Philosophy and Fantasy Symbolism of the Ring Symbolism of the Ring: The Embodiment of Evil "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the Darkness bind them" (1 LotR II,2 The Council of Elrond) One of the masters of British Literature, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien has the unique ability to create a fantasy world in which exists a nearly endless supply of parallelisms to reality. By mastering his own world and his own language and becoming one with his fantasy, Tolkien is able to create wonderful symbolism and meaning out of what would otherwise be considered nonsense. Thus, when one decides to study The Ruling Ring, or The One Ring, in Tolkien's trilogy "Lord of the Rings", one must not simply perform an examination of the ring itself, but rather a complex analysis of the events which take place from the time of the ring's creation until the time of its destruction. Concurrently, to develop a more complete understanding of the symbolic nature of the ring, one must first develop a symbolic understanding of the characters and events that are relevant to the story. This essay begins with a brief background of Tolkien's life, followed by a thorough history of the "One Ring" including its creation, its symbolic significance, its effect on mortals, and its eventual destruction. Also, this essay will compare Tolkien's Ring to the Rhinegold Ring of Norse mythology, and will also show how many of the characters in the trilogy lend themselves to Christ-figure status. By examining the Ring from these perspectives, a clearer understanding of its symbolic significance will be reached. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, an English scholar and storyteller, became fascinated by language at an early age during his schooling at, particularly the languages of Northern Europe, both ancient and modern. This affinity for language did not only lead to his profession, but also his private hobby, the invention of languages. He was also drawn to the entire "Northern tradition", which inspired him to study its myths and sagas thoroughly. His broad knowledge eventually led to the development of his opinions about Myth, its relation to language, and the importance of stories. All these various perspectives: language, the heroic tradition, and Myth, as well as deeply-held beliefs in Catholic Christianity work together in all of his works, including The Lord of the Rings (LotR). The creation of the "One Ring" or the "Ring of Sauron" goes back to the years following the fall of Morgoth. At this time, Sauron established his desire to bring the Elves, and indeed all the people of Middle-Earth, under his control. It was his opinion that Manw? and the Valar had abandoned Middle-Earth after the fall of Morgoth. In order to bring the Elves under his control, Sauron persuaded them that his intentions were good, and that he wanted Middle-Earth to return from the darkness it was in. Eventually the elves sided with Sauron, and created the Rings of Power under his guidance. Following the creation of these rings, Sauron created the One Ring in secret, so that he would be able to control the other rings and consequently control the Elves. The creation of the Ring, and the essence of its power is revealed in the following passage. "and their power was bound up with it, to be subject wholly to it and to last only as long as it too should last. And much of the strength and will of Sauron passed into that One Ring; for the power of the Elven Rings was very great, and that which should govern them must be a thing of surpassing potency; and Sauron forged it in the Mountain of Fire in the Land of Shadow. And while he wore the One Ring he could perceive all the things that were done by means of the lesser rings, and he could see and govern the very thoughts of those that wore them." (from The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age) The power of the One is recognized by the Elves as soon as Sauron puts the Ring on his finger. They realize that he can control their thoughts, and they decide to remove their rings and not use them.