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Thread: Frodo's motivation

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So, you who know me know I'm not much of a forum-izer. But I got this niggle in my brain the other day, and I can't get it out. Thought it might help to see what some other people think. Here's the thing; I'm wondering what Frodo's motivation was to take the Ring to Mordor. For the last 20+ years (gads) I've always just sorta gone with the assumption that it was benevolence. The desire to complete a task. But now I'm wondering, maybe it was just the Ring's pull. Maybe he saw carrying the Ring as a way to prolong his possession of it. This may have been on a subconscious level, of course. But still...let me know what you think.
Like you I have also assumed it was just benevolence, or just a sudden discision. But it seems plausible to me that it could have been the Ring's pull.

A call to the more literate people:
Is there something about this in the rest of the JRRT canon?
Seems quite possible Silme. Or maybe, since the Ring had a will of its own, it thought that if it were carried by a little hobbit to Mordor, to the land of its true master, then it will be easier for its master to take the Ring back. And at the time of the council, Frodo was stil under the influence of the Ring. It would be a lot easier to take the ring from Frodo than, say, Elrond or Boromir or someone else. And then also, the closer the Ring to Mordor, the lesser pains will be taken by its Master to find the Ring. Mordor and Frodo, a good combination for the ring and hence, so be it!

(And I thought my 1000th post would be something fun to read!)
Maybe this was the will of Eru using the power of the Ring. Bilbo was first to offer to take the Ring and may also have been 'urged' to do so by the pull of the Ring. No one else volunteered until Frodo. It is odd that the only two who freely volunteered were those two who had already possessed the Ring for a time.

However, Frodo seems to accept the task with dread and would like nothing more than to stay in Rivendell but still he offers to take the Ring as though he knows he is the one to do it. Is that some sixth sense or was it the Ring? I don't think Tolkien explicitly writes anywhere that the Ring had any influence in this but that isn't to say it didn't. We know the Ring exerts a power and influence over those who hold it or even those who desire it so maybe that is part of how and why Frodo ended up taking the Ring.
I think Frodo did it because it was predestined by Eru, as it seems that Frodo hears himself saying "I will take the Ring to Mordor" without really fully understanding what he was saying until after he said it.

He prolly drank too much miruvor on the feast the day before.
Without going into some lengthy discussion on this (which I simply do not have time for at the moment), I definitely believe that Eru had a lot to do with it. Throughout the entire history of M.E., there were a handful of characters that I would personally classify as being instruments of Eru, and Frodo for me at least certainly falls into that category.
Elf Smilie
Hm, the whole Eru thing is an excellent point. I had really not considered the whole fate (dare I say "doom") thing, though in retrospect, I probably should have.
Eru is a definite possiblity, However, I always found the Valar, and Eru, played a bigger part in the First Age though, and kinda neglected the Third. I Like Lord Aragorn's idea with the Ring persuading Frodo, subliminally of course!
Everything is capable of making mistakes. I think the Ring, like Sauron, overlooked Hobbits and when they were aware of them, totally underestimated them.

I don't believe the Ring chose Frodo to take it to Mordor. At the Council of Elrond it was exerting its influence to cause divisions among the Free People. I think its intention there was purely to turn everyone against each other, until the most selfish (and thus most likely to use it for his own purpose) grabbed it for himself. If it had managed that, there would not have been an alliance between the Free People, but a war. I really don't think it even noticed Frodo until it was too late.

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However, I always found the Valar, and Eru, played a bigger part in the First Age though, and kinda neglected the Third. I Like Lord Aragorn's idea with the Ring persuading Frodo, subliminally of course!

Had they neglected the Third Age, they wouldn't have sent the Istari to Middle-Earth.

They played a big part in Third Age, but they only interfered indirectly by sending the Istari instead of sending an army of Elfies in shining armor (Théoden would have liked that one).
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I don't believe the Ring chose Frodo to take it to Mordor. At the Council of Elrond it was exerting its influence to cause divisions among the Free People. I think its intention there was purely to turn everyone against each other, until the most selfish (and thus most likely to use it for his own purpose) grabbed it for himself. If it had managed that, there would not have been an alliance between the Free People, but a war. I really don't think it even noticed Frodo until it was too late.


Good points Val, well said!!! Orc With Thumbs Up Smilie
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At the Council of Elrond it was exerting its influence to cause divisions among the Free People. I think its intention there was purely to turn everyone against each other, until the most selfish (and thus most likely to use it for his own purpose) grabbed it for himself. If it had managed that, there would not have been an alliance between the Free People, but a war. I really don't think it even noticed Frodo until it was too late.

