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Bottom of Page    Message Board > The Lord of the Rings > Did Frodo fail?   << [1] [2]
Exactly. Elf Rolling Eyes Smilie
He did both.

Or neither.
His quest was that HE should destroy the Ring. He only brought it to where it COULD be destroyed. He did not do it himself. Thus I think he failed.
Considering the facts as Gandalf told Frodo in the kitchen when he began to worry over the ring Bilbo passed on to Frodo though reluctantly, considering that Gandalf himself did not wish to touch it, and considering that Elrond and the council knew that it was pretty much an impossible task after Isildur failed to throw it into the fires of Mordor when its maker was now defrocked as it were, I think Frodo did splendidly. He was not strong, nor knew any 'magic' to help him along. He was gentle, had never been far from his two homes in all his life. He had n othing to recommend him except a kind heart that bid him be responsible and take the ring from his beloved Shire to protect and save it and his fellows there. He was constantly worn out with fear, with fighting Sauron whose thoughts were bent toward the ring making it a never ending torment upon his mind and body. If the nine once super kings fell, if the powerful and obstinate dwarves fell, if some of the astari failed their missions, all but Gandalf that is, I am not positive about Radagast the Brown, then why such huge and unfair expectations upon a small frightened Hobbit. He did all he had the strength to do, over and over and even when he thought he was finished he somehow found the strength to go on just that little more. To show his absolutely distraught and almost mind numbing fear and weariness he replied to Sam at one point that h e could no longer even envision the Shire or the simple pleasures held within. He was like one in a dream he could not get out of, he was like one who has been wounded unto death and is feverish and rambling and in a delirium. How he could have done better I have no idea. To me this humble little Hobbit was a giant of a hero.
Nobody is doubting that Frodo did not do well, better indeed than all others at that time might have hoped to achieve. But he didn't complete his task to the bitter end. At the very last moment he wielded to the ever burdensome temptation and finally succumbed to the Rings Will before he could complete his task. Thus he did fail, but not by that much.
He was not strong, nor knew any 'magic' to help him along.

Safe for the Phial of Galadriel and Sting (not the singer). Without those magically imbued artifacts he and Master Gamgee would've hung next to Ufthák in Shelob's pantry.

How he could have done better I have no idea.

What about throwing the Ring into the Sammath Naur?
How he could have done better I have no idea.

What about throwing the Ring into the Sammath Naur?

Frodo did his best just getting the Ring to the Crack of Doom; it was his and Bilbo's mercy that allowed Gollum to be there; it was Gollum's greed that bit the Ring from Frodo; and Eru's justice (banana peel or tiny pebble) that finally finished the job.
You are correct Vir about the phial from Galadriel, however I was referring to anything within himself that would have given him more strength as when Gandalf used his staff or said mysterious words, that sort of thing. And I must disagree that he would have been finished without that, it was obvious that the 'higher' powers that were watching over the whole thing gave him that through Galadriel. If not that something else would have come along or happened to bring remedy, some relief and tiny victory in that. After all no matter how strong, cunning, how wise, Sauron and his minions could never outwit Illuvatar and really I think it was Him that was in charge of the whole drama.He seemed to allow total freedom of speach and movement and thought but not to the extent of allowing evil to completely dominant and destroy that which He was responsible for making in the beginning.
After all no matter how strong, cunning, how wise, Sauron and his minions could never outwit Illuvatar and really I think it was Him that was in charge of the whole drama.

Indeed. And that is the reason why all evil is utterly pointless and useless, as all evil does is for ever losing and failing until the bitter end.
Which would seem to indicate that Eru has already set the Worlds fate beforehand...
No, it merely indicates that good is superior to evil.
It means Eru's will (which is classed as good) will always beat evil. Most likely becuase he controls Fate.
But he didn't complete his task to the bitter end. At the very last moment he wielded to the ever burdensome temptation and finally succumbed to the Rings Will before he could complete his task. Thus he did fail, but not by that much.

The task was completely in the end though, whenever you have a task in front of you completing it is first priority, no matter how it came to be completed.

For instance lets say you are in some one on one sports competition and your goal is to obtain first place. You end up only reaching second place but in the end the one guy who beat you is disqualified for some reason, you then automatically recieve first place spot, therefore task completed. It may not be the way you wanted to win, but it's a win none the less.
I see where your coming from Turin but there is a flaw. Frodo's task was to destroy the Ring, not to have it destroyed. There is a difference. It was his task to dispose of the Great Ring and although it was indeed disposed of, it was not done so by Frodo.

