J.R.R. Tolkien and Joseph Campbell: Parallel Paths to Myth

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies

Organizational Unit

University College, Arts and Culture Management


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Jennifer Golightly


Fairy tales, Hero's journey, J R R Tolkien, Joseph Campbell, Middle-earth, Monomyth, Mythology


While author J.R.R. Tolkien created the fantasy world of Middle-earth, comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote extensively about the structure and meaning of mythology gathered from throughout the world. Each man's work offers a different perspective of mythology as a metaphor for human existence and meaning. This capstone project merges the works of both authors by applying Campbell's framework for the heroic journey, i.e., the monomyth, as described in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, to Tolkien's trilogy The Lord of the Rings. By juxtaposing the Jungian and Freudian focus of Campbell's work with the theological and literary foundation of Tolkien's fiction, a fuller understanding of the hero's journey and its applicability to the human condition will be addressed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.

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