Well I heard my name being mentioned and I thought I might add my own opinion to this discussion ... For some reason many of you seem to be over complicating this issue. We are discussing a work of fiction, born of a man's mind. Tolkien created heroes and villains, they aren't always black and white, indeed they are often grey. Nevertheless there are still heroes and villains. I'm not sure why some are weaving in complex analagoies or philosophies to explame something that is really very simple. Tolkien's work is about a battle between good and evil. These two forces are personified at different times by different people/things. It doesn;t actually matter what name we choose to give the villain, or the hero for that matter, because they are always the same. For me Tolkien's works start out with balance, with harmony. Then we have imbalance and disharmony. One only needs to look to this to see what is good and what is evil. All the other things we label as such stem from this. Now many of you will be thinking that I am suggesting that Melkor is the villain at this point, but you would only be partly correct. It is the imbalance, which Melkor created that I see as being the true villain in Tolkien's works.