The Ethics and Lord of the Rings Seminar Series

"One Ring to Rule Them All” - Weekly Seminar Series for Students  

Facilitator: Surendra Arjoon, PhD (Professor of Business & Professional Ethics)
Dates/Time: Mondays from 12.00 noon - 1.00 pm (beginning September 2018)
Venue: Room 103, Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS)

Why be moral? Can we justify choosing a moral life even when the immoral life is more rewarding? If an immoral life leads to wealth, power, and fame while a morally virtuous life leads to poverty, powerlessness, and abuse, then why be moral?

Plato’s response is simple: the immoral life is a worse life than a morally virtuous life because ultimately the immoral life corrupts the soul of the immoralist. The immoral life leads to fundamental unhappiness: mental anguish, the loss of friends and loved ones, and emotional bankruptcy. All the power in the world cannot compensate for the psychological emptiness of an immoral life. The moral person, in contrast, lives a life of integrity and personal fulfillment, even if he or she is limited in power, wealth, and fame. Moral persons are at peace with themselves.

(Katz, Eric 2003. The Rings of Tolkien and Plato. In The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy: One Book to Rule Them All, Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson (eds.), Open Court: Illinois).

For more information, please contact Professor Surendra Arjoon at 662-2002 ext. 83304 or email

Student Testimonials 

"The philosophical undertones are deep and some of the perspectives discussed included the themes of morality, duty and friendship. These elements of the film stand out and allow us to appreciate the journey of life. There struggles along the way and many challenges which we need not confront alone. But a challenge is something we all confront and it brings forth a duty upon us to ensure that we overcome hurdles whilst helping others. Thus, we achieve the ultimate end in having lived a meaningful life. Therefore the seminar series allowed me to explore these themes in ways I never really conceived of before and hope that it continues to teach those who attend."

  • "The Lord of the Rings seminars are useful since it helps us to address our moral problems and our judgement process. Hence we are able to make better judgement to make better choices. Also, it focuses more on expanding our personality rather than our academic skills to be a productive member of society. These seminars are helpful as we can be able to communicate with others more effectively. The seminars should continue as it allows for a person to look at oneself, to be able to recognize your mistakes and imperfection and find ways to fixed these faults and move on to become a better person."

"Attending these hourly sessions throughout the semester was enlightening, it gave me a better understanding of life, my goals, values and morals allowing me to prioritize what needs to be done and also I was able to put things into perspective. It helped me deal with failures and regrets by showing me that I was fighting a losing battle against myself and that the only way to truly move on was to forgive myself and to live in the present. The use of the trilogy in relation to real life was remarkable and I appreciated the visual examples and how it applied to my life. I learnt when you accept your role in life, the person you are supposed to be; you begin to live rightly, when trials and negativity cross your path you are able to handle them without compromising your moral alignment."


"It was really educational and intellectually appealing. I noticed some other folks in the lecture were excited by that fact…But to be honest my motivation for attending was purely for the sake of having a good motivational therapy for the week. I like listening to things like that, they make you feel uplifted and you know…want to do good things for yourself."

  • "To the untrained eye, the movie may seem to be fictional, but this was the precise method chosen by the author to address issues of life faced by every human being and to show that we can become masters of such issues."

"Who would have pictured that lessons on life, philosophy, ethics and inspirational deep thinking can be derived from the “Lord of the Ring” movie? This seminar …enriched me by encouraging me to think about my behavior and actions. These sessions were really insightful and character building was another advantage which these sessions provided."

  • ​"The seminar has given me new perspective which I believe will help me to continue to develop more virtuous qualities. I also view situations such as rejection from a new angle which I have found is key for a more peaceful resolution."

"…drills down to the core philosophies which stealthily underlie the responses of the characters in the many different events they encounter. Some concepts explored include but not limited to: hope, courage, peace, fear, love, destiny, grace, humility, maturity, innocence, ignorance, patience, trust, fellowship and of course temptation."

  • "…the knowledge equipped from this lecture can put one in a better position to deal with the events of their own personal life. I do urge everyone to attend if they can, regardless of job, field of study or age."

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