Did Frodo fail?

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cloveress
Posts: 2289

Did Frodo fail?

Post#1 » Tue Nov 01, 2005 4:51 am

I have been reading the Letters of JRRT and have come across these particular letters that talk about Frodo and his final decision at Mt Doom to claim the Ring as his own. It says a lot of things.

We all know about how Frodo acted at the very last, he couldn't resist the temptation. But is that a failure? Did Frodo fail? Tolkien gives a great big paragraph of explanation and analysis on this, but I want to see what everyone actually thinks. Did Frodo, in your very personal opinion, fail?

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miruvor
Posts: 849

Did Frodo fail?

Post#2 » Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:14 am

I don't think Frodo failed his mission. He didn't destroy the Ring himself, which he can't be blamed for as everybody would've been overcome by the Ring at that point, but still the Ring was destroyed - which would never have happened if he didn't make it all the way to the Sammath Naûr.

If he had succumbed earlier, then Sauron would've reclaimed his Ring. But (unfortunately) that did not happen, due to Frodo's stamina.

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eruwen
Posts: 1277

Did Frodo fail?

Post#3 » Tue Nov 01, 2005 12:56 pm

In psychoanalytic terms, Frodo did not fail but succeeded. The success came through the fact that Gollum can be viewed as Frodo's Shadow, or a part of Frodo’s ego that only split off due to repression and guilt. The Shadow or Double can also be seen as a Messenger of Death, making us face our own mortal being yet immortal soul. As you can see, Gollum is actually that part of Frodo (and every human's ego) that is repressed, (the pleasure principle and the id), as we move from childhood into adulthood. Gollum's actions establish the reality principle in Frodo’s life, which is what all of us face as we move from childhood into adulthood. Frodo no longer longs to go back to the Shire, for it represents childhood, and he has come to accept death and the passing of life, which is more than most of us can say. Man, Aragorn, adulthood has been established in its rightful place in the passage of life.

(Of course, on the flip side, the installation of the reality principle could be seen as a neurotic symptom of the human race in general.)

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elrose
Posts: 1471

Did Frodo fail?

Post#4 » Tue Nov 01, 2005 4:36 pm

FRODO HAS FAILED, BUSH HAS THE RING!
lol i love that

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grondmaster
Posts: 25451

Did Frodo fail?

Post#5 » Tue Nov 01, 2005 4:51 pm

Frodo only failed in his own eyes, in that he couldn't destroy the Ring in the end, so when push came to shove, Gollum had to do it by accident, though we only have that report from the two eye witnesses, neither of whom can be said to have actually seen Gollum when he went over the edge, due to his wearing Exhibit A.

In fact Frodo may have pushed Gollum over the edge: Sam out of respect and friendship, may have covered up for him. Or mayhaps Sam did the dasterly deed himself, unbenounced to Frodo, who was so filled with dispair over losing the ring, that he couldn't see clearly and Sam took advantage of the situation.

Whatever the truth, Frodo succeeded because he befriended Gollum and let him tag along, long enough that he knew where to find the hobbits at the end, in order for the Ring to be destroyed once and for all. Frodo got the Ring to where it needed to be and facilitated Gollum being there for the final curtain call even, if it was against both their wishes at the time.
'Share and enjoy'

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cloveress
Posts: 2289

Did Frodo fail?

Post#6 » Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:03 am

Thanks everyone for your great answers... we have all talked more or less about the problem of Gollum. How many of you think that Frodo's task succeeded in the end because of his compassion for Gollum? Or was it because Gollum had been evil at heart and core all through? Or was the task's success nothing more than a lucky joining of Fates?

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miruvor
Posts: 849

Did Frodo fail?

Post#7 » Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:29 am

I think it's a combination of the three.

If both Bilbo and Frodo hadn't spared Gollum's life, Frodo would never have reached Mt Doom (and the Ring would not have been destroyed), hence compassion plays an important role in the quest, together with friendship, endurance and loyalty.

I think it was fated that Gollum, Sam and Frodo would be reunited, to create the possibility that Gollum would still be redeemed - a chance Gollum finally squandered when he decided to get Shelob involved.

In the very end though, it was sheer luck that Gollum stumbled into the fires - but if this didn't happen, i believe either Frodo or Sam would've pushed the lil scoundrel into the fires.

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valedhelgwath
Posts: 4233

Did Frodo fail?

Post#8 » Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:30 am

At the very last moment Frodo put on the ring and claimed it for his own. If it was soley down to him, then yes I believe he would have failed to destroy the ring. Gollum did not give him much of an opportunity in which to repent his decision and change his mind, but even if he had, I don't think the chances of Frodo repenting were very high. The closer Frodo got to Mount Doom the greater the ring began to burden and corrupt him. At the last he could not destroy the ring, but claiming it for his own was probably something he had been fighting off for a while.

Although he himself failed at the last, the ring was nevertheless destroyed. Frodo achieved much by getting the ring as far as he did without becoming corrupted. I doubt many others would have carried it so far without claiming it. Also, although he most likely did not anticipate the eventual outcome, Frodo did befriend Gollum, without who's help he would have struggled to reach Mount Doom.

In this deed we have Gandalf to thank much for. It was he, who in Moria, suggested to Frodo that Gollum would prove useful. I'm not sure how great a role Gandalf saw Gollum playing, but he certainly saw he had a role to play. Frodo may have failed at the end, but Gandalf covering all eventualities, certainly didn't.

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cloveress
Posts: 2289

Did Frodo fail?

Post#9 » Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:02 am

Thanks again for the great replies! I was actually afraid this thread would be a two-person convo between me and Miruvor. :dunce:

ithil
Posts: 1427

Did Frodo fail?

Post#10 » Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:13 am

I think frodo did fail, as it was his job to destroy the ring and he didn't manage to do so and was finally overcome by it. of course, he did a great job up to then, no need to discuss that.
however, it's the mission - destroying the ring - that didn't fail and that remains the main thing, it's less important who destroyed the ring and why.

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