November 29, 2017
THE WILL TO POWER NECCESARILY NEGATES FRIENDSHIP AS SHOWN IN THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY
In the well-known trilogy, The Lord of The Rings, John Ronald Ruel Tolkien proposes a philosophical question, which he answers throughout the trilogy in the actions of his characters and their rightful consequences. Here is brought to question the relationship between the will to power and the will to love, and the compatibility of the two. Tolkien presents examples of those who desire only the will to power, and contrasts them with those who chose the will to love. These examples prove the point made by writer C.S. Lewis in his work The Four Loves. Lewis firmly believes that the two wills are incompatible with each other and that the will to love is superior. The theme of friendship is an important one in the trilogy, for it is intertwined in the lives of all of the heroes, and is what binds the fellowship together. In Keith Mathison’s article, “Good and Evil in The Lord of the Rings”, he claims, “In Tolkien’s story, the primary means of overcoming evil is through love. This love manifests itself in many ways, but in The Lord of the Rings, the most important ways in which it manifests itself are through the trust and self-sacrifice involved in friendship and through acts of kindness, mercy, and pity.” [footnoteRef:1] In this trilogy the friendships proposed by Tolkien contain the essential elements of honesty, loyalty and mutual respect. This is made evident through the examples of the friendships formed within the fellowship, especially between Legolas and Gimli, which is contrasted by Boromir’s separation from the Fellowship, leading to his death. Tolkien then presents Galadriel as a foil to Saruman, as they are both persons of extreme power and age. Lastly the central focus of the story, Tolkien contrasts the duel character of Gollum or Sméagol and his actions in his past life, with the loving friendship between the hobbits, Frodo and Sam. By analyzing these three figures it is shown that the will to power necessarily negates friendship. [1: Keith Mathison,“Good and Evil in The Lord of the Rings.” http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/good-evil-lord-rings/ (Accessed [November 26, 2017]).]
Before analyzing how Tolkien demonstrates the power of friendship we must first examine how C.S. Lewis, a contemporary of Tolkien, defines friendship and show how Nietzsche’s concept of the will to power directly undermines that friendship. The will to power is what Nietzsche believed to be the main driving force in human’s achievement, ambition, and the striving to reach the highest possible position in life. Nietzsche says that “To say yes to life is to ‘yes’ to the will to power.” [footnoteRef:2] He not only combines the act of living with the will to power but glorifies it as an ideal. Michael Lacewing in his article comments on Nietzsche’s concept of the will to power in three different...