Thursday 28 April 2011

Can *elves* repent?


Following on from the idea about why orcs neither surrender nor accept mercy,

is the idea that this may not be because orcs are demons (i.e. fallen angels, fallen maia) - but because orcs are corrupted elves; and that once fallen elves cannot repent.


The idea is that Tolkien's elves are - roughly - between Men and Angels - an incarnate angel or a higher form of human than Man.

But it may be that in Tolkien's world higher forms than Man - including elves - are incapable of repentance, therefore incapable of being forgiven.


There may be some exceptions to this, but it seems that while Men are already fallen by the time that they enter history, and that therefore all 'good' Men in Tolkien have - in a sense - repented and been forgiven (but, of course, may fall again - but can then again repent and be forgiven again) the higher rational beings of Tolkien's universe seem to be unable to repent once they have been corrupted.

Although even Morgoth is offered a chance or two to repent, and Saruman, and Feanor - none of them take it (or have I missed someone?), and it is possible that they could not take this chance (although maybe there is an obligation to offer it? Perhaps even the Valar do not know whether repentance is possible for themselves? - perhaps only Eru knows for sure).


This could be the great advantage of Men - and the reason why Men are destined to dominate and displace other species. Although they are worse (more evil) than elves in most respects, worse even than ents, and overall maybe (maybe) even worse than dwarves - Men can repent.

No matter how deep the hole they have dig for themselves, and no matter their moral feebleness, weakness of will, and recidivism - Man can (and do) repent and try again.

But not so elves - once a bad elf, always a bad elf...



1 comment:

mjw said...

I think Osse is the clearest example of a 'higher' being who repents.