Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gollum's Swear- The Duality of Smeagol

Our "sacrilegious" class freewrite exercise was, I think, one of the most interesting in terms of speculating on Tolkien's character decisions. I didn't write about the Gollum scenario (what if Gollum had sworn on something different), but listening to other people talk about it gave me an interesting idea that would be neat to get some feedback about: Gollum swearing on the name of Smeagol.

For me, the duality between Gollum and Smeagol, as well as Gollum eventually winning the inner battle between the two, is the most subtle and volatile internal dialogue that Tolkien creates. The emergence of Smeagol gives Frodo-- and the reader --hope for Gollum's redemption. However, the destruction of the Ring hinges on Gollum's corruption. So what if Gollum had been keenly aware of Smeagol earlier on in the narrative? Wha
t if he had bound himself to Smeagol's desires in that moment? I imagine that Smeagol would have been given more of a voice, more power, and that he could have triumphed over Gollum's need for the Ring.

Without Gollum, where would Frodo be at the end of Return of the King? Smeagol's redemption would equal Frodo's downfall, just as Gollum's greed saves him in the end.

1 comment:

Radagast said...

I think that is a very interesting way to think about it. Usually, we think of Gollum as the bad part of him and Smeagle as the good. However, if Smeagle did win out then the ring probably wouldn't have been destroyed. So overall, Gollum is "good" because his greed is what finally destroys the ring.

I guess I'm not really sure what you mean by Gollum swearing on the name of Smeagle, but if Smeagle did come out as the stronger of the two earlier on, it might have had a drastic affect on the story.