“Some damn his [Tolkien’s] fiction for its old-fashioned, misogynistic depiction of women. […] Tolkien presents a society […] in which women have traditionally been seen as decorative but ultimately powerless, as pawns in a man’s world” (Neville, 101). This has been one of the criticisms that are often believed about the women in Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Some have said that the reason for it could be the much of Tolkien’s world is based on Germanic culture, in which women have traditional roles. Others have alleged that the women are this way because of the view of a woman’s place in society at the time that Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings. Yet when looking at these women, they seem far from weak powerless pawns of men. Tolkien’s women stand as strong and powerful, they are not the heroin figures that populate today’s modern fiction, and nonetheless that does not discredit them. The women of Tolkien’s Middle Earth are strong and independent, not powerless pawns of men.
Eowyn enters The Lord of the Rings in The Two Towers. The reader first encounters her in a feminine role, as she takes care of an aging king and she serves the men when they eat. This could be seen that Tolkien has written her in a traditional womanly role, of homemaker. Yet later in The Return of the King, she rides into battle and kills the Witch King (Tolkien 824). This raises the question of how she could be put in a traditional role for women and later she stands as a warrior in battle. One of the reasons why Eowyn fills a role that is like a homemaker when the reader first meets her is that she is in a role that is similar to the roles that women in Germanic texts filled. Eowyn role at Edoras is similar to Welahtheow, wife of Hrothgar, when “she graciousl...
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...ord of the Rings by name and that is Elbereth. When this name is called, it seems to be to ward off an evil force. The reader sees Frodo used the name of Elbereth to ward of the Ring wraiths, when he gets stabbed (Tolkien, Fellowship 191) and again at the ford, “By Elbereth and Luthien the Fair, […] you shall have neither the Ring nor me!” (Tolkien, Fellowship 209). This name seems to help ward off the forces of evil and to give courage to the speaker to face the evil. When Sam is fighting Shelob, he calls Elbereth name to help ward off Shelob (Tolkien, Two 712). This name has power to help forces of good ward off evil. This woman never enter into the story, yet she is there helping the forces of good as they take on evil. As Aragorn tells Frodo, “all blades perish that pierce that dreadful King. More deadly to him was the name of Elbereth” (Tolkien, Fellowship 193).
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