Transformation and actualization of the feminine models of the literature of the past, in "The Silmarillion": Tolkien’s development
Agirrezabala Falagan, Ainhoa
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The topic of women in Tolkien’s works has always been a troublesome one for many readers and scholars. The stories of Middle-earth are often described as lacking in women, perpetuating gender roles and depicting antifeminist tendencies. However, many scholars have claimed that Tolkien’s depiction of female characters has been misunderstood, for in its core lies great power retrieved and transformed from the ancient feminine models his characters are based upon. The Silmarillion is Tolkien’s most suitable work to analyse this affirmation because of the abundant female characters that take part in the story. In this dissertation I analyse how Tolkien transforms those ancient feminine models and offers his own contemporary response in The Silmarillion. For this purpose I compare seven mythological women from different literatures of the past, with seven women from The Silmarillion. I cover four different categories: Deities, Wisewomen, Victim Women and Evil Women, to give a wider and deeper understanding of the nature of Tolkien’s women. My dissertation shows that Tolkien’s development of the ancient feminine models aligns in many ways with contemporary feminist attitudes towards power, as The Feminine Principle lies always at the heart of the women of The Silmarillion.