Morgoth: The Black Enemy of the World
Morgoth is the true Dark Lord, the Avatar of Evil in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy universe. In the beginning, he was Melkor, highest of all the Ainur of old. Yet due to his evil heart, he alone of the Valar felt fear. Though many evils are ascribed to him, his chief sin is present in us all: Pride.
To Melkor among the Ainur had been given the greatest gifts of power and knowledge and he had a share in all the gifts of his brethren.
So speaks the Ainulindale, the music of the Ainur. In the beginning the Ainur sang for Illuvatar, that is God, to bring forth creation. Even then, Melkor began to show forth his pride. He caused the music of the Ainur to change and the first tumults of Ea, that is the Universe, were sparked by his rebellion. Nevertheless, he was mastered by Illuvatar and Melkor’s tumultuous music was incorporated into the song of creation.
When Ainur descended upon Arda, that is the World, they became the Valar, the powers of the world. Chieftain of the Valar was Manwe, brother to Melkor, and nearest to him in power. Yet all the good Valar, in the beginning, were no match for the power that was Melkor. As is told in the Quenta Silmarillion, he overpowered his brethren and caused the marring of Arda long before Men or Elves were wakened upon the Earth.
Later on he would do many deeds of evil and spite. Not the least was the marring of Feanor, the corruption of Illuvatar’s children, or the estrangement of Men and Elves. After the rape of the Silmarils, Feanor named him Morgoth, black enemy of the world. As is better told in the Quenta Silmarillion, Feanor and the valiant Noldor waged a hopeless war for the recovery of the Silmarils.
In the end, because Morgoth dispersed his corrupting essence into his servants, he became bound unto the Earth. He took upon himself a raiment from the flesh of Arda and he became like unto a mortal. In his defeat his physical form was executed and his spirit was thrust from the World. Yet his dark will remained. His malice continued to inflame the hearts of Orcs and other beings of Evil. His lies remained to estrange Men from Elves and his mightiest servant, Sauron, would later usurp his place and continue the War against all that is true, good and beautiful. Finally, his corrupting influence continued to mar the world as a whole. Thus it was said that all of Middle Earth was Morgoth’s ring.
Yet, how could one so high become cast down to so dire a low? That Tolkien was known as a Christian writer is best exemplified in his Morgoth. Like Lucifer in the Book of Genesis, Melkor was mighty and but he would not submit to God’s plan. In his pride, he insisted in doing things his own way. Though his rebellion was ultimately without hope he nevertheless persisted. Arda was marred and would not be healed until the end of days.
We hold that we are good. We believe that we can never be like Melkor. Never shall we corrupt our fellow man and turn them into Orcs. None of us can imagine beguiling others to turn against each other for the sake of beguiling alone. Certainly, we will not mar the works of others just to claim that we had a part in their creation. Or so we believe.
But in fact, his a priori sin exists in all of us. Just as Morgoth, in all likelihood, believed that all of himself was good and just, so are we men wont to believe that our deeds are good and just. In our pride, we are often blinded to justice and the needs of others. Pride was the cause of the original sin. Pride has, does and will ever cause men to turn away from good.
As Melkor lusted to claim Arda as his dominion, so do we desire to claim our own share of the world. Because we esteem ourselves great, at times we claim more than is rightful to the detriment of others. For example, many legislators scurry to claim authorship of a bill so that they may call it their own. Yet in truth many laws were written by humble clerks and staffmen.
As Melkor took the Silmarils by fire and murder, we disturbingly often will resort to false counsels and white lies to achieve our will. One example is political propaganda. While not always wholly untrue, often they hide facts that can change the whole story.
Morgoth was Melkor Bauglir, the Constrainer. His marring of the World caused it to be less than it should have been. At times, in our pride in ourselves, we put others down and make little of their achievements so as too keep our self-proclaimed place in the world.
There can be no doubt that Melkor was evil,. That he was conquered and executed is just. But to say that he is a Dark Lord, essentially evil, that his malice was a fiction, a literary device to contrast with the Good is false. Though he be a fiction, Morgoth pride lives in each and every one of us. The little Melkor within must be humbled err evil befall us all.
 Ainulindale by JRR Tolkien
 The Lost Road and Other Writings: Ainulindalë, pp. 157, 164.
 The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien
 # ^ J. R. R. Tolkien (1977). in Christopher Tolkien (ed.): The Silmarillion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p. 50. ISBN 0-395-25730-1.
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