KeywordsLiterature in English, British Isles
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AbstractThe discussion of power and one’s use of it in literature is far from a novel one. This is especially so regarding how one uses power to rule others. Two notable and conflicting ways to rule are using one’s power over the ruled, to keep control of them, and using one’s power for the ruled, by helping and supporting them. The clash between these two can be seen as early as the first book of the Jewish and Christian bibles, wherein God gives humans “dominion over…all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth,” asking them to “replenish the earth, and subdue it” (King James Bible, Genesis 1:26, 28). By asking humankind to both subdue and replenish, God is asking them to use both the previously noted ways to rule: to dominate and to aid. This naturally creates a conflict about how to balance these techniques in order to rule correctly. This disagreement between these two is seen elsewhere in literature, and no more so than in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional universe.