We Are Very Similar, yet We Are Very Different: J.R.R Tolkien´s Éowyn of Rohan´s Vergilian Origins and Her Search for Meaning
Abstract: Through the years, many characters in The Lord of the Rings have been analysed in different ways. Éowyn is no exception. Her character has often been associated with the shield-maidens and Valkyries existing in Nordic Germanic and Anglo-Saxon literatures. This essay, however, breaks with this tradition. Instead, the focus of this research lies on Éowyn´s classical origins found in Virgil´s Dido of Carthage from his epic poem The Aeneid. By employing Ian Watt´s The Rise of the Novel and Georg Lukács´ The Theory of the Novel, I will interpret Éowyn as a novelistic character in possession of psychological depth, searching for meaning. The results of this comparison show that Éowyn has her origins in Dido, but she liberates herself from Carthage´s queen partly because she is different from her own Rohirric society and partly because she is a highly psychological character who reaches self recognitions several times during the events of the War of the Ring. Although inspired by Dido in origin, the fact that Éowyn has her roots in Classical literature enables the reader successively to distinguish her novelistic nature during the course of events in The Lord of the Rings.