The Chronicles of Narnia Analysis
C. S. Lewis was a professor who was passionate about mythology and historical literature. Therefore, it is not surprising that these elements are seen throughout his magnum opus, The Chronicles of Narnia. His story is reminiscent of many ancient tales of folklore and fantasy.
One of his prominent sources of inspiration is the tale of King Arthur and his court. Known as the Once and Future King, Arthur is regarded as a paragon of chivalry, and it was rumored that he would return to save England one day. In Lewis's story, the Pevensie siblings become kings and queens of the land of Narnia. They are leaders of righteousness and uphold morality and values as well as the law throughout the land of Narnia, just as King Arthur did. In the story, they are summoned back to Narnia by Prince Caspian in his time of need, once again reminiscent of Arthur's proclaimed return to England.
In addition to pulling from Arthurian legend, Lewis draws a large portion of his world-building from folklore and mythology. Fawns, unicorns, druids, and dwarves are prevalent throughout his stories, as well as lesser gods from Ancient mythology. For example, the Greek god of wine and celebration, Bacchus, shows up to help overthrow Miraz and the Telmarine army, and he follows their victory with a celebratory parade throughout the nation.
A list of Lewis's sources of inspiration would be incomplete if it failed to reference the Christian canon of scripture. C. S. Lewis clearly draws much of his story from biblical narratives and events. For instance, the beginning of Narnia is shown to involve an intelligent creator singing the land into existence from a dark and formless void, echoing the beginning of the book of Genesis. This is followed shortly by a quest to find a mythical fruit which brings healing but also ends up cursing the young world with sin and evil when the Witch consumes it without permission. Aslan acts as a Christ figure, dying on a table and being resurrected for the sins of Edmund and to rid the world of the White Witch. The end of the series culminates in the apocalyptic end of Narnia, in which the world is destroyed and Aslan's faithful followers are taken up into a perfect Heavenly Narnia, much like the rapture the book of Revelation delineates.
The seven books constituting the Chronicles of Narnia tell how Aslan the Lion, son of the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea, sings Narnia into being from nothing and later saves it from evil by sacrificing himself and rising again. He spares nothing to make others good if they are open to change. The fictional history of the adventures does not correspond to the order of either composition or publication, but author C. S. Lewis provided a suggested order for reading the stories that is adhered to in the following plot summaries.
In The Magician’s Nephew, the adult Andrew Ketterley, who dabbles in magic, discovers rings that can transport their wearers into other worlds and back (he thinks). He tricks his nephew Digory Kirke and Digory’s friend, Polly Plummer, into trying the rings. The two children discover that yellow rings transport them to the Wood between the Worlds. Once there, green rings can plunge them into pools magically leading to other worlds.
In the dead world of Charn, Digory’s unbridled curiosity leads him to release an evil witch, Jadis, from a deathlike enchantment. Jadis forces her way back to Earth, where she works her destructive evil. The children use the rings to get her out of Earth, but instead of getting her back to Charn, they go to Narnia, a new world the lion Aslan is singing into existence. Because Digory and Polly brought evil into Narnia, Aslan gives them a role in containing it. They ride a winged horse to a far garden, bringing back an apple to plant in Narnia as temporary protection against Jadis. Aslan gives Digory an apple to take back to Earth and use to cure his dying mother. Digory plants the apple’s core, and from the tree that grows he has a wardrobe made.
(The entire section is 1,714 words.)