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A freudian analysis on Lotr

Gloer

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A friend of mine made this analysis of the Lord of The Ring. I found it interesting and thought I would post it here.

It is clearly a freudian interpretation with some comparison to Wagner's rings. I still find it very good. It seems to work.
I only would like to have further explanation of Frodo's final failure at the mount Doom. Also an important character of Gandalf is not analysed.

If you read the story as a guide it shows pairs of men at three ages who are not evil or good, but the other one of the pair chooses wrong and perishes. The reader always identifies with "the good" character who gets rewarded:
Children : Frodo - Gollum
Young men: Aragorn - Boromir
Old men: Gandalf - Saruman

I would like to hear your comments.

Here is the text:

The Ring is obviously not only a vaginal symbol but also a symbol of marriage. In The Lord Of The Rings is also represents desire in general. The One Ring represents original lust and the other rings sublimated forms of the libido: the Nine of the men equal desire for power, the Seven for the dwarves equal greed and the three elven rings represent desire for beauty and knowledge. It is insightful that as The One Ring is destroyed also the the beauty of the elven kingdoms are lost and the elves must leave the Middle Earth.

The broken sword is a typical symbol of a castrated fallos. In the Ring series of Wagner we can find the original form of it:

The first struggle in which the hero loses, represents an oidipal conflict, in which the penis of a boy is overpowered by the more capable penis of his father. The boy must confront his Oidipal feelings again in the puberty – he must forge a better sword – to win.

I the Lord Of The Rings this situation has been altered so that even though the sword is broken, Isildur manages to cut Sauron’s finger – which again refers to castration – and take the ring to himself. Nevertheless he gets a punishment for desiring something that does not belong to him. Later the Ring comes to Gollum. We can speculate wheather Isildur and Gollum are in fact the same character on the mythical level: the boy living an oidipal stage sees himself as prince Isidur, who steals the ring for himself (to marry you-know-who), but in reality he is only a small hobbit (it must not be a coincidence, that the hobbits are about the size of a six year old child). The fate of Gollum represents the situation in which the Oidipal conflict is not properly resolved and got over with.

The task left to Frodo is to destroy the ring, after he has be fittingly intimitated by informing him of the miserable fates met by the earlier ring bearers. Frodo as Parsifal is ”der reine Tor” – so innocent that the ring can not spoil him. Even then he almost makes a mistake as he tries to give the ring to Galadriel. It is hard to imagine a more direct oidipal situation as a hobbit offering the ring to an elven queen who is much taller and older than him only because she is so kind and beautiful. Frodo is adviced that this is not appropriate. he must not give the ring to anyone bigger, it is best that he destroys it. The next time Frodo is not taken of guard as the pedofile Boromis starts to run after him and demand the ring. Also Saruman seems to be a sort of a pedofile – a dissolute old man – who in his old age has taken interest in ”hobbits”. In the end of the book he is found nowhere else than in the Shire.

The character of Aragorn represents a promise of what happens when the oidipal conflict has properly been resolved. If you give up the ring the ”sword” will be reforged and when you grow up you get to marry an elven princess.
 

Lantarion

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Well

Hmm, very insightful I must say, even though it reflects on areas of mythology and psychoanalysis that can be easily viewed in modern-day society as improper, or too 'brave'. It is a good idea, and your friend must be a very learned person to come up with such a deep analysis. Thanks! :)
 

Gloer

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More

There is anotherpair of old men in the book:

Theoden - Denethor

Theoden raises from hopelessness to fight and die with honour.
Denethor loses hopes and dies infamously by his own hand.

Both have a hobbit under their command, both have lost their favourite son.

Maybe that Denethor had his son Boromir still bent under his will and wanted it that way. This is shown by his scorn towards Faramir who is independent. Faramir is successfully resolving his oidipal conflict and Denethor can't take it.
Theoden on the otherhand seems to have genuinely loved his son what ever he did. He relied on his son and they had more a relationship of equal persons compared to that of Denethor and Boromir.

Denethor is amused to having a hobbit under his command and power. Theoden on the otherhand is genuinely likes the hobbit and where it comes from and concludes even that they have lot in common.

