Arthurian Influence in the Lord of the Rings

Disenchanting Tolkien's Commentary on Postwar England

  • Michael Hayley


J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved Lord of the Rings has been considered one of the greatest works of English literature. This work analyzes Tolkien's inspiration and motivation in his writing process by situation middle-earth in the context of postwar England. Evaluation Tolkien's letters reveal his affinity for Arthurian legend, and his desire to reinvent it to create a myth that was distinctly English. A comparison of the two bodies of legend reveals similar Archetypal elements and characterizations that give Tolkien's legendarium credibility and weight. Through Sauron's destruction of middle-earth, Tolkien reveals his concerns for a modern, industrialized England and the consequences of war. In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien reinvents the legend of Arthur into a synthesis of English national identity and exigency for the future. 

Author Biography

Michael Hayley

Michael Haley is a sophomore at Boston College studying Economics. As an avid fan of the Lord of the Rings, Michael became interested in exploring Tolkien’s motivations and inspiration for creating the lore of Middle-earth. This work is the culmination of his research and commentary on the mind of the legendary J.R.R. Tolkien in the context of postwar England.

How to Cite
Hayley, M. (2021). Arthurian Influence in the Lord of the Rings. Elements, 15(1), 59-65.