The Return of the King Themes

This Study Guide consists of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Return of the King.
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The Ambiguity of Evil

Good and evil are not black and white in The Return of the King. Instead, Tolkien presents evil as a choice. All characters have the capacity to do evil, but it is the “good” characters who choose to do good, or at least to not do evil, when faced with that choice. Tolkien’s evil characters are wholly evil. They cannot imagine themselves doing anything except evil. The good characters, on the other hand, are more complex. While they do choose to do good throughout the story, some may hesitate before making that decision. In fact, the idea that the characters have the decision to make at all shows the ambiguity of evil in the story. In many ways, this makes the good characters more approachable to the reader. They are not the lofty, unattainable good heroes who can do no wrong. Instead, they are...

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This section contains 633 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Return of the King Study Guide
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