January 8, 2002
Good and Evil
This essay is largely in response to Rob W wrote in his review. Rob, it would be pointless for us to have a debate about our feeling of how the characters were played, since the only thing we seem to agree on in the brilliance of Elijah Wood [he was great, wasn't he]and the various persons who brought the Orcs to life.
But in the interests of enlightened and polite discussion, I have to disagree with your feelings about the nature of evil portrayed in LOTR. The point of the Ring is not so much that it is the source of evil, but the source of temptation to do evil. In the movie Elrond expresses his opinion that 'Men are weak.' which mirrors your point that we carry the seeds of evil within our own souls, as seen by Isildur succumbing to the lure of the Ring's power. But then look at Aragorn - plagued by the idea [in the movie] that the same weakness to yield to evil is in his own soul, but moved by his friendship to Frodo to rise above it and renounce temptation when it finally comes. This theme is not particular to the movie, though it is perhaps more clearly expressed than in the novels - Tolkien was indeed following a style of writing more akin to the ancient epics he loved that modern works.
My point is that I agree at least in part with your comments on our need to rise above our own weakness to evil [as a teacher of young students I see such fallibility reguarly] but that I feel LOTR supports this position rather than shifting the blame elsewhere.