The Effects of the Ring on Frodo

J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, uses the ring of power to represent power, despair, and corruption. This iniquity is conceived by the ring of power, which is thought to exist solely for the purpose of bringing evil to the world and annihilating the human race. The ring is an emblem of witchcraft and sorcery, crafted by its evil lord, Sauron, to bring calamity upon the human race, as depicted in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring.’ Precisely speaking, J.R.R. Tolkien establishes that the ring, with its wielding power, could corrupt every individual to destroy the earth who owns it; “one ring to rule all of them, find them and bring them all and in the darkness bind them” (Bena, and Nicholas 665). Men, Dwarves, Elves, and by the Council of Elrond in Rivendell decided to destroy the ring as soon as possible to end the threat under which the whole earth was. But, in order to make it happen, it needs someone who is innocent, generous, and brave. Frodo Baggins had all these qualities and he was chosen for the mission. But, it was not an easy job. The ring was a curse and it did bring Frodo through many tribulations to bring peace to the earth. This paper intends to map the effects of the ring of power on Frodo during his journey from his home to the Crack of Doom in Mordor to put an end to it before Sauron could find it. Due of its evil nature, the ring changed the behaviour of Frodo Baggins towards his own character and his acquaintances including Sam and Gollum and he continuously struggles with himself and other hurdles in order to destroy it.

The ring was very powerful and it takes honesty and trueness to stand by it. The ring was described as ‘the one ring to rule them all’. Apparently, the ring was the evilest thing on the Middle Earth because it brought about cruelty, domination and corruption of every individual who finds it. Some people such as Gandalf, Saruman, and even Bilbo Baggins were aware of the power of the ring which Frodo Baggins did not know. The ring not only had active and mysterious powers but also was dangerous. An analysis of the effects of the ring to Frodo Baggins based on the fact that whenever Frodo wears the ring, it tries to find its master that making him aware of the personality and location of Frodo Baggins. Sauron instantly sends his servants to recover it t, they fail every time.

The author represents the ring as the epitome of evilness to give it a mind of its own. From this personification attempt, the ring is perceived to have the ability to ploy itself and corrupt anyone it pleases. It assumes the evilness of the beholder and amplifies their evil thoughts up to a point which they only think of evilness and nothing else constructive. According to Frodo, the ring is possessed insalubrious power that begins to work on its keeper at once. For example, the case of Sméagol (Gollum) illustrates the evil power hidden in its beauty and brightness. The ring took complete control of Sméagol’s body and soul and transacts him to Gollum. Such evil is described by the author as something that takes actions and not that is acted upon (Tolkien 661). The power possessed by the ring eventually eats away Sméagol until he eventually becomes an entirely different creature.

The story of Frodo and the ring begins when Lord Sauron, the Dark Lord, claims that the ring was taken away from him and was in the Middle Earth from Gollum (Sméagol). To recover it, he decided to persecute and to destroy its beholder (Chance 13). Frodo’s predecessor, Bilbo Baggins took care of the ring well without mentioning it to even Frodo. At his 112th birthday, Bilbo Baggins surprised his hobbit mates by suddenly disappearing in front of everyone (Brisbois 200). However, the old wizard, Gandalf had warned him that the ring was worth more than it seemed, and told him to give it to his heir, Frodo so that it could be taken to the place of destruction to save the Middle Earth.

The ring brought fear to Frodo as it seemed a big responsibility (Bassham and Eric 12). In fact, Frodo initially offered it to Gandalf, illuminating his ability to destroy it because he felt the danger of possessing it. He tried a few times to offer it to Gandalf and once to Galadriel out of fear. Previously, his life in the Shire encompassed tilling the field, brewing and drinking wine and smoking pipes (Tolkien 50). All along, he had to go through the unexpected challenges that were associated with the destruction of the ring. Frodo had to avoid the wearing of the ring in every case as it always tries to go back to its master. Also, it eases its finding by Sauron and his servants. The task of taking the ring to destruction changed Frodo’s life from merriness to extreme fear.

Rather than a modern-day headstrong hero throbbing for a fight, Tolkien presents Frodo as an individual that is full of trepidation, self-doubt with his reluctance to save the Shire after Gandalf reveals that the ring belonged to Lord Sauron and it was a threat to any person bearing it (Tolkien 665). Frodo seems to be doing his duty as a result of lack of other alternatives. Many people including Gandalf, Gimli, and Aragorn etc. were supportive and protective to Frodo to accomplish the mission of destroying the ring forever.

