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Tolkien Influence Essay

1713 words - 7 pages

Tolkien was greatly influenced by the mythology and folklore of past civilizations. When creating the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Tolkien creates a fantasy world for the adventures to take place. This world was not created without help, as Tolkien intertwined various different civilizations mythology and folklore to help him craft his own world. Tolkien revolutionized literature with the creation of this realm, and he combined many aspects of past literature with his new ideals.
The various races that were included in Middle-Earth were not created by Tolkien without the influence of the modern world. First, each race that appears in The Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings was based upon a mythological creature or a group of humans in Europe. Through analysis of his works, parallels of real humans at the time and the created race can be found throughout the novels. These similarities show that Tolkien was influenced by the world around him. The story of the Noldorin elves exile is very similar to the story of Tuatha de Danann. Dimitra Fimi writes, “The story of the rebellion of the Noldor and their departure from Valinor to return to Middle-earth is already present in ‘The Book of Lost Tales,’ . . . and its main elements are already there: Feanor urges the Gnomes to follow him back to Middle-earth to regain the Silmarils that belong to them, the Sun and the Moon are made by the gods subsequent to their departure, and the Gnomes fight their first battle with the Orcs as soon as they land. In this first version, however, the Gnomes do not use the ships to cross the sea but abandon them, setting fire to some of them, and get to Middle-earth by crossing the ices of Helkarakse (sic), while Maedhros is captured by Morgoth and sent back maimed . . . By the late 1920s, Tolkien had written the earliest "Silmarillion," which he referred to as the "Sketch" of the mythology, where the main elements of the later story appear fully shaped, and only minor details were added to it in later texts. Apart from these impressive similarities with the history and fate of the Noldor, the Tuatha De Danann and the whole story recounted in "The Book of Invasions" feature elsewhere in Tolkien's legendarium also . . . So, by using the framework of the "Book of Invasions" Tolkien constructs a pseudo-history of England, which corresponds vaguely to the real historical invasions of the island, in the same way that "The Book of Invasions" creates a mythological history for Ireland.” This passage looks to disprove Tolkien’s claims to not being influenced by Celtic folklore. He claimed to be disgusted by the Celtic mythology and folklore, yet links to Celtic folklore were found throughout his novels, and shown throughout this passage. Second, these races personalities were based upon the social classes and races around Tolkien, but their appearance was greatly influenced by the folklore and mythology of past civilizations. Certain races of elves were based upon the...

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