There is lot of parallels in those two all the way through. For example Theoden has a hall that is covered with warm textures like wood and colours like gold and horse ornaments. Denethor has a hall of cool gray stone walls, hard textures and colours.
 

Isildur's Bane

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there seem to be parallels with the oedipal complex. however the oedipal complex is flawed itself. Freud based all of his child psycology writing on what his freind told him about the freinds child. He was also a cocainne addict, so I wouldn't place too much emphasis on Freuds's work. I think much of Freud's work reveals a very troubled childhood, which he never realised was abnormal. Perhaps it was normal then. who knows.

erm yep thats my tup-penceworth
 

Snaga

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Hmmm interesting.

Question: what is the nature of the reward that Frodo gets? It is correct to say that are in opposition on a number of levels.

Frodo does good, but cannot destroy the ring himself at the last. He is not rewarded, but punished with knife, sting and bite. He cannot retain what he has saved for others. He cannot be free from pain in Middle Earth.

Gollum is evil, and lusts for the ring. His lust betrays him and he causes the destruction of the ring. He is punished with death, but his punishment is the reward of being free from the pain and torment he has suffered for 500 years.

My view on Freud is that he was important in the development of pyschoanalysis in that he tried to apply scientific methods to the study of the human mind. In particular he looked for causes in peoples past experiences for their mental condition, rather than believing in 'humours' for example. But he does appear to have tried to get everything to come down to sex in some shape or form, which I don't really agree with.
 

Gloer

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Well..

I think the idea was that there are characters of three age groups of men in The Lotr present at the same time.

A reader would identify himself with the hobbit-hero Frodo, the young man Aragorn or the old man Gandalf/Theoden which ever he feels closest to him.

So the reader could chronologically identify with the hobbit Frodo then the king to be Aragorn and last with Gandalf/Theoden. In this sense the mythical hero of the Lotr developes from a small childlike hobbit first to a man that tests his full strength and finally to an old man accepting that his days come towards the end.

I think Freud's theory of oidipal complex is pretty functional and lives strong in the main stream culture even if it was already abandoned by the psychology itself.
I don't think Freud really makes everything come down to sex. It is his terminology that makes you think he his writing about sexual matters. It is more a question of power than sex:
1. A boy notices that he is an individual with separate will from his father.
2. He notices that he is complitely in his fathers power. He can't win and he is totally frustrated.
3. He accepts his fathers power - his father does not abuse it.
4. He grows old enough to support himself and resist his fathers will.

There really needs not to be any mother there. Mother just happens to be the main resourse for a young child to try to get control over.
 

Gnashar_the_orc

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Though I must admit that my psychology knowledge is very limited I believe that the idea of Boromir and Saruman being interpreted as a modern pedophile is absolutely ridiculous. If that is so then subconsciously we are reading the Lord of the Rings to find out if Galadriel is wearing underwear.
 

Gloer

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Yeah - it's narrow

Saruman and Boromir are both tempted by the power and tempted t abuse it. I think pedofilia is a specific case of abuse of power over weaker people, children.

Therefore The Lord Of The Rings handles the issue of temptation and abuse of power in a more general level. From a certain point of view one can intrepret power missuse situations against the hobbits to pedofile action. But this intrepretation is more narrow and specific than the actual story. I agree that it is only one point of view among many.
 

FoolOfATook

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You know, Tolkien was once asked how the Ring in his work was similar to the Ring in Wagner's Ring Cycle. He said "Both rings were round, and there the resemblence ceases." (Letter 229)
 

ltas

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Hmmm. The observation about the way Theoden's and Denethor's paternal behaviour patterns are reflected in their relationship with hobbits is very interesting. Indeed, it seems very apparent now when it has been pointed out. Actually, it can be expanded to both kings' attitude towards their subjects as well - Theoden is, after being cured, a democratic ruler, willing to listen opinions differing from his own, ready to accept suggestions from his inferiors and Denethor, on the other hand, is expecting and demanding complete obedience from everyone surrounding him.

I don't agree completely about Boromir and Saruman though. Yes, their passion for the Ring is motivated by the will to dominate and they see the Ring as the instrument that supports their aggresive campaigns, but what they desire is not to reign over those who are weak, on the contrary -- they intend to defeat the most powerful enemy imaginable.
 

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