The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2402  Friday, 19 December 2003

From:           Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 18 Dec 2003 08:06:22 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Tolkien and Shakespeare (Again)

Avert your eyes if you do not want to hear about Lord of the Rings:
Return of the King before seeing the film:

This conference nicely discussed the possibilities of Tolkien's nodding
to Shakespeare with the insurgency of the Ents in The Two Towers being a
possible reference to the moving of Birnam Wood. In the third book/film:
another such possible reference and revision occurs. The chief Dark
Rider is portrayed by Gandalf as impossible to be slain by man. Of
course, it runs across Eowyn at the Battle of Minas Tirith and
pronounces to her: "I can not be slain by mankind". Eowyn takes off her
helm and defiantly asserts "I am not man" before impaling its face(?) on
her sword. Perhaps not a direct parallel but the closeness of the
deception made me immediately think of Macbeth. Am I reading too much
into it? Or is it another possible echo of the influence of
Shakespeare's play on Tolkien's mind? More than one reviewer have
mentioned Shakespearean parallels as being a part of the film's

Brian Willis

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