Art and the Transcendentals in The Hobbit

Tolkien’s philosophy, in line with the ancient Greeks, that the good, the true, and the beautiful are inextricably interwoven emerges in the portrayal of the orcs. Since they are “cruel, wicked and bad hearted”, they cannot make good, true or beautiful things. Instead, they make “clever” things — using their intelligence for evil designs.They also prefer technology and its “labour saving devices” over the traditional craftsmanship that takes delight int he work of the hands and its products (32). Tolkien contrasts the orcs/goblins dislike of craftsmanship and art with the delight that the elves, hobbits, and dwarves take in such things.Tolkien also has the orcs leap out of the world of Middle-earth and into the world in which we, his readers, live when he suggests that the orcs were probably responsible for inventing the weapons of mass destruction which have “since troubled the world.”

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