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Old 11-20-2001, 01:57 AM   #1
Marileangorifurnimaluim
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Silmaril What caused Frodo to finally give in to the power of the Ring and claim it?

Back to the simple question, who spoke, the ring or Frodo? "...or be cast yourself into the flames.."

It was Frodo, his will defeated at last by his own weaknesses which the ring played on, until he claimed it at last.

He sounded different because... well, you guess. What was Frodo's key weakness that finally caused him to put on the ring?

The ring is subtle. It doesn't work the user like a puppet, it's not so simple. The ring amplifies the capacities of the user -- especially their weaknesses.

"Yet it's way to my heart is through pity" - said Gandalf.

Galadriel said with the ring she would become a beloved queen - "beautiful and terrible..."

The ring did not have a will of it's own, merely the imbued shadow of the will of Sauron. That's why it did not work on each bearer in the same way.

Frodo was losing an internal battle, and his defeat revealed his own weaknesses which we only saw in glimpses previously.

Remember Sam's vision of himself, when he wore the ring, his inner desire to turn all of Middle Earth into a garden after he had seen so much desolation? We got to see through Sam what Frodo's inner battle was like. But Frodo's actual battle was hidden.

What do you think was the avenue through which the ring at last defeated Frodo? What was that weakness? I think Sam had a talent for seeing the truth, whether the truth he was just a gardener when he finally took off the ring, or the truth of the ring of fire, when it finally took hold of Frodo. I think Frodo's behavior with Gollum and Sam's visions are the clue as to what it was.
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Old 11-27-2001, 01:06 PM   #2
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Good question--one we could all ask ourselves.

First of all, in at least one sense Frodo didn't fail. As far as I know, Tolkien wrote that nobody--no mortal at least--could have taken the Ring to Mt. Doom and destroyed it. It was only for Frodo to do all he could and get it to the mountain. The rest had to be managed by a higher power, since there was nobody else to do it. Nobody with any intelligence and imagination could have borne the Ring so far and yet remained uncorrupted by it. Even Sam couldn't, though mercifully its effect on him was minimal. So, Frodo did amazingly well to get as far as he did.

The Ring did prevail in the short term, part of the reason (one must assume) that Frodo continued to be haunted by it long after it was destroyed. It inspired a posessiveness and covetousness--perhaps a hardness--that may have lain mostly dormant in Frodo's nature. Worse, it fed his fears, leading him into a black despair to which anything must have seemed preferable. Sam, by the end, wasn't exactly hopeful, but he focused on the minute-to-minute struggle and used activity to save him from total despair. Frodo was too weak by that time to force his thoughts away from the Ring.

On another level, Frodo wasn't exactly the perfect Ringbearer to send. He was already, to some extent, under the Ring's influence as Gandalf and Elrond must have known. He had a willful streak that must have worried them. His intelligence, imagination, and education, too, were liabilities. The Ring and Sauron loved to play on anyone that trusted too much in their own strength, wisdom, or judgement or that sought their own advancement. Frodo was more prone to these things than many hobbits; he'd been more analytical and critical than many. He had enough imagination to guess at the Ring's possibilities and power--which would have only made the prospect of bearing it more frightening and alluring.

On the other hand, Frodo seems to have been chosen for the job. Could someone like Sam have recognized and fought off the Ring's influence long enough to get to Mordor? Been able to get help from Faramir and Gollum? He was wise, but not necessarily thoughtful in that way and discretion wasn't always his strength. Maybe he could have, and the task was given to Frodo to teach Frodo humility. We don't always understand why some of us seem to be assigned certain roles in life and others aren't. Suffice it to say, Frodo and Sam--together--managed to get the Ring far enough that higher powers could overrule events in their favor. That's faith, all anyone really had to go on in the matter anyway.
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Old 11-27-2001, 04:04 PM   #3
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Welcome lamarquise! Good topic Mari...

Frodo's inner desire? Tough question. Frodo always remains remote even though he is a central character to the tale. Using his own words from early on in the story, I can think of two possible motives: (1) Frodo's desire to save the Shire; and (2) his desire to be with Bilbo...ALWAYS. As to the first, perhaps he perceived that the Shire could not survive unchanged. The only way to enforce his desire would be to seize the power of the Ring. As to the latter, only the Ring could extend his life (and apparently Bilbo's).

My personal feeling is that the Ring generated an overwhelming desire for power which Frodo eventually succumbed to. Two old threads relate to some of these issues. One is "Frodo or the Ring" which evolved into a debate about whether the Ring possessed a will of its own. The second was something like "Did Frodo fail?"

[ November 27, 2001: Message edited by: Mithadan ]
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Old 12-11-2001, 05:27 AM   #4
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i ring did that to gollum and almost to bilbo the ring has a power to make the bearer do stuff
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Old 12-11-2001, 10:22 PM   #5
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Gee, I thought this discussion was long dead. There is so little to go on about Frodo. He's elusive. I think Tolkien deliberately left him vague so we could fill in our own ideals. It's a good way to make someone larger than life, without making them... larger than life, i.e. not believable. If you let people fill in what they want, they'll believe what they want. My conclusion in "Frodo or the Ring" was that the ring did not have the power to directly force a person to act, but could subvert the mind, through a person's weaknesses, especially their desire for power (the pointers from Galadriel on how the ring is mastered are well taken). We’re never told what that desire was in Frodo, though we were told Sam’s.

What clues do we have on what finally broke Frodo's will?

Sam's visions, and Frodo's frequent descriptions of seeing a wheel of fire. – The thought of it was overwhelming him… what thought? He would often cower facing Barad-dur. Then his hand would stray to the ring. The clue to what’s happening there is in the Barrowdowns, when he faced the barrow-wight. His wish to protect himself I believe, his sense of hopelessness for his friends outweighing his wish to try to save them because he fears it’s not possible. That he himself is not capable. The ring is magnifying that hopelessness and self-protective fear, with the thought that putting it on will save him from the Dark Lord.