I don't think the Ring turned anyone against each other during the Council of Elrond (in the movies of course, there's almost a fist fight at the council of Elrond - lucky for them Barfagorn didn't take any heads during that "parlay") : after it was decided the Ring would be destroyed and someone should go throw it in the fires of mt doom, everyone just sat back quietly - but undecided, after Bilbo volunteered. I think this was primarily the work of the Ring : it tried to demoralize everyone to take the Ring to Mordor, because it wanted to stay in Rivendell, waiting there for Sauron to pick it up.

This is the actual quote from FOTR :

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No one answered. The noon-bell rang. Still no one spoke. Frodo glanced at all the faces, but they were not turned to him. All the Council sat with downcast eyes, as if in deep thought. A great dread fell on him, as if he was awaiting the pronouncement of some doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped might after all never be spoken. An overwhelming longing to rest and remain at peace by Bilbo's side in Rivendell filled all his heart. At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his small voice.
`I will take the Ring,' he said, `though I do not know the way.'

To me it seems that Frodo doesn't really have a choice here; he takes the task upon him because it's predestined by Eru. He has a "doom" upon him, if you will. It could be possible that the longing to stay in peace in the Shire (which is of course not possible in the current flow of events) is inspired by the Ring - trying to persuade everyone to stay at home while Sauron conquers everything.
We have had other discussions about 'predestiny' and yes, I think Eru's plan had something to do with it but I think it possible that the choices were offered in accordance with predestiny but also to choose was the choice of the individual influenced by what was happening at the time.

Frodo had already been 'influenced' by Gandalf and Bilbo's actions and the fact that he had already carried the Ring. Was Eru using the Ring's influence to guide Frodo's actions? I don't necessarily thinks that it was the Ring alone, or even the Ring's intention to go with Frodo but because it had already used Frodo it was a simple step for Frodo to volunteer. He had been primed, so to speak. No-one else at the Council, apart from Bilbo, had worn the Ring. Frodo seemed to act spontaneously but I doubt it was that simple. Eru was not interfering directly but he probably had a good idea that the right person would take the Ring. It was a matter of the right choices being made and if the wrong choices had been made, at whatever stage, then another choice would present itself for the path of destiny to follow.

Had Frodo not have worn or carried the Ring I doubt he would have volunteered.
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Had Frodo not have worn or carried the Ring I doubt he would have volunteered.
Or attended the Council even, Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie what a dull story that would have been. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Since Frodo "inherited" the ring from Bilbo, I believe he felt a responsibility to take the ring to Mordor, and he may have felt it was Bilbo's fault, that the ring was ever found again. After all, in the Council of Elrond, (at least in the book) the truth actually comes out from Gandalf how Bilbo actually got the ring. And of course, there was always Eru, who sang his song when Melkor tried to drown out all the other Valar, and Frodo and Bilbo, were born in that song of triumph.

(Grondy merely reformated Gil's text to remove the extraneous carriage returns.)
Someone's been doing enters at the end of lines. MWAHAHAHA!!!! I hate it when that happens.

I have no new material on this, except that I think maybe Frodo subconsciously didn't want ot let it go to someone else. But also because he didn't know the dnger, so he wasn't so scared to go. And of course it was in Eru's master plan. The Ring, I think, wanted him to keep it, because it was already taking hold of him, but it definitely didn't want him to take it to Mount Doom. But Mordor? That's a different question. I'm not sure.
Definitely seeing the hand (or song?) of Illuvitar at work here. Especially when the wisest of all the Maia comes out and says, while still in Bag-End with Frodo, that Bilbo was meant to pick up the ring, and that therefore Frodo was also meant to have it - and that it was not the ring (and by extension, not Sauron) which meant for this to happen.

In fact if after reading "The Music of the Ainur" at the start of the Silmarillion and "Concerning Hobbits" before the first chapter of FoTR, you can hardly call the whole race of Hobbits anything else than part of Eru's theme that wasn't at first revealed, but later rose up to help turn all the notes of Melkor's discordant motifs into that which glorifies the music of the One. Hobbits are one of those things not foretold, not looked for, not anticipated by any except perhaps Eru alone.
It was meant to be, had already been decided by the ONE, and he was drawn and knew in his heart it was the only way to be finally rid of the thing. How terrifying and thrilling at once. There he went, his flesh cringing at the very notion, for he was a gentle benevolent Hobbit, and yet the elven twist in him caused him to dig his heels in and see the thing through to the end, well as much as his tormented mind allowed him, the rest the Creator saw to.

After the reaction of the free foke and mostly of Boromir,  during the council of Elrond it must have become apparent to Frodo that this thing was going to be the undoing of all.  Up until then he had no intention of going further than Imladris.

As a ring bearer he would have felt the growing danger that the ring exuded.  He would have seen the accelerated aging in Bilbo, as well as Bilbo's brief turn upon seeing the ring dangling around Frodo's neck.  There are many instances where the Rings power, or more over Sauron's power within the ring would have made Frodo realize that if he sat back and did nothing, eventually the darkness would come to The Shire anyway, and absorb all.

