Saruman reminds me so, so much of Adolf Hitler. The power of his voice, anyway. Hitler was said to have a kind of mesmerizing thing going on when he made speeches. And the guy convinced a nation to go to war, to either participate in or turn a blind eye to all kinds of atrocities. That's a lot of power, and look at how Tolkien describes Saruman's voice:
Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves (p. 564).Just like it's hard to tell what color Saruman's cloak is, it's hard to tell just what he's saying or why. I find that so scary! Not being able to tell just what something is or means... yikes.
"The treacherous are ever distrustful" (p. 568).
"Well, well, things will go as they will; and there is no need to hurry to meet them" (p. 571).
Possible Discussion Questions:
Saruman says to Gandalf, "You are proud and do not love advice, having indeed a store of your own wisdom" (p. 567). Do you think people who don't like advice are that way because they have enough wisdom of their own? Do you think Gandalf actually does not love advice?