His oft-stated sense of hopelessness, "we'll never make it, Sam, so there's no use worrying about.. (water, food, shelter, a return trip)" plus..

Frodo's fears, in the Tower of Cirith Ungol, his losing touch with reality for a moment and imagining Sam was an orc, trying to take the ring... He started seeing everything as doomed, and could not even remember images of the Shire. His vision was becoming more and more dark and distorted.

His independent personality, from the very beginning he tells Gandalf when he would like to leave the Shire (think, a more submissive person would say "gee, Gandalf, when should I leave?"). He vies with Galadriel (no one else challenges her). He’s of a mind with the irrepressibly independent Bilbo, hides knowledge of the mithril coat from the rest of the group (albeit at Bilbo’s suggestion, but they are similar in that way aren’t they?). Tries to hide the fact he’s leaving the Shire from his friends. Rarely reveals his intentions, (he doesn’t confide exactly what’s going on in his mind even to Sam in Mordor). Then caps it off by abandoning the Fellowship and attempting to head into Mordor alone. Yes, his intention was to take the risk alone, but that in itself reveals a great deal.

His fundamental complaint: never having a choice, he just wished it had never been found. From the very beginning the thing is thrust on him, and in Rivendell, while he would rather stay with Bilbo, he forces himself to do what he must.

What he actually says when he claims it. Does he say “I will save the world”?Boromir on Amon Hen “I am THE Frodo”? Gollum in Ithillien “I will make a garden of Mordor”? Sam in Cirith Ungol No. Simply, “I do not chose to do this. The ring is Mine.”

Finally, what wins is his underlying desire to make his own choices. The chink in his drive to save the Shire is that he doesn’t think it’s possible, and he steadily gives up the ghost on that idea. At the end he’s deceived into thinking that by claiming the ring, he is finally exercising his own free will. You can almost hear the weight taken off his shoulders, of saving the Shire, of finally not having to do what he must - as he makes this ringing declaration.

What kind of dark lord would Frodo have made? (not possible, but just for the sake of character analysis...) A reclusive one, probably more interested in knowledge and dragons (increasingly forbidden knowledge?) than orcs, armies and conquest.

If people aren't too tired from the holidays, I'm sure this is going to be torn to shreds. Okay. Have at it.

[ December 11, 2001: Message edited by: Marileangorifurnimaluim ]
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Old 12-14-2001, 12:36 PM   #6
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Marile,

Excellent points regarding Frodo's desires. I agree with everything. But there is something else, besides Frodo wanting to make his own decisions and protect himself- he also wants to control others directly, to make them follow his will and see the world the way he sees it. A good example of this is his control of Gollum: Frodo just uses him for his own benefit, and clearly enjoys the power of command, enhanced by the Ring. He 'trains his mind to the domination of others', like Galadriel suggested, and by the end he's pretty sure he CAN succeed as the dark lord. It's just in his personality- he's more dominant than submissive, so the Ring for him is a comfortable device to gain power and rule others. That's one of his inner desires.
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Old 12-15-2001, 07:02 AM   #7
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Hm. I never thought that Frodo wanted to directly command others, or that he trained his will to dominate others. He only "uses" it to "command" Gollum - and that "using" was more like threatening: "If you touch me, I'll use the Ring and command you to jump to the Fire."

By the time Frodo got to the Cracks of Doom, he was totally broken by the Ring. He couldn't think of anything else. He saw it all the time as a wheel of fire, even when his eyes were open and looking at something else. I don't think that he ever intended to become a Dark Lord: like Maril said, Frodo's words on Mount Doom were not "I'll become Frodo the Great and cast down the Dark Lord and..." but "I do not choose to do this. The Ring is mine."

The Ring had eaten away a part of Frodo's soul, and it was almost in command of him. It was just impossible for him to throw it away - but he was still just a small hobbit and he didn't want to become a Dark Lord.
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Old 12-15-2001, 05:18 PM   #8
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Frodo just uses him (Gollum) for his own benefit
Now there's thought. Do you think so? He protects Gollum so often, from Sam, from Faramir, and genuinely pitied him. I think he understood Gollum better than even Gandalf. Understanding is the foundation for compassion (just like dehumanizing the enemy is essential for war).

If Gollum weren't shadowing him, was headed in a different direction and got roped into servitude I would see your point. But there was no getting rid of him. It was probably the most pragmatic and ruthless we'd seen Frodo, but remember Sam advocated killing him, or tying him up and leaving him in the wilderness. It was startling to see both of them so tough, but I guess that makes it more believable that they could actually handle this task.

I agree with El. with a slight modification: you're right, he did enjoy the command, the power. But there's a difference between ambition and desire for power, and just enjoying and using it when you have it: Frodo evinced no power-lust, no desire for more than what he already had. He relinquished authority easily (see later events in the Shire) - a lot more easily than the ring!

He is more dominant then submissive, but that appears in his independence. He was wise enough to realize that with power comes the ropes of responsibility.

[ December 15, 2001: Message edited by: Marileangorifurnimaluim ]
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Old 12-18-2001, 07:28 PM   #9
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How unusual that my current problem is that there are so many interesting topics lately that I can’t find the time to keep up with and post in them all! Congratulations all around on the many articulate and thoughtful opinions, here and in other topics.

Stepping back a few posts, I found this comment by Maril to be particularly interesting and relevant to the topic at hand:
Quote:
His fundamental complaint: never having a choice, he just wished it had never been found. From the very beginning the thing is thrust on him, and in Rivendell, while he would rather stay with Bilbo, he forces himself to do what he must.
Frodo, to me, has a bit of a martyr complex, if we’re going to try to identify a weakness. He always thinks he has to do it alone, and has a tendency to feel sorry for himself (not, of course, without some justification [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]). I think that we never get a clear sense of what Frodo really wants because he seems to sense on some level the sacrifice he will be called upon to make, and on that same level, he both fears and embraces his fate. A part of him wants to be the guy who sacrifices himself for the good of the world.

