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Sunday, September 5 • 12:30am - 1:00am
‘A Song of Greater Power’: Analyzing Christian Figures in Sir Orfeo and The Lay of Leithian

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My paper aims to compare the medieval lay "Sir Orfeo" with J.R.R. Tolkien’s "The Lay of Leithian", as I believe that Tolkien intentionally borrowed from this romance in the construction of his own work. I initially analyze the form and meter of both poems in order to show how heavily Tolkien borrows from the medieval work. After this, I argue that Tolkien views Orfeo as a Christian figure, whose suffering and ultimate salvation mirrors the individual Christian journey towards salvation. However, in an attempt to update this work, Tolkien recreates and expands upon the original by divvying up Orfeo's role between two characters, a man and a woman. In the same way "Sir Orfeo" updated the original Orpheus myth to be relatable to medieval Christians, I ultimately argue that Tolkien is expanding upon this definition even further by including women, and thus making his work more reflective of the modern Christian experience.

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avatar for Mitchell Milam

Mitchell Milam

Mitchell Milam recently got his Master of Arts in English at Texas Tech University. Milam has presented at two previous conferences, the South Central Renaissance Conference and the Arts and Humanities Graduate Student Research Conference. While Milam presented on Shakespeare and... Read More →


Sunday September 5, 2021 12:30am - 1:00am BST
0 - Online only (Webinar Strand)