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Thread: the RING as a character

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I agree, the ring certainly seems to have a will of its own, and even a personality--often described as treacherous. But then, that's probably because lots of the will and power of Sauron is bound up in that ring. A chip off the old block, on might say...
Yes, the Ring is in essence Sauron's other half, so I think it's as much a character as he is. I mean if a big, red, flaming eye can be a plausible character with personality and depth - then so can an evil ring.
And JRRT certainly treats it as such in his wonderfully descriptive use of personification; the character of the ring even seems to develop as the story progresses.
Yeah it probably is a character....besides I donīt think that when Sauron put his own BLOOD into the ring that it wouldnīt make it more alive.....He being a maia and all that shit....oh well..hehe Sauron is a little wacko...A wedding ring for himself Big Laugh Smilie who is he going to marry? the ring? Big Laugh Smilie
I think the ring is definately a character in its own right. A very important character (there would have been no story without it).

The ring has powers of its own and the ability to confer power (for which there is a price to be paid). The ring is most powerful in the hands of a person who is already powerful and ambitious since power and ambition are traits that it can exloit to its advantage.

The ring is also able to have some control over the identity of its bearer. It betrayed Isildur to his death, caused Deagol's murder and abandoned Gollum when it was finished with him. Even Bilbo and Frodo were not immune to its evil effects.

Sauron was the rings ultimate master, and the ring was always trying to return to him, by manipulating those unfortunate enough to be around it.

All of these things are central to the plot of LOTR. The ring must be destroyed - it cannot be used - and it is safest in the hands of the humblest of persons.
I think it depends on what you define evil as. There were these philosophers, and their theories of evil I find applicable to Tolkien. This is the jist of their theories, I have not read very much by them but have heard them mentioned several times and so I think this is correct, tell me if I'm wrong.
One philosopher, called Boethius and he thinks: that evil is something in man, it is internal and to get rid of it we must fight ourselves.
The other philosopher had what is called the Manacaian (sp?) theory and thought the opposite, that evil is external.
We can look at this in terms of the Ring. If evil is internal, then I do not think the Ring is a character because the evil is in ourselves (as in, in Frodo, Gollum, etc.). If evil is external, then the Ring can certainly be classified as a character or an extension of Saurons character.
I tend to think that both are true. If the Ring is a character of its own, if it is external evil, then Frodo would have had a much easier time getting to Mount Doom because he would only have to fight Sauron and the Nazgul and he could have battled the powers of the Ring without battling himself. But as we see he does battle himself, so it cannot be only the Ring that is at work here.
Sorry if this is confusing or off topic, I just thought I'd mention it. The thing I find so realisitc about Tolkien's work is this pull between internal and external evil; LotR is not a one sided fanatasy with clear-cut good guys vs. bad guys and a definate winner.
Big Laugh Smilie The Ring is evil because it came from evil.
If Saruron was good then the Ring would be good. Wink Smilie
In a way, I think Tolkien wanted his readers to know that we all have a dark side. If we give in to our darker side then we can become like the Ringwraiths Shaking Head Smilie
The Ring, being forged by Sauron, cannot be anything else but evil. I guess a part of his master's spirit has passed into it; how much, I do not know. It has a will of its own, that's for sure! You may say it's not just a thing, but that it's alive!
Metaphoricaly speaking, the Ring may be considered the symbol of power or, to put it better, of the desire to have power. But not a natural power, no! Rather an unusual force which drives the Ringbearer on a dark path, leading him to a terrible doom ...
I think it is more plausible to say that the ring, created with evil intent, will of course have evil uses. But ultimately, I think all the ring does is offer the bearer the temptation of power and let him create his own delusions of grandeur and therefore everyone's reason for wanting the ring is different and not because the will of the ring tempts them.
Ah, but the Ring has a will to return to Sauron, its master, but you are right about the style of the different temptations. Each of those temptations is designed to eventually draw Sauron or his minions' eyes to the bearer of the Ring, that the Ring might once more be commanded by Sauron.
Perhaps, the ring's will may be the will of it's master Sauron? Maybe it is when Sauron bent its will on the ring to draw it to himself, and not the ring having a will of itself.
Interestin theory Mad.....but I believe that it must have a will of itīs own....think about it.....Sauron didnīt know where it was.....Gollum had it in his dark caves....and it broke his will so that he became a slave of itīs commands.....until he got so obsessed of the ring that he didnīt want anyone to see it or that he didnīt want to risk it being lost......so it got fed up with him....and found Bilbo....and there it started thinking: "Hmmm....a nice creature for my evil design to return to my master Gorthaur.....Muahahahahahahahahahaha Very Evil Smilie "
You have a point there, Aule, but if the ring really has a will, why doesn't it break Gollum's will and mind and Gollum be just a pawn of the ring, doing the ring's bidding? I mean wouldn't the ring wanna impose its will on the being. And if the ring really had a will, why does Gandalf fear it? I mean Gandalf's will would be nearly unbreakable, right? Unless it has a will stronger than his? And if the ring has a will stronger than Gandalf, then why would ring-bearer still be able to go on with his quest?
But think about what Gandalf said, that if he took it he would become evil because it is altogether evil.....thus it must have a will which tempts the bearer to become evil and wield it.....thatīs why Gandalf fears it....because he is so good that if he possessed it....the thought of using it for good would occupy his thoughts more and moreTongue Smilie
do you see what I mean?
But , Aule ...Gandalf knew that if he took(Meriadoc ...hahaha Big Laugh Smilie ) thze ring, he would be in areal danger cuse He wasn't sure at all that he could do good with it... Don't forget Gandalf was sent to Middle Earth to destroy Sauron and free M-E... I think he believed that the ring should be carried by someone that had no will of any to do something with it...that's why he trusted Frodo more than others fo the quest..... Smoke Smilie
Right Florian, except Pippin was the Took, Merry was the Brandybuck. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

