moral quality based on some moral and spiritual heroism to combat it. So, separate parts just as the book in general are concentrated on good and evil problem solutions and their deep analysis. The introduction of the power of some characters means the presentation of the problem of inequality and social instability (Chance, 2001).

One more aspect to discuss in the story is considered to be its language. It should be underlined that the author tries to make the story adapted to modern norms of literature though the work belongs to the epic type. The manner of the story presentation is breathtaking and that is why the author happened to make the atmosphere of the ancient world in the modern one or the immortality in the mortal world. The language used by the author is close to the modern one and demonstrated in an informal conversational manner.

Hey, you! – he said roughly – What are you up to?
Here is the mirror of Galadriel, she said, I’ve brought you here s that you may look in it if you will. (Tolkien, 2005)


So, the book The Lord of the Rings is considered to be one of the most outstanding and significant works of world literature disclosing a complex combination of most global problems of humanity. The author managed to illustrate the modern world through the epic vision of the old one. The story under analysis appeared to be one of the magnificent achievements underlining the epic tale of love, friendship, and heroism at the same time. The story is easy to read despite its sophisticated character. The combination of the basic themes of humanity made the story modern and popular among the younger generations. The Lord of the Rings belongs to marvelous examples of contemporary literature; it is a rare case when epic fantasy is modernized through the illustration of mythological and historical motives.


  1. Tolkien, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings. Thomson Corporation, 2005.
  2. Spengler, K. Tolkien’s Ring: When Immortality is not enough. Asia Times, 2004.
  3. Chance, J. The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power. Kentucky, 2001.
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IvyPanda. ""The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien." October 11, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-lord-of-the-rings-by-jrr-tolkien/.


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IvyPanda. (2021) '"The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien'. 11 October.

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