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Minas Tirith Forums » Silmarillion » Why did Nienor tear off her clothes?
Author Topic: Why did Nienor tear off her clothes?
Peter_20
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Why did Tolkien have Nienor take her clothes off as she was running away from Mablung & CO?
Is it a way to symbolize Nienor's "new life" as Níniel, so that she should wake up as a new-born child?
That's my theory, anyway.
Or maybe she just got scared of her clothes during her madness.

[ 09-12-2007, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: Peter_20 ]

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Eluchil
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It may be interesting to note that it has not always been so :
quote:
§312 Then the Orcs gave chase, and the Elves after; but though they overtook the Orcs indeed and slew them ere they could harm her, Niënor escaped them. For she fled as in a madness of fear, swifter than a deer; and tore off all her raiment as she ran, until she was naked [bracketed later:] but for a short kirtle.

The Grey Annals.

And here is Christopher's comment :
quote:
§312 Similarly in the manuscript of NE, after 'until she went naked' (p. 121), the words 'but for the short elven-kirtle above the knee that she had worn in her disguise' were bracketed for exclusion.

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Belthronding
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I think her nakedness is meant to be indicative of her madness.
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Madomir
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Symbolically it could mean any number of things..

Looking at it practically however gives us the possibility that the answer may be very simple.. mad people do mad things. It's hard to rationalize the actions of an irrational person, the high divorce rate and the sheer quantity of miserable husbands are proof of that! []

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Hamfast Gamgee
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I personally think it was a little bit of Tolkien porn!
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Madomir
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I can see it now.. Jenna Jameson as Galadriel.. the role she was born to play!!
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Roll of Honor Athene
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No comment.
[]

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Snöwdog
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Marhwini
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I got the impression that Niënor's clothes were torn off by her running through the underbrush.

But going back to read it in The Silmarillion does seem to indicate that she tore them off.

I am going to guess that there is a mythological and theological device at play here.

As we often see similar displays of nudity in Chivalric Romances where a character undergoes a form of Rebirth.

In the case of Niënor, she is reborn as Níniel.

The nudity in the story of Túrin with Niënor is non-sexual.

And it involves a Dragon spell stripping her of her identity.

Clothing is usually an indicator of Identity in Feudal Societies. So her stripping off her clothing would be symbolic of her stripping off her old identity, to be reborn as a new person, even if due to the effects of a malevolent power of the Dragon's Gaze.

MB

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