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January 6, 2003

Aragorn's Choice
Brett C.

Fluidshaggy, I'm afraid I think you've been a little hard on Aragorn in his choice to pass on. This was a tradition that dated back from Elros, the first King of Numemor [see article on Elrond's age] but also in the Appendix you sited it states that at the time of his death Aragorn feel the onset of dotage nearing, and in his talk with Arwen he says that if he does not yield up his extra-long life 'I must soon go perforce' and he asks her if she would have him linger until he was 'unmanned and witless' as was the case of several of the later Numenorean kings. So the question here is whether he was kinder to spare her the sight of his slow fall into senility or deaprt when the memory of love and joy still lingered.

Writing this down it actually sounds like Tolkien is making an arguement for euthenasia, but I think that is a dangerous assumption and not based on all the aspects of the texts. Those of Numenorean race were a special case among mortals because their longevity was a gift of the Valar, who could make their bodies endure longer but not remove the gift of death. Therefore when a Numenorean chooses to die he is simply letting go of the Power's gift to slow the ageing process and allowing time to catch up with mortal body he or she has. I do not suppose that they could choose to die at any time before the normal lifespan of a human of their time [about 70 years].

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