Title: Éomer i Éowyn realizacja motywu młodego herosa i jego inicjacji


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Szeląg, Łukasz


The Lord of the Rings: king of Rohan Éomer and his sister Éowyn. Their history is described as a realisation of the theme of the young hero and his initiation (consistent with van Gennep’s scheme of ’the rites of passage’). I compare them with examples of this type of story in the oral epic tale which was most important for Tolkien - Beowulf, and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, also significant for him, as he wrote in one of his letters. I regard them as a part of greater oral tradition and agree with the theory of oral epic created by M. Parry and A. Lord (Lord 2010), developed by G. Nagy (Nagy 1999) and K. Zieliński (Zieliński 2014). I also use Mieletinski’s view on myth and creating the heroic epic stories (Mieletinski 2009). In the first part of the paper I describe the scheme of the young hero in mentioned epic stories, and its most significant elements: he kills his enemy and achieves the status of a great hero (and, in some cases, king) – his glory becomes eternal. Next I show how Éomer and Éowyn realise th s scheme – he becomes the king - saviour of his people (like Eorl and Frèalaf before him), she becomes a real heroine for her people. They both achieve new roles in society. Éomer completes all challenges in his way to become king and a great warrior: he makes the right decision when he meets Aragorn and his companions (he should arrest or kill them, but he helps them and gives them horses), and performs great deeds in the battles in the Helm’s Deep and the Fields of Pelennor. However, he does not enact a typically heroic great deed. But Éowyn does - she kills the Nazgûl – as the only person who can do it. The theme of the young hero is divided for the two of them and is fully realised when we compare their deeds. Also, Tolkien in describing their stories (especially in the case of Éowyn) uses methods which are typical of oral epic – retardations and multiplications of scenes. This two characters show us that the roots of Tolkien’s works exist in oral epic tradition – the hero goes on a journey to kill the mon ster (or another hero) – he is the only one who can do this, although he never fulfilled an act as great as this

Place of publishing:



Pracownia Badań nad Tradycją Oralną


Zieliński, Karol. Red. ; Torbus, Sławomir. Red.



Date issued:


Resource Type:

czasopisma online


pdf ; application/pdf


oai:repozytorium.uni.wroc.pl:79821 ; ISSN 2449–8181




eng ; pol

Access rights:

Regulamin korzystania z Biblioteki Cyfrowej Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego


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Copyright by Łukasz Szeląg

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Last modified:

Dec 14, 2020

In our library since:

Oct 19, 2017

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