Rhetorical Manipulation in the Works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien

Date

2022

Authors

Ewert, Rylee

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Worldwide access

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Abstract

Familiar with the verbal persuasion of leaders and dictators of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien offer insight into the power of speeches, including those of malicious intent. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, along with Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters and That Hideous Strength characterize evil speakers with similarities that my thesis explores. Using textual analysis and the insight of other scholars, I specifically address the shared goals of these rhetoricians, which arise in the speeches themselves or through their effects on other characters. This thesis suggests that Tolkien and Lewis’s manipulative speakers share the same three-fold goal to distort people, to enslave them, and to isolate them from others. Through the scenes, these authors suggest the ways that such speakers target human inadequacies and how one might respond to their words.

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Keywords

Rhetorical strategies., Manipulative speech., Villains in Tolkien's and Lewis's texts.

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