If your goal is to win a race but you trip over halfway through and someone quickly comes on and says 'I will win this race FOR HIM' and then he finshes first, did the guy who tripped over actually win the race or did he have it won for him?
I agree that good is superior to evil and the fact is if Illuvatar is good and is the Creator of all , why on earth would he allow evil to triumph.That is just silly. And good always allows freedom of expression and sometimes out of that evil comes. Evil, on the other hand wants total submission and obedience only to the whims of evil.So if it triumphed there would have to come the complete end to everything at some point.
When did it become Frodo's task to destroy the ring? I must appologize for asking a question that may have a well-known and simple answer; I haven't read the books in years. I thought that Frodo's job, as appointed during the Council, was to bear the ring to Mordor. I didn't realize that the fine print in his contract required him to destroy it. Was this rider introduced at the Council or was it a later development?
I thought that Frodo's job, as appointed during the Council, was to bear the ring to Mordor.

Just to hand it over to Sauron as a mere messenger? Wink Smilie

I believe Frodo was appointed the task to carry the ring to Mordor and there throw it into the cracks of Mount Doom, of course the original plan was for the 8 other members of the fellowship to aid him on his way and help him destroy it. Frodo didn't neccessarly have to throw it into the cracks of Mount Doom himself, perhaps he throws like a girl? In that case Aragorn, or some other member of the fellowship, would be able to throw it into the lava for him, once he brought it there. Obviously nothing ever seems to go to plan, but somehow the task was completed.

Frodo was only really appointed to bring the ring to Mount Doom, and there they had to find a way to drop it into the lava, but they didn't specify who's job it was to destroy it once it got there.
The plan was to destroy the Ring. Frodo was appointed as Ringbearer. It was never said he needed to do it all alone, or had to refuse help along the way.

So I agree that although Frodo himself failed to destroy the Ring, the quest did not fail.
Frodo's task was to destroy the Ring. Simple as. The only place he could do that was in Mount Doom so he had to go there. Thats not to say he alone had to go there, nor that he could not receive any help. In fact he could have got somebody else to carry it and then take it off them at Mount Doom and then throw it in the Fire. If he had done this then he would not have failed even though he did not do much (obviously its doubtful anyone else could have or would have carried the Ring but you get what I mean).

The only part of Frodo's quest that was exclusively meant for him is that he should have destroyed it himself. But seeing as it was not possible for him to do that after enduring months with the Ring he did fail in his task but the result of that task did not fail...
Elrond said during his Council in Rivendale:
.....'There lies our hope, if hope it be. To walk into peril—to Mordor. We must send the Ring to the Fire.' - from 'The Council of Elrond' in FotR

And he said later at the going forth of the Fellowship from Rivendell:
'This is my last word,' he said in a low voice. 'The Ring-bearer is setting out on the Quest of Mount Doom. On him alone is any charge laid: neither to cast away the Ring, nor to deliver it to any servant of the Enemy nor indeed to let any handle it, save members of the Company and the Council, and only then in gravest need. The others go with him as free companions..... - from 'The Ring Goes South' in FotR

This is the only task that was laid on Frodo. To get the Ring into the Fire, not to leave it on the path inside of Orudruin, where any traveller could find and pick it up; but to throw it into the fire where it would be unmade.
Somehow I see Grondy h ooked up to a machine at night that intravenously feeds him facts , Tolkien facts, facts about everything that ever was , is or will be.
Amazing really. Smile Smilie
(This is why I hated English class.) Grond, that last quote does not make sense to me. If Frodo is charged against casting the ring away, and against allowing anyone other than the fellowship to handle the ring, then I would certainly say that he failed at Mount Doom, on both counts. Gollum (a non-fellow) handled the ring, and the ring was (sort of) cast (by Gollum, sort of) away (into the fire). Frodo was charged to prevent both of these things from happening?

BTW, I didn't know that Orodruin was such a happenin' tourist trap.
Frodo did not hand over the Ring to Gollum. Gollum bit off his ringfinger, hence acquiring the Ring.

BTW, I didn't know that Orodruin was such a happenin' tourist trap.

It would've been hilarious if they had arrived at Orodruin after the whole long ordeal, only to encounter that Sauron had ordered to close the entry to the Sammath Naur with a few feet of reinforced mithril long ago.
What if they arrived at Mt Doom but it turned out to be an extinct volcano with no lava.
There would be nothing for it but to have a good old breakdown. Rather like that movie with Richard Chamberlain who , along with h is English crew ended up in Japan and in the end , even though they snuck about and rebuilt an entire ship by the sea to escape found that it had been burned to the ground I believe and at least one of the crew went insane.
I stand though on the belief that in no way did Frodo fail. Noone that exists can ever do more than the strength they find to do the exploit unless somehow they are bestowed with strength beyond what is natural.
Well the fact does remain that Frodo did not complete his task, thus he does strictly fail in the completion of his task. Thats not to say he's a failure, he did very well, but he didn't go all the way.
Rather like that movie with Richard Chamberlain who , along with h is English crew ended up in Japan and in the end , even though they snuck about and rebuilt an entire ship by the sea to escape found that it had been burned to the ground I believe and at least one of the crew went insane.

