Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and Dante

tolkeins-lord-of-the-rings-and-dante“The city of Minas Tirith in Tolkien’s middle earth could be viewed as symbolic of Mount Purgatory. It is described by Tolkien as a white city built on a mountain consisting of seven terraces. At the top is the white tree of Gondor which only bears leaves when a king sits upon the throne of Gondor. Therefore, it could be argued that Aragon’s story in Lord of the Rings is a quest to reach the top of Mount Purgatory and redeem himself and all of mankind. Thus, at the end of Lord of the Rings, when Aragon assumes the role of King there is a transition from the age of the elves to the age of men. (This is only one of many references to the Divine Comedy found in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the rest of his works on Middle Earth).”    –Charlie Russell-Schlesinger

Contributed by Charlie Russell-Schlesinger (Bowdoin, ’08)