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Old 01-23-2005, 10:11 PM   #65
Mister Underhill
Dread Horseman
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Join Date: Sep 2000
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Mister Underhill has been trapped in the Barrow!
The idea that internal attributes are hidden from everyone but "those who have eyes to see" seems on the surface of it to contradict the idea of the visible soul. I mean, visible means visible, right?

I wonder if the phrase "visible souls" can (with a nod to Aiwendil) be imagined in more literal terms. Viz: Hobbits, who are widely considered insignificant and beneath the notice of the Wise, are short: literally beneath notice. The ugly, malignant souls of Orcs are externalized in their hideous appearance. The Nazgūl, who embody negation and emptiness, appear as empty clothes. Treebeard, the epitome of slowness and implacable patience, is a tree with legs. Sauron, who is consumed with seeking for his ring and with dominating all other life, is symbolized as a great, restless eye. And so on.

In the modern world (and in some modern literature) the average face of the guy next door may hide the soul of a brutal killer. In the mythic realm, it's more difficult to hide who you really are because your soul is literally visible.
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