Sunday, November 22, 2015

Frodo's Motivation

We spent a lot of time in class discussing the reasoning behind the fact that Frodo had Smeagol swear his loyalty to him on the Ring. Although I think that often throughout the story Frodo doesn't get enough credit for his actions, this may be an instance where he didn't fully recognize the consequences. Frodo obviously understands (to an extent) the power of the Ring, but what he really focuses on here is that it is an important object to Smeagol. He is cautious of the power, warning Smeagol too that it could twist his words, but it seems unlikely that he is fully contemplating the power of the Ring in the situation of an oath. Tolkien and his belief in the importance of oaths plays into this too, as both Frodo and Smeagol place their trust in simply a statement upon an object.

What are anyone's opinions on why Tolkien placed so much importance into oaths in his myth? Also, has anyone's opinion changed about Frodo's motivation for using the Ring as an object to swear on?

1 comment:

Manwë said...

I agree with the idea that Frodo did not totally comprehend the consequences of Smeagol’s oath, nor the reasons he actually decided to use the Ring as collateral. I liked the idea that was brought up in class that the Ring almost instigated the oath in order to cause some strife and conflict that would eventually lead to the Rings return to Sauron.
As for why Tolkien placed some much emphasis and importance on oaths- I think that oaths are important in just about every mythology. Several cultures even have deities whose sole purpose is to go after those that break their word- i.e. Horkos in Greek mythology or Orcus in Roman mythology. In many cultures oath breaking is just about the worst thing you can ever do!