The Lord of the Rings in the 21st Century
Films or movies are representative of cultures and the nature of the generation from which it is spun. Films or movies seem to represent a piece of reality within them that seeks to inform its viewers, transform thoughts and ideals of its audience, influence change, and such. However, in this case, the role of the film or movie is to represent our society as it is now in the 21st century.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy, adapted from the books written by J. R. R. Tolkien, represents our generation in the 21st century as it illustrates the war between good and evil that we are battling at present. We exist in a world in chaos, where nations battle for peace and harmony amidst a war-stricken world, and yet like the purpose driven by the Fellowship of the Ring, the people struggle and hope that we may be able to withstand the turmoil to reach tranquility.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy follows the structure of a typical “good versus evil” movie. The theme was instigated by encompassing feelings of fear – fear from being corrupted and restricted by the malevolent and iniquitous nature of man. Moreover, the vulnerability of man to be seduced by power and authority establishes the central theme of the trilogy.
The evil that entices man will lead him to destroy the peace and goodness that exists on earth and seek to annihilate everyone who dares to oppose him in his quest for supremacy. This poses the thought that man is feeble, unable to resist his surrender to wickedness for his personal vested interests.
Sauron, the antagonist in the film trilogy, represents the greed for power. The ring, which Sauron seeks, is the symbolism of power, and with this power, the ability to rule all of earth according to his desires. Perhaps this builds on one cultural myth that illustrates the growing need of man to earn power or a valuable position in society. As the world grows and deteriorates into a society that nurtures unfairness, inequality, deceit, war, value for money and status rather than life, the mind set of people grows and changes along with it.
This kind of society builds on competition, such that the more power you have, the more authority you gain to obtain what you want and need. Moreover, this kind of society has instilled in the minds of the people that they need to struggle and compete with other people no matter the cost, just to obtain power. Sauron is greed that grows inside every human being, always in search for that ring of power, believing it to be their saving grace to survive in the mess of the world.
On a more practical or technical perspective, the society that we live in at present is more of a capitalist society. The foundation of capitalism is built on the kind of competition already discussed in the previous paragraph. People compete for ownership and profit, without being controlled or restricted, which will lead them to occupy a highly revered position.
Under the context of business, capitalists manipulate the people into purchasing what they sell in order to earn profit and obtain ownership over the majority. Moreover, capitalists compete among themselves and will do everything at all costs to obtain an advantage over competitors.
Like the characters of Isildur and Smeagol (Gollum) in the trilogy, capitalists have been corrupted by the greed for power (Sauron and the ring).
Isildur was a great king and Smeagol was an innocent hobbit, however, their brief possession of the one ring has corrupted them. Isildur chose not to destroy the ring but keep it for himself in order to maintain his position as king, while Smeagol became fixated on the ring which hindered him from having a good and happy life.
This is similar with what is happening now. Capitalists have built a world according to their terms where people are urged to earn more money in order to spend it on what capitalism has dictated as their wants and needs – and this is all motivated by greed.
Instead of thinking about equality and justice, capitalists chose to be in power and from there obtain more of it by relying on the weaknesses of the people who are at a disadvantage. The people too, who submit to the deceit that capitalists impose on them, are being tempted like Smeagol.
People nowadays are never happy about earning a regular salary – they have to earn more. People are not contented with having a roof above them – it has to be a big house with large windows, a pool, overlooking the mountains, etc. The discontentment is caused by the influence of capitalists for people to have more, and by having more, they mean having more from them.