🧙 The Tolkien Forum 🧝

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

Frodo's actions at Mt. Doom

Strider97

Registered User
Joined
Dec 27, 2001
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
Location
Dublin
What notion of heroism, redemption or success/failure do you believe that Tolkien was trying to convey with Frodo's inability to complete the quest and destroy the ring. What was he trying to convey with Gollum's role at the end. To build Frodo into a tragic hero only to have him not succeed was an interesting plot point. A secondary question- What if Gollum had not been there. Do you believe Sam would have had the temerity to confront Frodo and attempt to complete the task.
 
H

Harad

Guest
Tolkien did not believe in the infallible hero--see my failure to success thread--and Frodo certainly fit into this universe. Maybe he was trying to slip in the idea of "original sin" wherein no man on his own could "be saved."

Sam might have tried to intervene, if only to save Mr. Frodo from himself.
 

lilhobo

Retired
Joined
Jan 2, 2002
Messages
536
Reaction score
1
my god harad!!!

is the resurrection of Gandalf akin to the resurrection of Christ???

it just a good story after all
 

Strider97

Registered User
Joined
Dec 27, 2001
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
Location
Dublin
lilhobo-

I always considered Gandalf's resurrection similar to the resurrection of Christ. That his work was unfinished and the Gods sent him back because of his previous good works and to complete his task. I did not see Harad bring resurrection into the thread but the notion of salvation and the need for assistance.The main purpose of the question was Frodo's actions in forsaking the quest and claiming the ring. I remember when I first read the LOTR and the many times since, I can not see Frodo's actions in claiming the ring coming. Where are the indicators. Why the drive all the way to the brink before changing his mind. Was it the ring fighting for existence? Was it a method by Tolkien to provide redemption for Gollum at the end, to play his small part before it was over? Then to top it all off, Frodo is treated as a Hero and revered for his success by Aragorn and others. He is treated as if he succeeded. No mention is made of the actions at the brink. Not even Sam pondering the events. Frodo of the nine-fingers is treated as if he has a war wound. The Company does not realize that Frodo almost set himself up as a mini-me version of Sauron.
 
Last edited:

Aldanil

mad about mallorn
Joined
Dec 27, 2001
Messages
281
Reaction score
1
Location
Beleg Iant in Va Usa
Originally posted by lilhobo


is the resurrection of Gandalf akin to the resurrection of Christ???


Absolutely it is, although "akin" is far from "identical". As Tolkien once wrote in a letter to a fan about LOTR, Gandalf is an incarnate "angel", in the word's original Greek sense of "messenger", sent by the Valar as help to save Middle-earth from the dominion of Sauron, much as God sent His only Son into the world to redeem all men from their sins. And the Tale of Arda is much more than "just a good story"; its author hoped to create a "true" myth which would reflect as in a shivered mirror some glint of the eucatastrophic Light which shines from the most glorious and important fairy-story of all: the Resurrection of Christ. For a more specific discussion of what JRRT may have had in mind as a meaning of the climactic scene at the Sammath Naur, see Goroshimura's very illuminating recent thread on the subject.

Lest this post leave the impression that I have some particular dogmatic or doctrinal point to advance in service of my personal religious belief ("not that there's anything wrong with that", as Jerry Seinfeld once said), let me hasten to add that I'm a rather desultory Taoist, not an evangelical Christian.
 
Last edited:

Parrot

You're kiddin', right?
Joined
Mar 6, 2002
Messages
305
Reaction score
0
Location
Montana
Strider97,
Do you see Gollum's actions as being redemptive really, after all his destruction is purely accidental. Also, what if any effect did Frodo's threat/curse to Gollum have on the outcome; something to the effect of (don't have text handy) "If you defy me again you will cast yourself into the fire"?
 
H

Harad

Guest
Just some examples of resurrection (off topic..but I didnt start it) that permeate mythology:
Osiris rules the land wisely, but Seth becomes jealous and plots against him. Seth invites him to a feast, during which he produces a fine and richly made coffin and says whoever it fits can have it as a gift. All try but none fit exactly until Seth persuades his brother Osiris to try it. Once Osiris is in it, Seth and his friends seal the coffin and set it afloat on the Nile. This incident initiates the Sorrows of Isis - searching everywhere for Osiris. Eventually she finds him
and brings his body back to Egypt. Once more Seth steals the body and chops it into fourteen pieces, scattering it all over Egypt. again Isis sets out to find the parts and succeeds in doing so except for one - **look it up your own self** - the symbol of his loss of generative power. Isis is determined to have revenge on Seth and goes to Thoth, the god of magic so as to conceive by Osiris even though he is now in spirit. This she does and Horus is born and raised amongst the reeds of the Delta to keep him safe from Seth.
Not to mention:

Quexalcoatl of Mexico, Chris of Chaldea, Quirinus of Rome, Prometheus of Caucasus, Osiris of Egypt, Attis of Phrygia,and Mithras of Persia, all also rose from the dead after three days' burial, and the time of their resurrection was often fixed for the twenty-fifth of March. In an account more than three thousand years old, the Hindu Saviour Krishna, arose after three days, laid aside his mouldy cerements and walked forth, being seen, recognised, admired, and adored by his amazed followers.
And even in Christianity, Lazarus, a decidedly non-divine figure is resurrected.

Strider97:

Frodo was certainly getting more attached to the Ring. Note his treatment of Sam after Cirith Ungol. Yet it was a burden to him, so you might expect him to welcome the relief form that burden. I think you are right that in some way the Ring is fighting for its "life."
 

