Women’s Roles in the Lord of the Rings

         There are many examples of films, both past and present, which redefine the roles of women in their respective era. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, there are two women with roles that differ greatly from that of which is expected of women by the men in their particularly male dominated society

.          Arwen, played by Liv Tyler, is an elfin princess torn between her father and the man that she loves. Though the film never fully goes into depth about their culture, it can easily be assumed that the women in her society do not disobey their fathers in such a manner. Despite knowing that her father does not approve of her interest in somebody who is not an elf like herself, she makes the decision in the end to be with Aragorn.

         Breaking through the barriers of her society, Eowyn, played by Miranda Otto, is another more drastic version of feminism in the Lord of the Rings. Fearful of becoming just another woman in her society, she developed remarkable sword skills to prevent being overcome by other people in both hers and others’ cultures. Being denied by her uncle, the king, to go into war with him and his army, she disguises herself as a warrior, and follows them into war unbeknownst to others. In battle, she fights courageously, and ends up standing up for her mortally wounded uncle, who can no longer fight. While fighting the Witch King, who is trying to kill her uncle, he states that no man can kill him and with that remark, she removes her helmet stating, “I am no man,” and then slays him. By doing so, she saves many lives and accomplishes a task that nobody else on the battlefield could have undertaken.

         In a film that is dominated by male roles, only three main roles belong to females. As such, it may appear that the women in these societies are insignificant to their male counterparts, but the actuality is really the exact opposite since the women help achieve much of what the men cannot. Without these women, much of the end of the story would conclude in a different manner. However, without the men in The Lord of the Rings, the women would not have developed into the individuals that they are.

Ashley Wilson

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