Or that movie with Charlton Heston when he comes upon Lady Minerva buried in the sand until her waist.
Only Frodo looked down on himself for failing to cast the Ring into the fire; no one else attached any blame for his falling under the power of the Ring at the end. No one could have done better, which was why he was held so high in esteem. In the end, Frodo got the job done through the good luck provided by Eru, the perseverence of Sam his strong-willed friend, the rest of the Fellowship drawing the Eye of Sauron away from the the Ringbearer, strangers on the road (Faramir), and the mercy he and Bilbo displayed towards Gollum.
Frodo did fail, but not morally. Tolkien wrote in Letter #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 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. We are finite creatures with absolute limitations upon the powers of our soul-body structure in either action or endurance. Moral failure can only be asserted, I think, when a man's effort or endurance falls short of his limits, and the blame decreases as that limit is closer approached."
Amen to that, dear Professor! Teacher Smilie
I would add that I think it is an essential part of life to fail, and to fail miserably. I don't think a person can become truly mature until he/she has done so. The question is not whether a person has failed or will fail; it is how he/she interprets this failure. One can wallow in self-contempt because he/she fails, or one can recognize that he/she must do what is right, even when logic mocks him/her with impossibility. One should trust that Iluvatar will finish the job even when failure is inevitable.

I think this is what Iluvatar really wants from us: not to succeed, but to fail. Even The Ring is but a trifle compared to the eternal existence of The Timeless Halls, where we can hang out with the big cheese himself (herself? itself?) and our brethren (and sistren) and laugh about how we used to take pain, suffering, humiliation, etc. so seriously. These things will be a spiritual inside joke that the uninitiated will not understand.
I completely agree that learning from our mistakes/accidental mishaps is the #1 way to learn in life. I don't know if any person can actually claim how man first invented the making of fire, but it was but i'd think it's safe to say it was accidental.

How do you think each and every human learns about pain and avoiding it?
I think this is what Iluvatar really wants from us: not to succeed, but to fail.

I think Iluvatar wants us all to try and give all our best, go beyond our limits. That way it doesn't matter whether we fail or succeed in any of our actions, as long as we do not fail in our spirit.

How do you think each and every human learns about pain and avoiding it?

By watching Johnny Knoxville and his intrepid crew?
Well, I point to that little phrase "simple minds". Frodo failed in the eyes of those with simple minds or minds that saw black and white and nothing in between.
The night before the company had to leave Lorien Aragorn was troubled in his mind because Frodo would not as yet committ himself as to how he wanted to travel, go with the company for Boromir's sake and so Aragorn could then begin to fulfill that which was prophecied concerning him, or the other way. And then Aragorn debates with himself what if anything the company can possibly do going along with Frodo to certain destruction, he does not even give a hope for them to help Frodo get to the fires of Mount Doom so he could throw the ring in. Even he does not see how it is possible especially without the wisdom and leading of Gandalf.

Since dear Tolkien wrote from a Catholic Christian perspective, his work was saturated in it even if he did not realize the extent at the beginning. Indeed he said when he reread the manuscript years later it was to him as if someone else penned it. And he was taken aback when a gentleman said to him, "you don't think you wrote that alone do you?", meaning God was guiding and directing his work.
So from that perspective and from two Scriptures that say: "For ALL things are possible with God" and "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." Plus the fact that Joshua the son of Nun with his trusty Caleb, son of Jephuna did what Moses and his helpers did not-they lead the three million plus children of Israel to finally take possession of the Promised Land.
So I think in fact Illuvatar dearly wants and desires his children to not fail, but in the journey they must bow to the fact that victory will come as HE alone sees fit. And He judges the HEART not the works alone so that judging by the heart of Frodo and his desire to do as he was bid, due to the fact he expended himself until his mind and body could no longer do anything more to obtain the desired goal, on that basis he was a winner. Illuvatar HIMSELF did not equip Frodo to win on his own thereby giving himself glory and honor that was not do a mortal or Hobbit if you will. So I maintain, not using 'simple mind' thinking that Frodo did not fail.
Vir,I never in the whole of my life viewed that movie you are talking about with Charlton Heston. It sounds hair raising to say the least.
I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to the question ‘Did Frodo fail?’ Everybody reads the book from his or her own experience and background. How we see the different characters and how they make us feel depends on our own character and life experience. For me Frodo did succeed in bringing the ring to Mount Doom and accidentally succeeded in destroying it. But he didn’t mean to destroy it, so he failed. That’s the sad part for me. He was so devoted to his mission and went through so much pain to complete his task, yet at the final point he couldn’t resist the greed and he couldn’t let go. For me he became used to carry the ring and to fight for it. I don’t think he kept it for its power, but he just couldn’t let go. Because letting go of the ring would change everything and would end his quest, his goal. Don’t we all have trouble with letting go, even of sad and painful memories. Because it means change and change means uncertainty. I also think if Frodo could have destroyed the ring out of his own free will, he could have healed because together with the ring he would have cast away all the evil inside. Now a part if it never left. But that’s only my point of view.
That is a very good set of th oughts.
For me the Frodo that Gandalf first spoke to about the ring, and the Frodo that succumbed to the mind bending strength and evil of Sauron at the end, the Frodo that was now in a dream, starving, dehydrated, tortured in mind as well as body, was not the same Frodo.
Had the Frodo that started out on the quest somehow found a way in say a week to get to the cracks of Doom I believe he would have withstood the evil and thrown that ring into the lava.
But by the time he did arrive he was but a spectre, a shadow of the real him. And he never ever regained the real or original Frodo again. He was changed forever and needed to go across the sea to recover enough to have some peace before he laid down in death and left the circle of the world.
So I believe he did not fail. He used absolutely to the last drop the strength afforded to him at the end, but like anyone in a state of starvation and dehydration he was not capable of doing more.
I always remember the picture that would flash across the screen for some commercial or something where a woman athlete comes swaying back and forth into the arena at the Olympics and she is out of her mind from I think heatstroke. I was so scared whenever I would see this. Had you spoken to her at that moment she would have made no sense. She could not even help herself to walk in the right direction.So I judge the success or failure on Frodo not being Frodo anylonger.
As the Professor himself indicated, the wrap is that Frodo failed as a hero for simple minds, but he did not fail morally.

