Much of the poignancy of J.R.R. Tolkien's literary universe comes from its atmosphere of tragedy. The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings take place in a universe where noble and heroic actions are most often small candles lit against the inexorable march of evil. This backdrop of tragedy, which Galadriel names "the long defeat," is certainly influenced by Tolkien's views of Germanic mythologies, but it also draws much from the medieval notions of evil in Patristic Angelology and St. Augustine's theology of human history. These twin understandings of evil ultimately lead to one conclusion in Tolkien: the need for divine intervention in world history. Through exploring these two dimensions of evil in Tolkien's legendarium, this paper concludes with a treatment of how this divine intervention turns the inevitable catastrophe of world history into the eucatastrophe of myth.



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