I think the possibility that he actually relished bearing his particular “cross” is what helped him resist claiming the Ring for himself until the very last moment. It’s the one secret desire that claiming the Ring cannot fulfill. Was Frodo finally brought low by a cunning-but-deceptive vision given to him by the Ring? I agree that that’s one way it can work, but I think by the time Frodo reached the brink of the Crack of Doom, a much less subtle effect had taken hold. I always think back to “The Shadow of the Past”.
Quote:
Of Gollum:
He could not get rid of it. He had no will left in the matter.

Of ‘getting rid’ of the Ring:
A Ring of Power looks after itself, Frodo. Itmay slip off treacherously, but its keeper never abandons it. At most he plays with the idea of handing it on to someone else’s care - and that only at an early stage, when it first begins to grip. But as far as I know Bilbo alone in history has ever gone beyond playing, and really done it. He needed all my help, too. And even so he would never have just forsaken it, or cast it aside.

Of the Ring’s power to dominate the user’s will:
It is far more powerful than I ever dared to think at first, so powerful that in the end it would utterly overcome anyone of mortal race who possessed it. It would possess him.

Of Frodo’s inability to will to damage it at Bag End:
Gandalf laughed grimly. ‘You see? Already you too, Frodo, cannot easily let it go, nor will to damage it.’
I think by the time he was standing at the brink, Frodo had no real will left in the matter.
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Old 12-18-2001, 08:24 PM   #10
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Prepare for a horribly long and rambling post that repeats former theories and basically says nothing of interest, besides asking more questions than posing answers, because Ionia can't phrase her thoughts correctly:

Quote:
Originally posted by Mister Underhill:
<STRONG>I think by the time he was standing at the brink, Frodo had no real will left in the matter.</STRONG>
Exactly what I was thinking. I believe that sometimes the desire to pick apart these issues can shadow what can be an utterly simple truth: In this case that Frodo claimed the Ring because there was simply no other way of getting around destroying it - something Frodo couldn't do by this time because of the overwhelming hold the Ring had over his soul; something he couldn't even do back at Bag End before he set out (even though I acknowledge the situations were drastically different).

Of course, as mentioned many times before, the question is how binding Frodo's giving in at that moment was... When did he actually give up hope? Assuming it was some time before reaching Mount Doom, and that his constant echo of "Don't even try anymore" was brought on by a subtle pleasure in self-sacrifice, why did Frodo even bother making it all the way to Mount Doom? What made him cling to his journey that far? Why didn't he give in immediately?
Obviously, Frodo had a very strong will not to succumb to the temptation of the ring. Which means that some catalyst must have very suddenly made him lose that willpower and give in to the power-vision of the Ring. Of course not being able to destroy the Ring would force Frodo to give in, but here's another thought:
You've all mentioned that the Ring had somewhat of a "mind of its own." And we also know full well that the closer Frodo drew to Mordor, the stronger the Ring's influence became. So, my question is, did the Ring somehow "know" (and I use that term loosely) why Frodo had journeyed to Mount Doom and (here's the important part) force Frodo to give in? To be sure, I don't know why the Ring would "care" what happened to it... but if it didn't, why did it choose its bearers? Or maybe it did "care" or was "programmed" to "care" (quote barrage)... Because after all, it had a prophecy to fulfill, didn't it?

NOW who's trying too hard to find a reason behind a supposedly simple problem? I certainly diverged from my original topic >:]

P.S. Bye bye all my eloquence comments. That was highly incoherent.
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Old 12-18-2001, 09:58 PM   #11
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Hmmm.. For me it's enough people respond, with new ideas, thoughts.. the LotR as a touchstone to universal principles, as it must be or it would not be so believable.

One again I must rebel against the concept of the ring having a mind of its own, in this and other topics. If it were possible for the ring to have that much control it would simply march Frodo or any bearer straight to Mordor, hut-hut-hut, and that would be that.

On a broader scale, once all evil is the responsibility of an outside source, so is all good, and Frodo deserves neither credit nor blame: it was merely the gods and evil fighting it out, with him as some pawn for no reason anyone can fathom.
It robs his conflict of any value.

The ring is a thing, a tool, an object of power of great subtlety. Logically, it would not vary in its effects from one wearer to another, and you would not need to learn how to use it, if were an entity posessing a will of it's own.

Your point concerning Gandalf's statements is well taken, Mr. U., but the hold the ring had was still on Frodo's mind, he did not have the will to throw it away, etc.

The nature of the ring is to subvert rather than control, so the wearer still has ultimate responsibility. Even if that responsibility is too much to expect of anyone. The ring has to have something to work on. Someone completely pure, with no ambitions it cannot effect (i.e. Tom Bombadil).

I like the observation of Frodo's martyrdom, that's true, I think you're right. But saying he had no will left in the matter lends the ring a mind it doesn't have.

[ December 18, 2001: Message edited by: Marileangorifurnimaluim ]
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Old 12-18-2001, 10:25 PM   #12
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Well-spoken, Maril. I have to admit that I generally tend to be comfortable myself only walking right up to the edge of giving the Ring "a mind of its own". However, I do think there's a sort of middle-ground between that and the Ring as merely a tool without even some limited form of causing evil. I think the Ring does stand as a sort of symbol for mindless unavoidable "evil", which is in the world and hearkens to the kind of universal truth you describe.

I could flip your argument upside down and say that Frodo's real struggle is with faith -- faith that the impossible task can be made possible by something greater than the strength of his will or the sum of his own actions. And there is some value in that conflict. How do you face the unwinnable situation and still find the strength to go on? How do you give up the responsibility and trust that the ultimate responsibility lies outside of your control? This is, for many people, one of the key challenges of life.
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Old 12-18-2001, 10:45 PM   #13
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Eeep! My comment got misinterpretted cos I worded it wrong (as usual, no surprise there :P [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img])

I wasn't saying that the Ring had the ultimate power in that situation. But assuming it did have a mind of its own, or a mind that was "given" to it, couldn't it just apply the pressure a wee bit harder? It's far-fetched, but what about Tolkien isn't? :P I like whack theories.

