The Conflict Between Good and Evil

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The Conflict Between Good and Evil

To present the conflict between Good and Evil as a war in which the good side is ultimately victorious is a ticklish business. Our historical experience tells us that physical power and, to a large extent, mental power are morally neutral and effectively real: wars are won by the stronger side, just or unjust. … As readers of the preceding volumes will remember, the situation in the War of the Ring is as follows: Chance, or Providence, has put the Ring in the hands of the representatives of Good, Elrond, Gandalf, Aragorn. By using it they could destroy Sauron, the incarnation of evil, but at the cost of becoming his successor. If Sauron recovers the Ring, his victory will be immediate and complete, but even without it his power is greater than any his enemies can bring against him, so that, unless Frodo succeeds in destroying the Ring, Sauron must win. … The demands made on the writer’s powers in an epic as long as “The Lord of the Rings” are enormous and increase as the tale proceeds — the battles have to get more spectacular, the situations more critical, the adventures more thrilling — but I can only say that Mr. Tolkien has proved equal to them.

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