Comparing the Arthurian Legends and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring

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A Medieval Contest

     In comparing and contrasting the Arthurian Legends and J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Fellowship of the Ring, it is almost like a medieval contest between the two with many of the similarities coming from the customs of the Middle Ages. A look at the make up of the groups involved, the moral code, the protagonist, the antagonist, the use of supernatural elements and the knightly quest involved in each book shows how alike they are but yet different.
     The Arthurian Legends revolve around the life of the knights during the Middle Ages. A knight would pledge his loyalty to God, his King, fellow knights and to women in distress. Tolkien’s Fellowship
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     The moral code of the knights of the Round Table which was renewed at the feast of Pentecost every year was to: “only fight in just cause, at all times to be merciful, at a all times to put the service of ladies foremost.'; (Malory, p.344.) Sir Gawain’s strength was increased for three hours every morning but after noon would decrease. Once when in battle with Sir Launcelot to avenge the death of his two brothers by Sir Launcelot, Sir Launcelot realizes Sir Gawain’s strength is less so he says to him “Sir Gawain, I have endured many blows from you but I see that you have weakened'; and then turns to King Arthur and says, “My liege, your expedition can find no honorable conclusion, so I pray you withdraw and spare your noble knights'; (Malory, p.373.) showing mercy and fair play.
     Frodo Baggins also takes on a moral code as he accepts his role as the Ring Bearer. Hobbits by nature are fun loving and non-competitive, but Frodo says to Elrond, “I will take the ring. . .though I do not know the way.'; (Tolkien, p.324) When sitting in the chair of the Guardian Kings of Gordor at the top of Amon Hen in the Seat of Seeing, Frodo sees the world covered by Orcs, Lorien in smoke and Borenings’s land on fire and finally sees and feels the Eye of Sauron. He cries out, “I will do now
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