YayGollum

Conscience of TTF
Joined
Dec 3, 2001
Messages
5,538
Reaction score
6
Location
Columbia, South Carolina, the United States of Nor
Hi. Just wanted to say, Yay Gollum! Yay Tolkien! Yes, he was making Gollum be the hero in the end! Sam couldn't have gotten the ring because he was too far away when Frodo went invisible! Yay Gollum the hero! No, it wasn't an accident! He planned it all along! :rolleyes: Okay, that's my 2 cents, I know you care.
 

Strider97

Registered User
Joined
Dec 27, 2001
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
Location
Dublin
YayGollum- I always liked the Gollum character. I believe that Tolkien used this role to illustrate the effects of evil on the human psyche.I also believe that Smeagol was the Cain vs. Deagols Able. He had to die in the end but Tolkien while unable to redeem the character, showed in the Religious contest that evil choices will lead to good in Tolkiens world.

Harad- Thanks- Like I said above I do not believe that Gollum as an individual was redeemed but that Tolkien was saying that all creations good and evil have a role to play in the outcome of events.

On resurrection I believe Gandalf's resurrection as an angel much more then I believe in Glorfindle's from the fight with the Balrog. That is why I believe that the second Glorfindle was a mistaake that Tolkien chose not to correct.

What however was Tolkien trying to show at the mouth of Mt. Doom? Why not a momentary weakness?

Another question what is the door that Sauron himself created that he looks through to see Frodo at Mt. Doom?

Parrot- See above on the redemptive nature of Gollum the individual vs. Evil's role in the grand scheme. That is an interesting point whether the ringbearer's curse was fulfilled.
 

Dhôn-Buri-Dhôn

Formerly Donnie B.
Joined
Feb 8, 2002
Messages
123
Reaction score
0
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Originally posted by Strider97
Another question what is the door that Sauron himself created that he looks through to see Frodo at Mt. Doom?
That refers to the Sammath Naur itself. Sauron created the Cracks of Doom so he could use the heat of Orodruin to forge the One Ring.
 
H

Harad

Guest
Originally posted by Strider97
that evil choices will lead to good in Tolkiens world.
I would only amend this to say "may" lead to good.

On resurrection I believe Gandalf's resurrection as an angel much more then I believe in Glorfindle's from the fight with the Balrog. That is why I believe that the second Glorfindle was a mistaake that Tolkien chose not to correct.
Woo hoo! And YES!

What however was Tolkien trying to show at the mouth of Mt. Doom? Why not a momentary weakness?
I don't see it as "momentary." Rather, that once the Ring (or Sauron) is succumbed to, its nearly impossible to recover ones will. Who ever rebelled once they had given in?
 

shadowfax_g

Registered User
Joined
Mar 21, 2002
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
Location
Perth
I don't think Frodo could fulfill his quest without Gollum.
Both Bilbo and Frodo could fall in the same kind as Gollum unless Gandalf's help, I believe.
Frodo lost himself and called Sam thief for twice in Mordor, that reveals he'd almost given in even at that time.
I always sympathised with Gollum, for his lonely, cursed, miserable life, not by his own fault but just by chance.
 

Greenwood

The Guild of Ost-in-Edhil
Joined
Dec 26, 2001
Messages
1,596
Reaction score
3
Location
New York
Frodo's inability to destroy the Ring at the end was inevitable. Isildur could not destroy it when he had only possesed it for a matter of minutes and it's power had just contributed to the death of his father and brother. It was an impossibility for Frodo to destroy it in after bearing it all this time, suffering all he has (including the wound at Weathertop that almost made him a wraith). Tolkien always saw this and planned it. If you read The History of the Lord of the Rings in the HoME series you see this and some of the scenarios Tolkien played with. (At one point he planned to have Sam throw himself and Gollum into the Cracks of Doom after Frodo claims the Ring and Gollum takes it from him.) Frodo is no less a hero because he succumbs to the Ring in the end. None of Tolkien's heros are perfect. It is one of the things that raises LOTR above all its immitators into the level of literature. The Ring and Sauron would not have been destroyed without the efforts of Frodo and Sam and both are honored for it at the Field of Cormallen
 

Greenwood

The Guild of Ost-in-Edhil
Joined
Dec 26, 2001
Messages
1,596
Reaction score
3
Location
New York
Anyone interested in Tolkien's view of Frodo at Mount Doom should read letter 246 in the Letters of JRR Tolkien. This is a letter from September 1963 in which Tolkien responds to a reader who asked about Frodo's "failure" to destroy the Ring at Orodruin. It is far too long to reproduce here being nearly eight pages long, but Tolkien starts out:

"Very few (indeed so far as letters go only you and one other) have observed or commented on Frodo's 'failure'. It is a very importnat point.
"From the point of view of the story teller the events on Mt. Doom proceed simply from the logic of the tale up to that time. They were not deliberately worked up to nor foreseen until they occurred. But, for one thing, it became at last quite clear that Frodo after all that had happened would be incapable of voluntarily destroying the Ring. Reflecting on the solution after it was arrived at (as a mere event) I feel that it is central to the whole 'theory' of true nobility and heroism that is presented."

A paragraph later Tolkien says:

"I do not think that Frodo's was a moral failure. [italics in original] 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. ...... "

It is an extremely interesting letter since Tolkien goes on to discuss the possible events of Gollum not taking the Ring and falling in to the Cracks of Doom, but instead the Nazgul arriving and then Sauron. He also talks of the possibilities if Gandalf had claimed the Ring.
 
Last edited:

Thread suggestions

Top