There is a side of things Boethius does not talk about in the passages we have already seen.  He does not ask whether the good man who is destroyed or harmed by the wicked suffers real harm or destruction.  He talks about this elsewhere, however, and the answer is No.

It seems to me that Boethius must say this in order for the world to be set right.  If one is seriously to believe that the wicked have no power, while one nevertheless experiences the mundane fact that the wicked kill people every day, or forge malevolent rings, or construct unassailable fortresses from which to deploy vast armies of orcs, then one must save face somehow.  One must revert to saying that those who seem to have power over the body have no power over the soul.  And perhaps one will emphasize the fact that the wicked have only a transitory power even over the body, and that in the resurrection, the wicked will have power over nothing.

The resurrection is a controversial subject to broach in Middle Earth.  Elves have no need of it, and Men do not philosophize about it.  Death is a gift, a boon from Iluvatar, and appears not to need revoking.  I will let that sleeping dog lie.  But even without a resurrection in Middle Earth, it is fairly clear that death is not an evil.  In the unknown realm into which the dying go, the goodness of Iluvatar must still order all things.  And one suspects that in that realm, whether in or out of the world, wrongs will be set right.

Thus Boethius appeals to the afterlife:  no matter what goods may be destroyed in this world, our happiness consists in another, in becoming divine (as he puts it): in becoming “gods.”  This, too, is what the wicked lose.  Moreover, whatever wrongs we suffer in this life at the hands of wicked men or fickle Fortune, are actually goods sent by divine mercy to prepare us for the long-awaited happiness.

These are threads Tolkien does not weave into the trilogy.  The reward of good deeds in Middle Earth is the song that is sung of them afterwards, by whoever is left to sing.  The righting of wrongs in the afterlife is a hope which, if yearned for, is still unspoken.  And yet there is the hint eveywhere that death is not really to be feared, that (like Gandalf, perhaps) the righteous man is ultimately unslayable.  He may go to the halls of his fathers, he may go down into the earth or pass over the falls to the sea–but in the end he is accounted for, and preserved from the reach of those who can kill the soul.  In whatever place the dead wait, he too awaits the unbending of the world and the fate of the children of Iluvatar.

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