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Allegory, It Happens: A Multi-Perspective Case Study of The Lord of the Rings
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Allegory is not obsolete as Samuel Coleridge and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe have claimed. It is alive and well and has transformed from a restrictive concept to a concept that is flexible and can form to meet the needs of the author or reader. The most efficient way to evidence this is by making a case study of it with a suitable work that will allow us to perceive its plasticity. This essay uses J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as a multi-perspective case study of the concept of allegory; the size and complexity of the narrative make it a suitable choice. My aim is to illustrate the plasticity of allegory as a concept and illuminate some of the possibilities and pitfalls of allegory and allegoresis. As to whether The Lord of the Rings can be treated as an allegory, it will be examined from three different perspectives: as a purely writerly process, a middle ground of writer and reader and as a purely readerly process. The Lord of the Rings will then be compared to a series of concepts of allegorical theory such as Plato’s classical “The Ring of Gyges”, William Langland’s classic The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman and contemporary allegories of racism and homoeroticism to demonstrate just how adaptable this concept is. The position of this essay is that the concept of allegory has changed over time since its conception and become more malleable. This poses certain dangers as allegory has become an all-round tool for anyone to do anything that has few limitations and has lost its early rigid form and now favours an almost anything goes approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 20 p.
Keyword [en]
Allegory, Multi-perspective, The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien, Jameson
National Category
Specific Literatures
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131399OAI: diva2:938487
2016-05-25, Stockholm, 22:46 (English)
Available from: 2016-06-22 Created: 2016-06-16 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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