Tolkien's Female Characters in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

3764 WordsFeb 26, 201216 Pages
In Tolkien's Middle Earth, women are generally expected to submit to patriarchal authority. To what extent does Tolkien present women who succeed in subverting this norm? J.R.R. Tolkien’s works have been analysed for decades and have often been criticised for the lack of female characters. Arguably his most cherished publications, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in particular has been condemned for the passivity of his relatively few female characters. Having said that however, throughout the three books, there are a number of female characters who combat the stereotypical role of women and subvert the norm of submission to a patriarchal authority. Arwen, Éowyn and Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return…show more content…
Elrond expects Arwen to fulfill her role as Elven royalty by traveling with the people of Rivendell to Grey Havens, to find peace and everlasting life in Valinor. However, she wishes to remain in Middle Earth to be Aragorn’s partner thereby giving up her immortality. Although at first Arwen honours her father’s wishes and embarks on the journey with the Elven people to the Havens, she returns to Rivendell after she has a vision of what she believes to be her future, and confronts her father with it. The vision was of her son and Aragorn, a vision which brings her hope and strengthens her will to remain in Middle Earth. This strength is different to what was expected of women at that time. It allows Arwen to rebel against her father’s will and follow the destiny she chooses for herself. Her choice, however, is ironic because she longs to fulfill the duties of a housewife, which other female characters in the Lord of the Rings rebel against, such as Éowyn. Arwen’s most prominent significant relationship is with Aragorn, which in itself is a conflicted one. While Arwen’s desire is to be with him, she puts her duties to her people and her father before him. However, in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation, she validates the significance of her relationship with Aragorn by gifting him the Evenstar in the form of a pendant, the object representation of herself (Arwen’s name means Evenstar), to be kept with
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