Like the goat-man. I swear to god, he DOES exist.
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Old 12-18-2001, 10:48 PM   #14
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Ha! How gently I am accused of sophistry! Well, allow me a moment to attempt to read my posts upside down without getting dizzy.

No, I'm not haplessly seeking greater meaning than is there. Frodo's struggle is powerful because it's not Frodo vs. Ring = Ring wins. It's really Frodo vs. Frodo. And that's interesting.
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Old 12-19-2001, 01:18 AM   #15
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LOL, Maril! God forbid I should accuse anyone of sophistry – the plank in my own eye and all that. I was merely suggesting an alternative to your (if I may) somewhat black-and-white interpretation. The Ring, neither sentient nor completely inanimate. Frodo, a pawn in a vast spiritual struggle, yes – but also with free will.

Frodo against himself, eh? I agree there’s an element of that there. But I think I see it differently than you do. Because according to what I think you’re driving at, don’t we have to judge Frodo the loser? He failed. He succumbed to evil and temptation of his own free will and just sorta lucked out because he had earlier balanced the karmic scale by sparing Gollum.

Or… is the Frodo vs. Frodo conflict more of a “take this cup from me” sort of conflict – a wish for temporal self-preservation vs. sacrifice of himself for the greater good. I’d opt for the latter interpretation. Because Frodo really did sacrifice himself, in the end. His will was completely obliterated (even if only for a few moments) when he drove himself up that slope to the Crack, and he became a slave to the Ring. Here I am reminded of one of Tolkien’s Letters, where he speculates about what might have happened to Frodo had Gollum not taken the Ring down into the fire:
Quote:
In any case a confrontation of Frodo and Sauron would soon have taken place, if the Ring was intact. Its result was inevitable. Frodo would have been utterly overthrown: crushed to dust, or preserved in torment as a gibbering slave. Sauron would not have feared the Ring! It was his own and under his will. Even from afar he had an effect upon it, to make it work for its return to himself.
That is what he risked, and (briefly) endured, on faith that his sacrifice would allow the powers of Good to somehow prevail.

That faith is an unstated but fundamental assumption underlying the Ringbearer’s quest in the first place. Both Elrond and Gandalf advocate the mission despite the fact that neither expects Frodo to be able to simply cast the Ring into the Fire.
Quote:
Elrond:
I can foresee very little of your road; and how your task is to be achieved I do not know.

Gandalf (in answer to Frodo’s question, why me?):
You may be sure that it was not for any merit that others do not possess: not for power or wisdom, at any rate. But you have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.
Note even Elrond’s phrasing: “We must send the Ring to the Fire.” Not send the Ring into the Fire, just to the Fire. Seems like maybe the best they were hoping for was that Frodo could just get it there – and then that something unforeseen (and unforeseeable) would happen.

If Frodo’s quest is merely for victory over his darker nature, then why is he such an unremarkable hero? An important theme, reiterated again and again, is that no one, no one can resist the Ring. In fact, the stronger the person, the more quickly he is likely to fall. Frodo’s conflict and victory aren’t about the triumph of the will, they’re about the triumph of sacrifice.
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Old 12-20-2001, 04:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Frodo’s conflict and victory aren’t about the triumph of the will, they’re about the triumph of sacrifice.
Mr. Underhill, hats off to you, you have it there. The reason the ring cannot be destroyed by force of will is that selfish will is it's nature. Sacrifice is it's opposite. That's what got him that far, and held off the ring. Since no living being is utterly without will (ooo that thing's insidious) his failure of will is inevitable. But in claiming in the ring he had to surrender himself to it, another form of self-sacrifice - victory. In that moment, before will directs it to do this or that, it's potency is weak. The ring brought about it's own downfall at the last. And the source of Frodo's later wisdom is revealed - not that he carried an artifact of power, but that he understood how and why it was defeated.

"Take this cup from me.."
"Listen, I don't like what I see! All that I ask is that you listen to me! And please remember, I've been your right-hand man all along..."

[ December 20, 2001: Message edited by: Marileangorifurnimaluim ]
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Old 12-25-2001, 02:43 AM   #17
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one does NOT posses the Ring, the Ring posses you. for Sauron's Ring is but a tool to corrupt and ensnare the other races to his will. like a drunkard or an addict, forgive the poor allegory, will say "I can stop anytime i want. I am in control."

these are but lies and self-delusions that comes with possession of a thing only to corrupt and destroy, it does not matter how righteous one's intentions are...beautiful yet utterly terrible. what caused Frodo...? the Ring. It's powers are beyond any mortal or immortal beings on Middle-Earth.
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Old 12-26-2001, 03:09 AM   #18
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Welcome Ringbearer!

Well, what I proposed was based on Gandalf's explanation that the ring works through twisting inner desires and weaknesses:

"but it's way to my heart would be through pity. But it wouldn't end there, I'm afraid."

The ring didn't operate in a vacuum.

In Boromir it worked on his love of Minas Tirith and desire for glory.

Sam, his love of gardens and sadness at the ruin he saw in Mordor & Ithilien, his wish to "fix things."

If it didn't act on and twist what was already in their minds, there would be no difference between Sam and Boromir's delusions.

Frodo.. it's not clear what the ring was trying to twist, what it had available to work with. My intention was to dig out a detailed analysis of the most important and yet elusive character in the LotR.

Now Mr. Underhill here points out that putting on the ring in the end was not neccessarily failure on Frodo's part, it was merely inevitable, and that the ring worked to twist good qualities as well as bad, and found itself unable to work with self sacrifice.

In a future thread I think I would like to explore Frodo's character from another avenue, but Mr. Underhill is not only right, he's hit something well, if it's not profound, it's at the very least fascinating.

