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Does Frodo actually fail?

Hadhafang

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SPOILER WARNING!

"The Realm of Sauron has ended!" said Gandalf. 'The Ringbearer has fulflled his quest.'
-LOTR: The Field of Cormallen

When Gandalf says this he is focused on the result and has no idea what transpired moments before:

Then Frodo spoke with a clear voice......'I have come,' he said. But I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed. The Ring is mine!'......
But Gollum, dancing like a mad thing, held aloft the ring.....'Precious!' Gollum cried...and with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize, he stepped too far, toppled, wavered for a moment on the brink, and then with a shriek he fell. Out of the depths came his last wail Precious, and he was gone.
-LOTR: Mount Doom

I would argue that in spite of Frodo's final moment of weakness, he was still successful. Poor little Frodo was no match for the ring's power particularly in the realm of Sauron. However, since both Frodo and Sam (and earlier Bilbo) had spared and showed empathy for Gollum, they and all Middle Earth were rescued from evil. If Bilbo (or the many times Sam wanted to) killed Gollum, the tale would have most likely ended with Frodo being captured in his darkest hour by the Nazgul who in turn would have returned the ring to Sauron. Hence, it was the goodness of a few hobbits that saved Middle Earth.

Mine is but one opinion.

What do you think? Did Frodo actually fail?
 
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greypilgrim

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did Frodo fail at what? The task? My answer (opinion) is yes- he did fail, to do what it was he was entrusted to achieve in the end, by everybody. He turned his back on them in the end.
"But for him, Sam, I could not have destroyed the Ring. The quest would have been in vain., even at the bitter end."
 

Niniel

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Yes, he failed to destroy the Ring when he had to. But, since he had spared Gollum earlier, he had kept alive, without knowing it, the only possible person who could help him fulfill his quest (apart from all possible discussions about Sam). So he did not fail to achieve the goal that he had set out to do. so I agree with you Hadhafang.
 

Lantarion

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Yeah, but is an indirect fulfillment the same as a direct one? He did fail in the sense that he could no longer bear to fight the evil of the Ring; but with his goodness and pity in letting Sméagol live he did in a way fulfill it.
But when he showed mercy to Gollum he wasn't thinking "Ah yes, I will let the little creature live so that he can take the Ring from me and cast himself into the fire with it". :rolleyes: So in the end he failed at the Quest, but strengthened his own spirit by showing mercy, which was to him something natural and according to basic morals.
 

BlackCaptain

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He fufilled his quest, but not his dutey. The quest was from the Shire to Mt. Doom. The dutey was to destroy the ring, and he failed. "The ring-bearer has fuffiled his quest ." Not his dutey.
 
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greypilgrim

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He failed the task but not the duty. But he did fail the duty. Frodo did not do what he set out to do. He did the exact opposite.
With your reckoning, then Sam is as much responsible, and Aragorn, Bilbo, Gandalf, and everyone that "let Gollum live". That is nonsense.


The Ring would let no-one destroy it willingly.
 

Bib

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As for me, I don't think you should seperate quest and duty. Is a quest really fulfilled when you've not done at the end that what you went on your quest for?

Hence, Frodo failed his quest/duty.

For the rest of the gang i'd like tot think that only Gandalf had any idea that Gollum had still an important role to play in the whole thing. The others just had pity with him.
 

Maedhros

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From the Letters of JRRT: # 246
Frodo indeed 'failed' as a hero, as conceived by simple minds: he did not endure to the end; he gave in, ratted. I do not say 'simple minds' with contempt: they often see with clarity the simple truth and the absolute ideal to which effort must be directed, even if it is unattainable. Their weakness, however, is twofold. They do not perceive the complexity of any given situation in Time, in which an absolute ideal is enmeshed. They tend to forget that strange element in the World that we call Pity or Mercy, which is also an absolute requirement in moral judgement (since it is present in the Divine nature). In its highest exercise it belongs to God. For finite judges of imperfect knowledge it must lead to the use of two different scales of 'morality'. To ourselves we must present the absolute ideal without compromise, for we do not know our own limits of natural strength (grace), and if we do not aim at the highest we shall certainly fall short of the utmost that we could achieve. To others, in any case of which we know enough to make a judgement, we must apply a scale tempered by 'mercy': that is, since we can with good will do this without the bias inevitable in judgements of ourselves, we must estimate the limits of another's strength and weigh this against the force of particular circumstances.
I do not think that Frodo's was a moral failure. At the last moment the pressure of the Ring would reach its maximum – impossible, I should have said, for any one to resist, certainly after long possession, months of increasing torment, and when starved and exhausted. Frodo had done what he could and spent himself completely (as an instrument of Providence) and had produced a situation in which the object of his quest could be achieved. His humility (with which he began) and his sufferings were justly rewarded by the highest honour; and his exercise of patience and mercy towards Gollum gained him Mercy: his failure was redressed.
He succeded in failing, but there was no way that Frodo himself could have destroyed the Ring. Can someone failed because they couldn't do the imposible? No.
 

