Evil in Fantasy Literature

Swapnesh Agrawal


The concept of evil and the demon have not only been a crucial element in fantasy literature but one that has transcended cultural and religious boundaries to create stereotypes that define man’s limitations and his urge to defeat them, liberating him by providing him no easy escape routes. We try to analyze the various definitions proposed for evil and whether any of them can be accepted universally, tracing back the roots of various religious beliefs to understand the beginning of human understanding on this topic. We also aim to establish a link between the proposed definitions of evil and how this is used as a trope in modern fantasy works. Secondly, we debate on bucket categories of evil, reflecting on each discussion in reference to some popular fantasy texts, focussing primarily on the trendsetter of the fantasy genre, The Works of JRR Tolkien while also throwing light upon a slightly different portrayal of evil in High Fantasy works from authors such as JK Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, Sarah J Maas etc.


Fantastic; Evil; Mythology; High Fantasy; Religion; Morality; Tolkien

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JRR Tolkien, Lord of The Rings

Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass

Tzevtan Todorov, “The Fantastic : A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre”, 1973.

Parkin, David. The Anthropology of Evil, ed. David Parkin (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985)

Gaita, Raymond. Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception (New York: St. Martin's Press,1991)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.52155/ijpsat.v15.2.1126


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