Richard Z. Gallant Germanic heroic elements in his fiction to J .R.R. Tolkien usedalso personally deeply conflicted about theirgreat effect, but he was dual nature: Germanic1 heroism can be noble and defiant, but it is also often cruel and gruesome. Tolkien wanted to esteem the laudable aspects such as we find in Beowulf. He writes, We do not deny the worth of the hero by accepting Grendel and the dragon. Let us by all means esteem the old heroes: men caught in the chains of circumstance or of their own character, torn between duties equally sacred, dying with their backs to the wall. But Beowulf, I fancy, plays a larger part than is recognized in helping us esteem them. (M&C 17) But he was deeply critical of the adverse aspects of Germanic heroism such as, for example, overmastering pride. If we look closely, we may observe this conflict in his characters and in the narrative structure of his fictional works, particularly in the fiery imagery and ruthless deeds of his pivotal character, Fëanor. It is those very negative heroic elements, such as Fëanor's oath and the sin of the kin-slaying of the Teleri, that are critical to the
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Nov 27, 2014
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