That was a recap, though you can review the thread for more detail. If you feel there's more to go on this subject, please you are welcome to continue! This thread was revived by one person's question, to an outstanding discussion before - and it's in keeping with the barrowdowns to reanimate! I never did quite get the human analysis I was expecting and would be grateful for further insight.
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Old 12-26-2001, 11:50 AM   #19
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I agree that it is very difficult to determine what aspect of Frodo's desires or character the Ring influenced in causing him to ultimately claim it. Frodo is in many ways an "enigma" (ooo that word!). As a Hobbit, he is atypical. He is well educated, unafraid of "adventure", purposeful and single-minded. In many ways he is far more noble than any other Hobbit we see. Merry, Pippin and even Sam develop a degree of nobility by the close of the tale, but remain "Hobbitish", while Frodo, almost from the start, seems far different; more "elvish" almost. In many ways, if there were a Hobbit who could wield the Ring, it is Frodo. And in this, we may have a piece of our answer. Perhaps because he may have been, in a sense, "great" enough to wield the Ring, he was ultimately unable to destroy it. This may have been the aspect of Frodo's personality which the Ring used to influence him to claim it.

I have also long argued that Frodo did not fail. He could not throw the Ring into the fireplace at Bag End; how could he have been expected to destroy it. For this reason he was given companions. He was only meant to carry the Ring. He did this very well beyond all reasonable expectations. How Gandalf intended to have Frodo relinquish the Ring so that it could be destroyed is a mystery. Thus Gandalf's "death" in Moria placed the quest in grave jeopardy.
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Old 01-01-2002, 09:55 AM   #20
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Hmm... I need to check up on something else here too, but a few thoughts.

Frodo was the ring'bearer' as mentioned. He was the vessel that was used to get it there, as no other could. He was the magnetic bottle so to speak, holding anti-matter. As a ringbearer Frodo did an admirable job, even after he was wounded by a nazgul's blade (compounding his connection to the ring,sauron, and the shadow world). He was able to get the ring entirely there, yet to act was not his job. Surely if he could cast the ring into the fire all well and good, but even Gandalf knew he couldnt do that.

Now here is what I need to look up. Did Frodo know Gollum was in the chamber with them when he claimed the ring?
Here is my reasoning. Frodo cannot destroy the ring while he bears it, because its hold on him is too strong. He also cannot allow the ring to be taken from him both due to its influence and his role as the ringbearer. However, if he claims the ring he knows Gollum must try to retreive it, as Gollum cant stand for another to be the rings 'master' (While he is just the bearer he does not have any more claim to the ring than Gollum, thus Gollum cant bide his time)
Perhaps Frodo knew that by forcing Gollum to act he could be relieved of the ring, and as he couldnt allow it to be possessed by another any more than Gollum could, he would be free to act, the ring wrested from him. Had Gollum not fallen into the fires himself its possible that Sam could have cast both him and the ring to their doom (While Sam would never have harmed Frodo)

Ok, so its ascribing a leap of unfounded logic on Frodos part, but it makes some sense.
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Old 01-01-2002, 12:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Marileangorifurnimaluim
Once again I must rebel against the concept of the ring having a mind of its own, in this and other topics. If it were possible for the ring to have that much control it would simply march Frodo or any bearer straight to Mordor, hut-hut-hut, and that would be that.
I would tend to disagree. I believe that the One Ring has not a mind of its own, but a will of its own. It cannot think for itself, but it has an underlying desire to get back to its master, the Dark Lord, Sauron. (As we all know.) It works on whoever has it, corrupting the ringbearer. As people have said, it uses what's in the mind of the bearer (or even the person nearby the ring) to seduce them. Boromir saving Gondor, Sam making a garden of Mordor, etc. And I agree with that. But what I don't agree with is that it was "merely the imbued shadow of the will of Sauron", if I may quote Marileangorifurnimaluim in her original post. The Ring did have a will of its own; why would the following be said if it didn't?

Quote:
"A Ring of Power looks after itself, Frodo. It may slip off treacherously, but its keeper never abandons it...It was not Gollum, Frodo, but the Ring itself that decided things. The Ring left him." -Gandalf, The Shadow of the Past, The Fellowship of the Ring
Now, I'm not saying that the will of the Ring is all-powerful. What I believe is that the will of the Ring is strong, yet too weak to force the bearer to march straight into the arms of Sauron.

But when Frodo finally came to Mount Doom, and was faced with destroying the Ring, it was the final straw. He was snapping already as a result of the wheels of fire that he envisioned, and from the hardships that he had endured on his journey. Plus the Ring didn't want to be destroyed; its will fought stronger than ever with Frodo's will. Frodo was considerably weakened, while the will of the Ring was strengthened in its desperation to not be destroyed. It was this that finally caused Frodo to give in and claim the ring for his own, not some character flaw.

[ January 01, 2002: Message edited by: Airetelluma ]
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Old 02-06-2003, 02:14 PM   #22
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Ooh! A Frodo thread! (claps hands) My favorite!

These are all very interesting theories and fabulously well-written. However, I tend to go more for the simpler explanations and so must subject you all to my version...

I've always felt that Frodo had a sense of what fate lay ahead for him should he ever attempt to return to his home and claiming the Ring may have been his last attempt at negating that fate. Everything had already been stripped from him - he could no longer taste food, he saw nothing but the wheel of fire, he felt nothing but fear and despair and indeed, he was finally robbed of any memories that might have given him solace in his misery. He had been chased, stabbed, attacked by a guardian, pursued constantly, stung, captured, whipped - geez, I'm getting tears in my eyes! Through every step and every torment, the one thing Frodo wanted above all else was to simply go HOME. He wanted to go home and for all those he loved to be unharmed and untouched and to go home with him. The Ring, perhaps, offered him a way to do that, if he would just claim it.

Would he have known that it lied and that whatever visions it may have shown him were certainly false? Of course he would. Frodo, more than anyone else in ME knew the nature of the thing and would have known nothing it showed him or promised him would be delivered...but who, in that weakened condition, could have possibly withstood such an onslaught at the very end of things? Besides, he must have know for some time that he was not going to be able to actually toss the Ring in. He couldn't even bare to have it out of his sight - surely he didn't expect that he'd be able to drop it in the fire? Perhaps this appeared to be the only solution.