For the majority of readers, what happened in the very end does not detract anything because of what befell him throughout the books, and he is still a hero, even more.
If I may interject;
I am reminded of a saying that I have tried to live by for a long time, sometimes to no avail, because I am human and to be such makes even the most well-intentioned ideas hard to realize: It is not the journey, but the destination. The means by which you arrive at a certain point is not what is important, it is that you got there. One does not question themselves or others when they have earned something by the pure effort of their beings. They know that if they truly tried to see things out until the very end and never gave up, regardless of external circumstances, that they earned the reward without question. I have also heard the reverse idea: Life is a journey, not a destination, which actually lends itself to my former idea in that true success cannot be measured in defined accomplishments or "snapshots" of events, but in the culmination of each day's progress over our entire lifetimes, death being the true destination. The "judgement" or whatever we receive in the afterlife is the destination. As long as our conduct in life was not marred by evil choices and deeds, we did succeed. Frodo's case is no different in my opinion, as LeeLee said, he did his ultimate best as someone who had lost himself along the way and that being said, I believe that he did not fail at all, but rather he faltered. Failure is a complete release of responsibilty or duty intentionally, to falter is to make the innocent mistake of being temporarily weak. If he had completely failed, he would have given up before he had even entered Mordor, but because he pursued his quest to the very heart of Mt. Doom, he had already conquered all and succeeded, no matter how he faltered in destroying the ring. End of story, the ring was destroyed and would not have been so if Frodo had not gotten it as far as he did, so he did not fail.
I believe he failed and didnt fail at the same tim, he falied in the sense of he fell to the power of the ring, the thing he said he wouldnt do... as for not failing, he brought the ring to mount doom didnt he? I still take it as a dissapointment that he fell for it at last moment and thus leading me to believe that Samwise Gamgee is the true hero, and he should have been true ringbearer through-out the books, and movies, even though he did bear it for a moment, he (being around it as much as the ring-bearer himself) showed more risiliance to it then the ring-bearer himself... in that sense really did I feel like frodo failed, and that in reality he never accomplishe what he set out to do originaly, instead quite incidently... with the help of a certain lurking creature...
Lauralindhe, how beautifully put............he faltered.That is in two words what I stumbled along to say in a couple of hundred. thankyou.

Tolkien himself said that Samwise was indeed the hero, but not for the reason you put forth. He said that Frodo could not be the hero because he was too much of an athstetic person, not quite Hobbit, not quite Elven, sort of a dreamer, a mystical sort of fellow almost.Sam though was the salt of the earth type creature, he took delight in the earth, the flowers, the trees, marriage, celebrations, food, all the things that average ordinary life celebrates generation after generation.
And while it is true that he did well when he carried the ring, the point is ultimately Illuvatar did not choose him to be the one who actually carried the ring, but a support to he who was chosen.And even in that miniscule amount of time that he did carry it it weighed him down and was a terrible burden. So in my opinion it was never to be so it would be hard to assess whether h e in fact would have done any better under the terrible weight and horror of the Eye constantly searching him out, the Riders pursuing him, meaning to take his life.
Frodo did all he could though he didn't destroy the Ring directly. I think he did destroy the Ring indirectly by his relationship with Gollum...
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