Mythological Concept Research Paper

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Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings follows the basic concepts and structures of classical mythology, including having heroes who embark on journeys of self-discovery, and those journeys of self-discovery are often thrust upon them. For example, Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey did not want to get thrown off course after the Trojan War. It was Athena and Poseidon's fighting that led to Odysseus's fateful storm that caused him to flit from island to island over the course of about twenty years. He learned a lot on the journey, but it was painful at times. Similarly, Frodo Baggins is thrust into a situation in which he goes on a long journey. It is as if he is at the mercy of the gods, but ultimately he is the keeper of his own fate. The other themes in Lord of the Rings that are akin to mythology include the theme of death and rebirth. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo undergoes a major personal and spiritual transformation as a death and rebirth symbol. This is similar to the way gods like Osiris and Jesus die and are reborn, and through this experience have a lesson to teach to humanity.

In Lord of the Rings, Bilbo Baggins follows the classic hero's journey. Joseph Campbell talks about the stages of the hero's journey in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The hero first receives the call to adventure, and resists the call. This is an integral part of The Lord of the Rings, as Peter Jackson spends much time developing the resistance in Bilbo Baggins's character. Hobbits are inherently resistant to change, and they prefer the comfortable life in the shire. The discomfort of change is part of the hero's journey. Also integral to the hero's journey is the aspect of supernatural aid. In Homer's Odyssey, for example, the goddess Athena is the spiritual aid that guides (but does not interfere with) Odysseus. In The Lord of the Rings, an unseen force or guide protects Bilbo Baggins. Framed as a narrative of good vs. evil, there is no actual god or demon in The Lord of the Rings, only absolute forces that can have influence or sway over individual actors. The character of Golem is an example of a character who is weak and easily swayed, but is morally neutral. However, Bilbo does have the positive guidance of Gandalf the wizard, who represents the…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Novato: New World Library, 2008.

Homer. Odyssey.

Jackson, Peter. The Lord of the Rings. Feature Film. 2001.

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