Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1987


Superficial similarities between the Sauron of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and the Dracula of Bram Stoker's Dracula will strike anyone who reads both works. But the relationship between the two chief antagonists goes far beyond the superficial. Sauron and Dracula are tyrant-monsters of similar motives and powers. Both are counter-creators of a mode of existence associated with the powers of darkness which is parasitical on the natural life of creation and at active war with it, called not "living" but "Un-Dead" (spelled "undead" in Tolkien, III 116) in both. Both seek to draw others into this "undeath" and hold them there by establishing a bond of intimate psychological domination over them. Both tyrants use hypnotic eyes in order to feed their visions into the minds of their victims, and control their actions once it is there. In both works, domination by the tyrant represents high spiritual terror because it is a kind of damnation-on-earth which cuts off its victims from the possibility of release by a natural death. Finally, both raise troubling questions about people's moral responsibilities for the content of their unconscious minds. But intriguing as all these similarities are, the divergences in the work are still more striking, because they show a darkening in the concept of evil, and a heightened consciousness on Tolkien's part of his protagonists' struggle to maintain their own good vision of the world despite the power of the Eye of the tyrant, in whose vision hope is unreal.


The version of record is available from Mythlore, which is published by the Mythopoeic Society at Mythlore is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and the genres of myth and fantasy.

Copyright © 1987 the author. All rights reserved.