But here's another thing, something that's perhaps a bit darker than most viewpoints - I've always viewed Frodo as a bit suicidal towards the end and I view his final act to be very akin to those stated in some suicide notes: 'this is the only way I could have any control over my own life.' He never believed, from the very beginning of his journey that he would ever make it to the fires, and if he did, he certainly never thought he would be able to go home again. He had spent so many months of his life being used and manipulated by those he saw as stronger and greater than himself, perhaps this was his final effort at having some sort of say in his own destiny. I think toward the end, he no longer INTENDED to go home. How many times did he speak of hopelessness and his expectaion of death? He knew the changes the Ring had worked on him and it seems to me that he would have sighed in relief if Gollum had dragged him into the fire with him. The melancholy and illness that envelops him in his last two years in ME speaks to someone who expected to die, planned to die, made peace with his decision and then was finally even stripped of his ability to do that as he wished.

I know those two views are a bit contradictory, but that's what I've always felt Frodo's wishes to be at that particular time: to either go home and have everything unchanged or to die on the mountain. And since he knew already that he was so changed, what other choice remained to him?

I've never viewed Frodo's actions on the lip of the Crack of Doom as a failure, although he certainly did and punished himself relentlessly for it. No one could have thrown it in when it came down to it - not even Sam (although I do believe Sam had enough love for Frodo to push him into the fire rather than allow him to be overtaken by evil, but that's another thread). As stated above, Tolkien knew before he wrote the first sentence that Frodo would not be able to throw the Ring in so we can't blame the character for how the author drew him.

Whew! This turned out very long and I STILL have more to say. I'll behave for awhile and let you all 'twock amongst yaselves.'
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Old 02-06-2003, 05:24 PM   #23
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If everyone around keeps telling you that you aren't going to succeed, then will you ever?
It seems to me that Frodo's failure at the Cracks of Doom was to a great extent "prepared" by all those whom he trusted and viewed as wise and great. I see Frodo as an impressionable character, who readily absorbs advice and ideas from those who are great and wise. Nothing bad about that, if only...

He heared the scary history of the Ring. But when he was told to take the Ring and go, he obeys. He carries the Ring despite his fears and wounds... He finds strength for that when all strenght must have been spent...
But he knows (as he'd been told so) that HE HAS NO CHANCE OF SUCCESS! He'd heared from the same people who had encouraged him to go. Why didn't anyone tell him that he MAY succeed? I may be wrong, but perhaps his own disbelief in success weakend his determination.
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Old 02-06-2003, 06:33 PM   #24
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I think the idea here is that you try despite knowing that you will fail, because what other choice is there.

I think Frodo failed because he has failings, which means that everyone else would have failed if put in his place. The very fact that he was capable of bringing it to the Crack of Doom (I'm not talking the physical feat of alluding the enemy, but the mental determination to carry the Ring so far) bespeaks of the incredible character of these little hobbits. He failed sure, but point me to someone who could have done better.

Aratlithiel, I really like your post. Thanks.

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Old 02-07-2003, 12:32 AM   #25
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Oooh, H.C., don't encourage me!

I wholeheartedly agree with your point that anyone in that position would have failed and also with akhtene's view that everyone around Frodo was pessimistic about his chances of success. It makes it all the more heartbreaking that he tortured himself so afterwards.

And actually, H.C., since you put it that way (the determination required to carry the Ring so far) I'm rethinking the terms 'success' and 'failure' in terms of the final task itself. Was Frodo's only REAL task to get the Ring there? Surely, knowing the nature of the thing, the 'wise' couldn't possibly have expected that he'd actually throw it in at the moment of truth? To actually destroy that thing which others couldn't even bear to let go of? I hate to think of them as unkind, but how could they not have known that it would be impossible and thus horribly cruel to send Frodo to do that which they knew in their own great wisdom could not be done? Surely they were leaving the actual 'throwing in' part up to some higher purpose or fate? Don't you think it would have been kind of them to let poor Frodo in on that little detail so he didn't have to beat himself up for years after? Because if that's the case, then Frodo actually succeeded and his self-recrimination was pointless.
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Old 02-07-2003, 10:08 AM   #26
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It may seem cruel, but I don't think they 'knew' Frodo wouldn't destroy the Ring. They likely figured he couldn't but they were hoping against hope that somehow it would find it's way into the Cracks of Doom. I've always interpreted this as a shot in the dark on their part. It seems pointless and cruel, but I don't think there was another choice.

That's the way I see it anyway.

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Old 05-14-2003, 10:36 PM   #27
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This is a lovely thread! Up to the top with it! I have enjoyed all the thoughts put forward, and I can see the point to many of them.

I can see Frodo having a martyr complex of sorts in this way: he lost all hope long before he hit the Cracks of Doom; therefore, the only thing driving him is Sam and the struggle itself. It seems to me that Frodo has set himself "on automatic," so to speak, to the struggle against the Ring. By the time he gets to Mt. Doom, he is spent, but the struggle goes on, unseen, in his soul. Tolkien had said that Frodo was the study of a hobbit broken down by fear, horror and a long burden (can't remember the quote), so I see it more as a will outside Frodo's that drives him on--the will of Eru, the struggle on a level Frodo could never understand consciously but which was the only thing left inside him when all else was stripped from him, a sort of divine light.

I remember fondly the thought of Gandalf looking at Frodo as he recovered in Rivendell and seeing him as somewhat translucent, fancying that he could become like a glass through which the light could shine unhindered. In this way, Frodo is a pure vessel; he resists the evil of the Ring and acts for the Good, thus bringing himself in line with the universal Good.