BluestEye

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One thing...

You forget is that Frodo was only supposed to be the Ring Bearer and not the Ring Thrower to the Fires of Mount Doom...
So being the Ring Bearer he succeeded, because he actualy brought the Ring to Mount Doom...
That Gollum was the one who destroyed it - well, good for him, no?

BluestEYe
 

Bib

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Well, every hero does need his share of luck.

But... if Frodo was only to be rig-bearer, who should've been ring-thrower according to the council of Elrond?

Destroying the ring in the end was the whole point of bearing the ring to the mountain. If Frodo was only meant to do the bearing, the whole quest would've been pointless. I can't imagine that the council had anyone else but Frodo in mind for destroying the ring.
 

Ol'gaffer

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well, you could say that he failed. But they did destroy the ring?
so whats all the hooha? but frodo is such a whining weenie anyway that we should just give all credit to sam about the quest.
 

Lantarion

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Yes, gaffer, they did destroy the Ring; but Frodo didn't. And it was after all his quest (and Bluest, although he is called the Ring-bearer, it was also his duty to destroy the Ring, as well as carry it around), and as he did not fulfill it to the end, he failed it. That's the definition of failing. :)
 

GoldenWood

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I wonder what would have happened if Gollum was not there in the picture. Do you think that Sam would have done something when Frodo resisted throwing the ring? Would Sam served his master and kept quiet or would he have served the quest?
 

Bib

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I don't think Sam could've done something. If I remember well Frodo put on the Ring instead of throwing it in the fire and thus would've become invisible.

Why Gollum could find Frodo I can't remember. I believe it was because of a sort of attraction to the ring.
 

klugiglugus

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Frodo did fail yet he destroyed the ring or as I like to think. The ring commited suicide.
 
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greypilgrim

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Originally posted by GoldenWood
I wonder what would have happened if Gollum was not there in the picture. Do you think that Sam would have done something when Frodo resisted throwing the ring? Would Sam served his master and kept quiet or would he have served the quest?
"Mr. Frodo? Mr. Frodo?! Oh gosh, he's gone and done it now! And me here alone in the Crack of Doom and all! Oh, what my gaffer would say!"
 

GoldenWood

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Originally posted by klugiglugus
Frodo did fail yet he destroyed the ring or as I like to think. The ring commited suicide.
That's very funny :) That means the Ring is the hero!!;)
 

Hadhafang

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The ring was doing the exact opposite of suicide. It overwhelmed Frodo so that it could return to the hand of its master.

'A Ring of Power looks after itself..........There was more than one power at work, Frodo. The Ring was trying to get back to its master.'
-Gandalf, FOTR-The Shadow of the Past.

This qoute from Gandalf shows that the ring did indeed have a will of its own. When realizing its doom was so close at hand in Sammath Naur, it must have used all of its power to charm Frodo into not destroying it. Frodo being a common hobbit had no chance against a power so great.

Furthermore, if Gollum was not spared though the pity of Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, or the elves, then, the Nazgul would have spotted Frodo in Sammath Naur. They would have retrieved the ring and that would have been pretty much the end of the world.

It was Frodo's 'intention' to destroy the ring. It was not an act of Frodo's will that he put the ring on. Rather, it was an act of the ring's will. The ring's 'will' was one of the weapons of the enemy. Simply because this weapon was too powerful for Frodo does not mean he should be judged as a failure. Similarly, we do not call soldiers who die in the line of combat, fighting for our respective countries failures. They are usually called heroes.
 

BluestEye

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But remember that Gandalf said that he sensed that Gollum had a part to play in this History.... Maybe he never thought of Frodo as the Ring-Thrower anyway. Maybe he was counting on Gollum at the first place....

Just an idea :)
BluestEye
 

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