We forget that not even Gandalf new it was the One Ring truly until many years after Bilbo found it and even then he had some skepticism about its provenience.

If this Ring could have such a massive effect on one of the Istari, Saruman, imagine the effect it would have on a mortal with no particular special powers, other than great goodness.  Perhaps it was the goodness of your average Hobbit which made Eru choose by fate that the ring would eventually be handed to not one, but four of these strange little creatures and not into the hands of one of the Wise, or thank Eru another Man.

Well the Creator of all does not have the thought of those merely created, however wise and powerful they might be. They can only have what he puts into them, period , and either use it for good or for evil.Illuvatar seems to have imbued all creation with freedom of will and thought and purpose.

And the creator seems to have foreknown just....everything as only he could and also he had a plan for all he created, be it the creatures made or the very middle earth itself. Anyone could fall into his lofty plans, or they could go against them, that was each created beings given right. However as Illuvatar could read hearts and foreknew at least the inclination of each being, he would have the right given by himself and recognized by men, dwarves, elves, hobbits if they thought of him at all of leading each in the direction to the divine fulfillment he had for all. Rather like an architect who lays out the blueprints that cannot and will not be changed, but the builders and decorators come and go and each changes something a little to suit his or herself.

Thus, in answer to Frodo's anguished 'why' to Gandalf, Gandalf merely answers' Bilbo was meant to find the ring, you are meant to take it to Mordor. So I think his , Frodo's saying ' I will take the ring, was the unconscious hearing of the call of Illuvatar calling him to fulfill his doom, as well as the ring itself pulling him to Mordor and home in order to obey Sauron and destroy the ring bearer.

Well the Creator of all does not have the thought of those merely created, however wise and powerful they might be. They can only have what he puts into them, period , and either use it for good or for evil.Illuvatar seems to have imbued all creation with freedom of will and thought and purpose.

And the creator seems to have foreknown just....everything as only he could and also he had a plan for all he created, be it the creatures made or the very middle earth itself. Anyone could fall into his lofty plans, or they could go against them, that was each created beings given right. However as Illuvatar could read hearts and foreknew at least the inclination of each being, he would have the right given by himself and recognized by men, dwarves, elves, hobbits if they thought of him at all of leading each in the direction to the divine fulfillment he had for all. Rather like an architect who lays out the blueprints that cannot and will not be changed, but the builders and decorators come and go and each changes something a little to suit his or herself.

Thus, in answer to Frodo's anguished 'why' to Gandalf, Gandalf merely answers' Bilbo was meant to find the ring, you are meant to take it to Mordor. So I think his , Frodo's saying ' I will take the ring, was the unconscious hearing of the call of Illuvatar calling him to fulfill his doom, as well as the ring itself pulling him to Mordor and home in order to obey Sauron and destroy the ring bearer.

This is an interesting point - the Ring's influence on Frodo's decision to go to Mordor. It definitely could happen. But I believe that Gandalf - who knew so much about the mission (that's why he was sent to Middle Earth after all) and luckily enough who knew a lot about hobbits and their behaviours - would immediately recognize that in Frodo. I wrote "luckily enough" but I guess it wasn't an accident.

Of course, I'm sure there were times, when the Ring controlled Frodo's behaviour, and sometimes both of them - the Ring and the Ringbearer tried to achieve the same things - with reaching Mordor obviously being one of these things. During the journey Frodo's strength was diminishing, but his determination along with the will-power of the Ring were growing in my opinion. In my eyes at journey's end Frodo seems to be  consisted only of his determination and the Ring's power. Those two forces were fighting with each other at the Mount Doom. I'm not going to guess which one would win, if another force - Gollum's urge to get the Ring would not came up.

The only motivation the hobbit Frodo had was to protect the beloved Shire from Sauron, he was terrified of the thought of the nine coming there and harming anyone. it was purely from concern and care, even though the truth was he was not exactly enamoured with all the hobbits of the Shire. Still, it was A WAY OF LIFE and doing things that had gone on by his people for generation after generation. The Ring could only control him or parts of his mind and will if he allowed himself to have a care for the Ring and if he was too exhausted so he could not fight the never ending lure of the thing from the mind of Sauron to call him back to him at Mordor. In real life sleep deprivation and lack of food and water and the never ending propaganda of the enemy in your mind causes everything from depression, despair and suicidal thoughts so that the will is broken down and one will do things never even contemplated in proper situations. Also it can be compared like having a highly educated person manipulating the mind of a four year old. It won't take a great long time to harm the child's body or mind to the point he will give in or even believe what the adult is saying. Frodo was an intelligent Hobbit of course, and above most like Bilbo through the influence of the Elves, but still , compared to Sauron, it was terrible. No contest. So only Eru could make it work and no one could fathom how He would or who he would enlist into his army as it were. So Frodo's motivation never changed, only his mental stability through cruel torments.