By the end, Frodo cannot conjure up memories of the Shire or anything of his former life. It is all empty for him. And then, at the Cracks of Doom, the possibility of an end to the struggle presents itself. Perhaps he cannot conceive of the end of the struggle. If he were to cast the Ring into the Fire, the struggle would be over and the Shire made safe; but Frodo could never go back to it. Perhaps in that instant, this emptiness is painted by the Ring's influence as Hell on Middle-Earth to Frodo, his world turned upside-down, and the destruction of Sauron made to seem less desirable for the reason of the continuance of the struggle (good must have evil to define itself by idea, etc. etc...). I would liken it also to some war veterans, who cannot live happily in peacetime, because there is no visible enemy, no struggle they can cope with. Frodo has become rarefied, and there is no way he could relate to the peace of the Fourth Age after what he had been through.

I sure hope this makes sense. It has been a stream of association for me...thanks for your indulgence, and I welcome any and all criticism!

Cheers,
Lyta
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Old 01-15-2004, 06:02 PM   #28
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So many different, valid and fascinating points have been brought up regarding this immense topic (which is surely the heart of the whole story) that I feel my head isn't large enough to hold them all! Like Bilbo's old papers, it will take years to sort them out, and I don't know if I have the patience or tenacity of Frodo to do so.

Lyta has brought up a very interesting point, about the (possible) temporary disappearance of Frodo's free will, somewhere along the road to Mount Doom (was it nestled inside the smaller of Sam's pans?!). I wanted to point out the (obvious?) similarity with Frodo's plight on the appropriately named Hill of the Eye, Amon Hen. For a moment, Frodo is balanced perfectly between the good (benevolent and helpful) will of Gandalf and the evil (searching, hunting with the desire to wrest, take or claim) will of Sauron. He is given a split second to make his own decision, which ultimately determines whether he will fail and yield up the Ring and the Quest (with all its burdens) to the Dark Lord, or continue the fight and the journey. His motives could be called into question (i.e. did he simply desire to withhold the Ring from Sauron), but this may not be the place for discussing that particular incident.

Once the final leg of the trip to Mount Doom starts, and presumably on into the Sammath Naur, Frodo appears to have lost the ability to decide (at least consciously). Much as Samwise is turned into a creature of stone or steel, Frodo forces himself similarly into a trance-like state that enables him to exert a superhuman effort. Without water, without (proper) rest, without respite from temptation, he marches on with help only from Sam and from the lembas of the elves.

The question that Lyta has made me ponder is, is that Frodo's will pushing him on, or has he committed himself so fully to reaching the Sammath Naur that he no longer requires a conscious decision to go forward or has Frodo completely become the vessel of the powers of good (Galadriel, Gandalf, even Ilúvatar if you like)?

It is possible that on Mount Doom, Frodo finds himself once again poised between the Voice and the Eye. But with a difference: the inability to exercise his free will. He then becomes a metaphor. A living incarnation of the eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil in the world. The virtues and strength he has exhibited over the last miles to Mount Doom are suddenly confronted by the malevolence and greed of the Ring on its own ground.

Frodo's failure is an indication of a belief (i.e. not an irrefutable fact) that we cannot ever hope to succeed against evil. That all the virtue, effort, suffering or even sacrifice that we can ever offer is not enough. The ultimate evil can seemingly be overcome only by one of two ways. Either evil defeats itself (Sméagol) or The Writer of the Story (not Tolkien [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] ) intervenes (Númenor, the return of Gandalf).

What caused Frodo to finally give in to the power of the Ring and claim it? Based on my limited understanding (most of which has come from other venerable Barrowdowners) it is the nature of the metaphysical universe, at least as it appears in The Lord of the Rings.

Frodo at the Sammath Naur
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:41 AM   #29
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Like most of the intelligent threads I haven't read this one too, thinking I'd get confused. What I feel is that, Frodo on his journey goes through a lot. From the beginning he is told something that can go against him while fighting with the Ring. Elves would fade away if he destroyed it, and if not-- he'd doom the world. Did he give in? Yes, kind of... Or the Ring overpowered him? This is true as well.
When he was standing at the Cracks of Doom, he was wishing to destroy the Ring; but when he came upto the destined point, the Ring became more powerful than he was. He could not fight it as his Enemy was most powerful than anything; and he could not fight it because a). He was overpowered by the power that was more powerful than he was. b). He was weak--a weakness that everyone possesses and cannot be free of. c). He did something that did not require strength anymore.
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Old 04-19-2014, 12:36 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marileangorifurnimaluim View Post
Back to the simple question, who spoke, the ring or Frodo? "...or be cast yourself into the flames.."

It was Frodo, his will defeated at last by his own weaknesses which the ring played on, until he claimed it at last.

He sounded different because... well, you guess. What was Frodo's key weakness that finally caused him to put on the ring?

The ring is subtle. It doesn't work the user like a puppet, it's not so simple. The ring amplifies the capacities of the user -- especially their weaknesses.

"Yet it's way to my heart is through pity" - said Gandalf.

Galadriel said with the ring she would become a beloved queen - "beautiful and terrible..."

The ring did not have a will of it's own, merely the imbued shadow of the will of Sauron. That's why it did not work on each bearer in the same way.

Frodo was losing an internal battle, and his defeat revealed his own weaknesses which we only saw in glimpses previously.

Remember Sam's vision of himself, when he wore the ring, his inner desire to turn all of Middle Earth into a garden after he had seen so much desolation? We got to see through Sam what Frodo's inner battle was like. But Frodo's actual battle was hidden.

What do you think was the avenue through which the ring at last defeated Frodo? What was that weakness? I think Sam had a talent for seeing the truth, whether the truth he was just a gardener when he finally took off the ring, or the truth of the ring of fire, when it finally took hold of Frodo. I think Frodo's behavior with Gollum and Sam's visions are the clue as to what it was.
What do we know about The Ring?

The Ring had the greater measure of Sauron's power imbued within it. Sauron was the archetypal seducer. Give in to your greed, power and lusts with the promise of eternal--what? The Ring enslaved. Yet, certain beings, of enough power of their own fibre, had the potential to 'wrest' the power of The Ring and make it their own--and counter-enslave, Sauron! I seem to recall that was one of Sauron's great fears about The Ring.

