Sunday, March 6, 2011

Aragorn - Hopeless Courage

In one of my freewrites, I wrote about how Aragorn often juxtaposes hope and despair. After confronting Sauron in the Palantir, Aragorn truly comes into his own as King Elessar. This seems counterintuitive since hope for Men is born from a confrontation with the epitome of despair. Aragorn is also the only one who truly hopes to come out alive through the Paths of the Dead which is the basically a path of hopelessness and despair for all other men of Middle-earth. The only reason the others follow him along this path is because they, in turn, have hope in Aragorn. Another thing I noticed as I wrote was that I don't think we ever see Aragorn truly in despair in the novel. He has mental anguish, frustration, and sadness, but he never despairs. The best example of this is at Helm's Deep when all seems lost, Aragorn stands on the ramparts to look out at the coming dawn. The enemy jeers at him and makes fun of him for having hope, but that does not quench his indelible spirit.


Fingolfin said...

In my opinion Aragorn and Theoden are key in the balance of hope and despair within The Two Towers. In his desperation Aragorn dares the Paths of the Dead and the risk ends up paying off. Theoden, on the other hand, brings hope to the other soldiers when he launches his attack in the Battle of Pelennor fields, but the hope quickly turns to despair when he is slain.

Elendil said...

I'd also like to be nerdy and say in support of this that when Aragorn was a child living in Rivendell, because they couldn't reveal his true identity, he had an Elvish name. His Elvish name, given by Elrond, was Estel. Which means hope. :) Hope in the face of despair has always been a pretty big theme with Aragorn, even from the start