Thursday, April 7, 2011

Melkor's Fall from Grace

In my group today we came up with a question that I thought was really interesting: How was it that Melkor wanting to create something of his own was so bad/evil? How did that desire bring about evil in the world? Eventually he does start destroying the things that the other Valar create (which I'd say is pretty bad), but at first it seems like he just harmlessly wants to make something of his own.

Along with that, we thought that since Melkor/the Valar are offshoots or thoughts of Iluvatar - and Melkor "goes bad" - does this mean that Iluvatar has some kind of potential for evil within himself (as contrasted with the Judeo-Christian belief that God is totally good and perfect)? I would be more inclined to argue along the free will explanation side of things, but what do you all think?


Radagast said...

It's really interesting that we do automatically lable Melkor as evil from when he starts doing his own thing (at least I did, maybe just because of the relationship with Judeo-Christian beliefs). I didn't really think about it, but you're right, he wasn't really doing anything wrong at first or it doesn't seem wrong to want to create something yourself. I think more of the "evil" is from the perspective of he wanted to create to outdo Iluvatar and maybe that was arrogant or cocky or something, but it doesn't seem inherently bad or evil.

For the second part, I would be inclined to argue freewill the same way you would. I guess I think it's just the freewill choices that were made and Melkor started making bad ones. Combining this with your other question: Even if he wasn't doing evil at first, his choice to create on his own led him to like it. This liking of having his own creation made him want to get praise for it. Then, he wanted to be recognized as even with or better than Iluvatar. So, this initially ok freewill choice could have just snowballed to the point where it was bad. I know I'm just speculating here, but it's possible.

Belladonna Took said...

Aule (one of the Valar) is most similar to Melkor “in thought and in powers” (27). Aule also wanted to make new things (like Melkor), but he was not envious but supportive of the works of others. Aule shows this same quality as Melkor of being the creator; however, he does not become evil.
In the Silmarillion, Melkor’s thought becomes different from the others because he spent time in isolation: “Being alone he began to conceive thoughts of his own unlike those of his brethren” (16). Aule, however, who was not isolated, turned out good, like the rest of the Valar. This suggests free will is somewhat involved. It seems t be Melkor’s own thought to be “evil,” not Ilvatar’s.
I think that this isolation of Melkor lead him into darkness or evil. Because he separated himself from “light” or “good,” he became “darkness” or “evil.” A good quote for this is: “he [Melkor] began with the desire of light, but when he could not possess it ALONE, he descended through fire and wrath in a great burning, down into Darkness.” I think Melkor, being the most powerful, secluded himself from the rest (even Aule who is most similar) and put himself into a different category (evil), consequently.
Interesting Note: Sauron was a servant of Aule. Sauron also has the same creative desire as both Aule and Melkor. Sauron also changes his mind to become more evil and envious , rather than supportive and faithful (like Aule). Free will again?

Diamond Took said...

Okay, but what is free will? Free will to me always seems like a very troublesome topic. What if we put it this way: Melkor has the potential for evil deeds and Melkor is the direct "brainchild" of Iluvatar; therefore, Iluvatar also has the potential for evil deeds. Free will is generally a product of the self, right? Melkor's self comes directly from Iluvatar, not just genetically as from father to son, but as a sort of copy of a portion of Iluvatar's self. It seems to me that this evil potential must have come from Iluvatar in some shape or form. Free will is always an interesting thing to discuss and I think that when having discussions like this you have to dig deeper and explain the mechanisms of free will.