Summary Of St. Augustine Confessions And The Fellowship Of The Ring

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From the beginning of creation to the fictitious lands created by J. R. R. Tolkien himself, the distinctions between good and evil rise from the shadows and into the light. Specifically, in the Confessions of St. Augustine all things created through the light of God are seen as wholly good, while the absence of such light and goodness is considered evil. Tolkien’s novel elaborates on the work of Augustine and establishes the differences between forces of good and evil in the land of Middle Earth. Augustine and Tolkien in their works Saint. Augustine Confessions and The Fellowship of the Ring address the issues that arise from an individual 's struggle to escape the temptations of evil and succumbing to their lust for power rather than asserting…show more content…
The are two realms both light and darkness the fellowship discovers that the two worlds exist independently. Unlike Augustine both good and evil wholly exist and evil is not an absence of good but rather an entire entity of its own. Although evil is not a physical entity the power and sources of evil are to be feared “For the black horses can see, and the Riders can use men and other creatures as spies, as we found at Bree. They themselves do not see the world of light as we do, but our shapes cast shadows in their minds, which only the noon sun destroys; and in the dark they perceive many signs and forms that are hidden from us: then they are most to be feared.” (Tolkien, 246). However there is light in the world that intends to preserve the beauty and goodness left in the lands of Middle Earth. Galadriel the lady of Light bestows upon the fellowship both gifts and advice that assist them on their journey.Galadriel, although tempted by the ring, declines Frodo’s offer to have it (Tolkien, 341). Galadriel is described as being the lady of light that draws attention to both her beauty and her wholly good nature. St. Augustine related both light and good to one another and noted that even pure good has an ability to become corrupted. Like all good things, Galadriel is still able to be corrupted by the powers of the ring but…show more content…
As Gandalf states, “all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”(Tolkien, 67). It is crucial to understand Gandalf’s use of the word “decide” in this passage. There are times and circumstances thrust upon us that are beyond our control. Forces exist that try to exert or impose their will for good or ill. It is our own choice to decide to join the dark side, or resist. While these forces can influence characters, they cannot wholly divest control from beings of free will. Bilbo chooses to let Gollum live and in doing so takes mercy upon the creature while Frodo chooses to bear the ring to Mordor knowing that he is at risk of being corrupted by darkness. These acts of mercy are beyond the striving wills of even the greatest powers“for even the very wise cannot see all ends”(Tolkien, 78). The power of choice in addition to doing good also has the ability to do harm. The Ring and its master, the dark lord Sauron, are powerful evil forces able to assert their dominance and will over lesser beings. For example, in “The Shadow of the Past” Gandalf— a very strong character and possessed of the best intention can be devoured by the forces of evil should he decide to wield the ring (Tolkien, 55). The One Ring seeks to enslave its wearer, violating the God-given gift of free will.

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