Saturday, February 26, 2011

Frodo's sympathy

What does everyone think about Frodo's sympathy for Gollum? It is strange to me that he is the only character that wants to keep him alive and be somewhat kind to him, except Gandalf. He always seems to recall Gandalf's advice that Gollum could have a contribution that is unforeseen. I wonder if part of the sympathy comes from knowing Gollum was once a hobbit and became corrupt from the ring, since Frodo could have ended up like Gollum.
This also ties into something we said in class: the fact that Frodo does not have any flaws- except temptation toward the ring, but that is inevitable. But to come to think of it, Sam does not seem to have any flaws either, except for perhaps hatred/mistrust toward Gollum, but that is... understandable. Bilbo did not have a flaw either, besides wanting the ring. He had a little greed when he stole the Arkenstone, but after that he did not want any part of the treasure.
Sorry for the scattered ideas.


Aredhel said...

I wonder if Frodo hadn't talked to Gandalf about Gollum, if Frodo didn't know the background of Smeagol, if he would've been as sympathetic toward Gollum or if he would've taken a more "Sam-ish" approach toward the creature. I think a lot of Frodo's pity is born from the fact that he can so relate to Gollum and the pull Gollum feels from the Ring.

I agree with your analysis of Frodo's "perfection." I feel like there are several other characters that could be nailed for the same thing...I mean Aragorn is pretty upstanding as well. His only flaw would really be being a Man so he's tempted by the Ring. But wouldn't the fact that he resists the Ring make him even better? Same thing with Sam...his only flaw is really being poor or uneducated - but is that really a flaw? I don't think so.

Someone said this in class - I can't remember who - but they said that making Frodo so flawless serves to show the absolute power of the Ring in being able to corrupt even the most infallible of souls. I totally agree with this!

Radagast said...

Miriel commented that Sam's only flaw was perhaps hating/disliking Gollum. However, as I read your post, I was thinking the opposite. That maybe it was a flaw in Frodo to be so trusting toward Gollum. I mean we all know it works out for the better that he does trust Gollum to guide them, but it could be considered a flaw to trust him. At the beginning of the story, Strider tells them not to be too trusting, and I believe Sam is right to hold more to this mistrust.

Idril said...

I strongly believe that Frodo's trust for Gollum is founded solely upon the Ring. The burden placed on Frodo is understated throughout the novels, which makes the trust connection with Gollum seem unfathomable. However, I wouldn't say Frodo's trust and Sam's mistrust are flaws. The interplay between the Ring, Gollum, Frodo, and Sam helps drive the plot forward, tests the strength of friendship and fellowhip, and once again highlights the incredible power of the Ring.

P.S. I made the comment on Frodo's "flawlessness" in class. :)