Gandalf knew that even though he would try to do good with the Ring, it would eventually turn his endeavor into evil and he would then become the Dark Lord.

The Ring found it difficult to work its will upon one of little ambition; thus the hobbits were prime candidates to bear it. Bilbo took little hurt from it from all the years he had possession of it, same with Frodo until he got close to Mordor. Sam laughed at the vision of grandeur with which the Ring tried to fill his mind; however, had Sam been forced to carry it for an extended period of time, his goodness also would have been corrupted by the wiles of the Ring.
I thinl the ring has some interesting parallels with Loki, the Norse god of mischief. The ring isn't evil - I believe that if it wanted to , it could have called to Sauron in Mordor and killed Frodo - I believe it is just generally mischevious. Slipping off peoples fingers when they least expect it, even betraying Sauron (i think) when Isildur chopped off his finger - Not evil, only malevolent in a general sort of way
Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Tasari
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The ring isn't evil - I believe that if it wanted to , it could have called to Sauron in Mordor and killed Frodo - I believe it is just generally mischevious.

How can it not be evil with the majority of Sauron's power and malice put into it.

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Slipping off peoples fingers when they least expect it, even betraying Sauron (i think) when Isildur chopped off his finger - Not evil, only malevolent in a general sort of way

It didn't betray Sauron, but it betrayed Isildur later on which lead to his death. In UT it is even mentioned that the Ring planned the Orc ambush to avenge its master. How evil is that?
Ahhh, it seems Tasari has fallen under the spell of the Ring. Wink Smilie It is indeed 100% evil. It did try to contact its master. Constantly. "Put me on your finger, little hobbit, so the Nazgul can see you and take me home err I mean so you can become invisible and stuff!"

"Hey mr Boromir, why don't you steal me and take me to the front line between Gondor and Mordor and practically hand me over to Sauron? I mean; use me to fight evil."
You're funny, Amarie Smile Smilie. Yep, I agree with you. The Ring is 100% evil. The Ring is Eros and Thanatos wrapped into one. If we take into consideration Freud's theory of desire and destruction and how closely they are linked within all of us, we can see that the Ring is a representation of what lies within us all -- that tug-of-war that happens between pleasurable desire for temporary satisfaction and dangerous desire, which may lead toward death, or lead us back to that for which we all long -- our inorganic selves. Returning us back to our beginnings isn't necessarily evil, but since the Ring is not allowing us to choose our own course to death, then it can be considered evil.
I also agree that the ring personifies total evil, it does have a life of its own saying this do you think it could have overpowered Sauron or would that have too much?

Question: Was it because the one ring was the only ring that Sauron actually touched, the reason it was so evil. ie the other rings were not touched by Sauron.

Hope this doesn't sound too stupid of me but I really am - in respect to all the things I've read in PT quite new to Tolkien - so each time I read something, Read Smilie something else clicks into place. Lighening Smilie
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Question: Was it because the one ring was the only ring that Sauron actually touched, the reason it was so evil. ie the other rings were not touched by Sauron.

Of course the one ring was touched by Sauron, as the one ring was the only ring he forged himself. It was evil because he put a lot of his own power and malice in it.

The only rings of power which Sauron did not touch, were the 3 rings of the elven-kings under the sky.

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I also agree that the ring personifies total evil, it does have a life of its own saying this do you think it could have overpowered Sauron or would that have too much?

The Ring would only make Sauron complete. It wouldn't overpower him. It was not only his own creation, it was a part of himself.