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Brothers and Arms: How Two Brothers Reflect the Abandonment of Past Heroic Ideals and the Development of Future ones in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings


  • Estrid Ericson Borggren

Summary, in English

The literary heroic ideal changed with the Great War, as the Victorian hero ideal was no longer plausible in a post-war world. The new ideal was pacifist and non-heroic but not everyone who had been through the Great War agreed that there was no heroicism. This essay discusses the development of the heroic ideal in the mid twentieth century in relation to the two brothers Boromir and Faramir in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955). By using intertextuality, historical criticism and biographical criticism, the ideals behind the creation of the characters, as well as the relationship between the characters, are examined. Focus is put on the contrast between past and future ideals, and on how Tolkien diverts from the prevailing pacifist post-war ideal by creating a new heroic ideal. Additionally, the significance of the brother-brother relationship is discussed, providing a new link between the ideals of the past and the future.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Heroic Ideals
  • Tolkien
  • Victorian Medievalism
  • Boromir
  • Faramir
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Heroicism
  • Post-war Literature
  • The Great War
  • Beowulf
  • Past
  • Future
  • Brothers


  • Cecilia Wadsö-Lecaros (PhD)