76. Notes - part V
Beren's demand for answers, and The Meaning of Life is, of course, a re-envisioning of the climactic scenes of another work of literature — The Book of Job. It also comes completely out of the Silmarillion: if his words are familiar, that's because he's invoking, somewhat consciously, but even more so without conscious recollection, Fëanor's words to the Powers at the Darkening, and voicing as well the unconfronted doubts of Bereg, which continued to simmer even among the faithful Edain, voiced in later generations by Andreth and Morwen. That the dangers in demanding direct revelation from the gods come not from the likelihood of being zapped with a thunderbolt for "impiety" but in the problem of not being able to cope with that much unshielded creative power can be found in myths like that of Semele, or the accounts of seers being left catatonic after encounters with the Divine; that the consequence of getting what you demand from the reluctant gods can be a cautionary tale shows up in Aesop, and elsewhere. "He who asks questions cannot escape the answers," goes an old African proverb, tellingly.
(If it isn't screamingly clear why he's managed to finally set off Námo's fuse, after all this time — and why Oromë is (barely) resisting the urge to belt him one — I'm afraid it will have to wait a little while before everything is made clear.)
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