Date of Award

1994

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

Two of the most influential writers of contemporary fantasy are C.S Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The two men had much in common and were close friends with one another. In this master thesis, the author compares the face of evil within works of these two prolific writers. C.S. Lewis opposed amoral relativism, and in his novels illustrated how it could lead one to evil. Lewis also illustrated the potential of evil through scientism without a moral compass to guide you. Characters decapitate others and preserve the heads for scientific research. Tolkien similarly wrote on the dangers of science as a force of evil. Diabolic machinery destroys the once peaceful natural world leaving behind rubble and ruined forest. Tolkien also wrote on the evil caused by ethnocentrism and xenophobia. The thesis concludes by illustrating techniques both authors would use to describe the evil within characters by their appearances and actions. The evil characters are lustful and patiently scheming. The difference between the two, concludes the author, is that C.S. Lewis’s protagonists have small victories before the final showdown as a sign of hope, while Tolkien has his evil appear as an unstoppable force until the very end.

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