What else do we know? That over time, the being affected starts to crave The Ring's proximity, but that it left them feeling 'thin' (Bilbo) and 'stretched', and restive, perpetually. Behaviours like murder, eating other beings start to become 'normal' (Gollum). That Elvish Waybread 'stank', and that rabbit was ruined by being 'scorched'.

On Mount Doom--the presence of The Ring was as a burning wheel of fire in the mind's eye. Who commanded Gollum? I would say it was 'The Ring--THROUGH--Frodo'. I.e. Frodo was "sauron-ised" and "sauron-ising". As such, Gollum, already warped by The Ring, was enslaved to it, and able to be commanded by the wielder of The Ring. Interesting hey. I'd say that would mean that Frodo, having a 'kind of' telepathic-ish association to Sauron--fibres of Sauron's consciousness, as tendrils invading Frodo's mind--such that--Sauron would have commanded Frodo to yield The Ring, and Frodo would have done so--as the last of his former Mind and Self was subverted.

Frodo did, indeed become commanding and imperious in ways he never would have been, on Mount Doom, had he not have ever touched The Ring. There--the added power of his voice--the flow of Sauron's Will empowering the wielder, tricking them into thinking this new 'Voice' was their own.

Bearer beware!

Frodo did not 'fail', as I read, upstream. He bore the Ring further than perhaps, any other being could have.....
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Old 04-19-2014, 09:32 AM   #31
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What cause frodo to give in?

The same reason that make isildur fail:the ring's power is too strong to resist if its in mordor.
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:30 AM   #32
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What cause frodo to give in?

The same reason that make isildur fail:the ring's power is too strong to resist if its in mordor.
It isn't that simple. What was it the Ring offered to Isildur? What was it the Ring offered to Frodo? Isildur being a King, proud and powerful was more susceptible to the Ring's power. Also Men are said to be "weak" when it comes to resisting the Ring's power. What caused Frodo to give in? What was his deepest desire? What was it he needed that the Ring could give him? Sam rejected the temptation because he thought he doesn't need any of the stuff the Ring promised him to give. Would he have been able to do that in Frodo's place? Nope. Frodo lost EVERYTHING. Tolkien says "He had spent every drop of his power of will and body", and he lacked everything at this point. It is likely the Ring offered him that, that he lacked. What was it he lacked? Everything.
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:22 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Lotrelf View Post
It isn't that simple. What was it the Ring offered to Isildur? What was it the Ring offered to Frodo? Isildur being a King, proud and powerful was more susceptible to the Ring's power. Also Men are said to be "weak" when it comes to resisting the Ring's power. What caused Frodo to give in? What was his deepest desire? What was it he needed that the Ring could give him? Sam rejected the temptation because he thought he doesn't need any of the stuff the Ring promised him to give. Would he have been able to do that in Frodo's place? Nope. Frodo lost EVERYTHING. Tolkien says "He had spent every drop of his power of will and body", and he lacked everything at this point. It is likely the Ring offered him that, that he lacked. What was it he lacked? Everything.
Probably the ring oberloaded frodo with so much despair,an illusionary vision,like all his friend dead,sauron rule middle-earth,darkness upon shire,etc.even though hobbit are though,they still can be break with enough despair.i think that what made frodo give in,a vision of what if he fails and sauron take the ring.after the ring suceeded in misguiding frodo,it will pretend that it will follow frodo and betray sauron,when it is the other way around.sauron find frodo,grab the ring,kill frodo,and the west will fail,and sauron will rule middle-ear5h
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Old 04-20-2014, 03:14 AM   #34
Pervinca Took
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Very interesting thoughts, Lotrelf and Tom. That it offered him *everything* back - that really made me think. I had thought of its offering him peace and rest before, but never a restoration of what he had lost. I think that the Ring would have appealed to his intellect, too, though, not just a wish for restoration of self - of what he previously was and had. In fact I think a promise of deliverance and relief might have been more potent than a promise to restore all that he had lost. What he "might have had" became, perhaps, more of an issue after he survived, having not expected to. I see Frodo as having increasingly adopted a kind of "tunnel vision" to keep going and try to get the job done - everything else was sacrificed. The symbolism of the orcs physically taking *everything* from him in Cirith Ungol is a part of this process and perhaps accelerates Frodo's own internal sacrifice of being "stripped to his essential self" (I'm echoing a piece of Tolkien literary criticism here, and can't remember the exact source). What happened to him physically in the tower then happens to him spiritually - even more is taken away from him - taste, sound, even memories of anything beautiful. Perhaps "you can have your old life back" was used as a temptation across the plains of Mordor, though ... but I think he'd accepted the loss and just wanted ending, release.

Tom's theory is also intriguing ... I'll try to come back with some thoughts on that later.

The thing is, the Ring wouldn't have had much more work to do in appealing to Frodo's logic and intellect; it had already won that battle in Bag End when he had been unable to throw it into his own fireplace "because" "the gold looked very fair and pure ... a thing altogether precious." How much more powerful would this argument of "logic" have been in the Sammath Naur? I think the torment and "stripping" process was how the Ring worked in trying to stop him getting to the Sammath Naur in the first place. A simple but powerful intellectual argument would be all that was needed in the Chamber of Fire itself, when it had already worked in the comfort of his own sitting-room. It's a different kind of temptation, because he's trying to do a different deed. Up until now he has tried to avoid claiming it and putting it on, but hasn't had to give up possession. Now he has to try and not only give up possession (the ability to do which he once had, but had lost by Cirith Ungol), but destroy the thing as well. As Tolkien stated in one of the Letters, he could only have done the latter by not doing the former, and hurling himself into the lava with the Ring. Thankfully that wasn't necessary ....
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Last edited by Pervinca Took; 04-20-2014 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:07 PM   #35
FerniesApple
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I think Tolkiens experiences in the trenches would have told him that sheer physical exhaustion, lack of sleep, hunger and fear itself can demoralize the strongest soldier. Hobbits being more resilient than men just lasted longer before the corruption entered his soul, and then like a dam bursting all at once the Ring held him in its grip. It could have felt in danger so put forth its last attempt to survive.
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