Philology, pedagogy, and psychology

2023 Issue №1

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The category of pity in «The Great Divorce» by C.S. Lewis and «The Lord of the Rings» by J.R.R. Tolkien



The article analyzes the main features of the category of pity in the texts of two inklings — C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien in the context of the ethical binary opposition of “good and evil”. This binary opposition is not randomly chosen: Lewis wrote “The Great Divorce” in order to refute the famous artistic idea of William Blake about a fruitful union or the marriage of Heaven and Hell, which personifies the creative mixture of good and evil, and as a result, the blurring of the boundaries of the main ethical categories, manifested in the moral relativism of man of the twentieth (and, perhaps, the twenty-­first) centuries. The genre of the text “The Lord of the Rings” by Tolkien can be defined as an epic fantasy dedicated to the eternal struggle of good and evil. The confrontation between the two members of the ethical binary opposition of interest to us is at the center of Tolkien’s narrative. In both Lewis’s text and Tolkien’s work, good and evil are not relative categories inherent in the consciousness of the perceiving person, but existential categories of the world order. This binary opposition is, according to Lewis’s thought, “the key to understanding the universe”. The method of comparative analysis makes it possible to reveal the unity and at the same time minor differences in the representation of the category of pity in the work of the two inklings. From the point of view of correlation with the basic ethical binary opposition, the category of pity in the texts of Lewis and Tolkien is analyzed. Different meanings (models) of pity are considered, the main features of realisation of this category in the texts of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Great Divorce” are described.