It was established that the ring would change the life of Frodo (and his hobbit friends) forever. While at the shire everything was beautiful and everyone was filled with joy, the journey to Mountain Mordor was filled with many challenges that made Frodo’s life miserable. He was compelled to pass amidst the brutal and powerful evil armies of Lord Sauron that were led by Saruman (Mathijs 25) and was frequently attacked by mysterious creatures including Sméagol. However, he was driven by his willpower to help in reclaiming the peace of the earth regardless of the sufferings that he experienced because he loved it so much. At one point, he is incapable of walking on the paths to the Cracks of Doom, prompting his friend Sam to carry him (Bena and Nicholas 667) and on the other, he is heard speaking about the suffering that the ring brought to him. Frodo wished that the ring should have never come to him. But the Gandalf replied that ring was not liked by anyone who possessed it as it changed them for worse. But, the role of the Baggins, Bilbo and Frodo, was to put an end to the evil and curse that puts shadows on the earth even on the Shire (Tolkien 554).

The conversation suggests that the ring brought much suffering to Frodo, and could give it away if he had an opportunity. But, he was bound to his responsibility and along the way he figured the weight of the burden he was carrying. Also, one of closest allies Boromir died that was a big blow to Frodo. Boromir wanted to snatch the ring from Frodo in order to bring prosperity to his city as per his father. But, Frodo was strong enough to save the ring from him. Later, Boromir and Frodo realized that it was the power of the ring that elevated such undesirable thought. However, it was Boromir who was killed by the Orcs with an intention to contribute to the great cause of destroying the ring (Shippey 308). Without his friend Sam, Frodo would have died on the way because of the frequent attacks by Sauron’s brutal agents that were pursuing the ring on his behalf. Also, could have been eaten by the giant spider that bit him, left him numb and hurled a giant web around his body if he was not accompanied by Sam along the journey.

The author establishes a relationship between Jesus Christ and Frodo Baggins by illustrating the pain and agony that was associated with the crucifixion and misery of Christ and Frodo respectively. By the time Frodo reaches Mordor where the ring is to be destroyed, he was so weighed down, both by despair and the power of the ring that compelled Sam to carry him with the Ring up the path in the Crack of Doom ((Tolkien 7). Sam is the image of Simon of Arimathea in the account of Christ’s journey to crucifixion. However, as opposed to Christ that was not attacked on the way, Frodo was attacked by Gollum at the Crack of doom when he was about to destroy the ring (Shippey 309).

In the entire journey towards mountain Mordor, Frodo was left the weakest and most vulnerable than he had never been before (Gazzolo xvii). He was persecuted by creatures sent by Lord Sauron himself, and fighting them left him weak and hopeless because he did not have sufficient fighting skills. After becoming weary because of the long and tiresome journey full of peril, Frodo left his armour and weapons behind because he had no strength to bear them, which is equivalent to abandoning all defences (Bassham and Eric 12). Ideally, such action indicated hopelessness in the mission to save the earth. On reaching the top of the mountain, all the water for drinking that they had carried along was depleted, and Sméagol destroys some. The remaining bread falls leaving him hungry but with a long distance to go.

The primary problem in his mission is his first impulse when he is required to summon his courage; he liked to put on the ring and use its power. For instance, before confronting the Ringwraiths stabbing the Lord of the Nazgul, he put on the ring. Also, at Amon Hen, Frodo puts on the ring when Boromir attempted to take it from him (Tolkien 2-3). Eventually, he was tempted to take the ring as his own like everyone else which was a compromise of his mission and such temptation arises because of the power of the ring that was meant to bring evil to the earth. The ring was so powerful that it controls all other magic rings that were present at that time. It affects the very nature of every person who owns it. Its luring effects in context to immense power make it one of the deadliest weapons of destruction (Chance 15). Frodo was a hobbit who was true from inside like other Hobbits including Bilbo Baggins. Such quality overpowered the evil power of the ring as far as Frodo Baggins was concerned giving an impression that darkness vanishes in presence of trueness.

From the beginning, all living beings who possessed the ring were lured by it power so they were unwilling to take part in its destruction. Frodo was chosen as the person that could carry the ring to its point of destruction because he did not possess such ravenousness. Frodo knew that the ring was evil and could corrupt whoever comes in closer contact with its bearer. For instance, it had warped and corrupted his perception about Bilbo, Sam, and Boromir and it was very vital for him to avoid such temptation (Gazzolo xvii). However, as described by J.R.R Tolkien, by wearing the ring, even Frodo also became obsessed with it that he also wanted to keep it at the Cracks of Doom, on Mountain Mordor (Tolkien 163). Despite that he was chosen for his wisdom and had good intentions from the Shire, the wielding power of the ring corrupted his mind (Harvey 13). As Frodo and Sam got closer to the Mountain of Doom, Frodo became increasingly possessive of the ring. There is irony in the story because by the time Frodo believes that he has mastered the Ring and he does not want it to be destroyed. It was the ring that had taken complete mastery of him and converted his will into its will (Tolkien 664).

The failure of Frodo on the Mountain of Doom is different from other folklore stories. In most myths such as Oedipus and Jason of the Argonauts, tragic heroes are undone by hubris, and some are defeated in their final quests such as Beowulf (Robertson 280). Such heroes do not turn against their quests and abandon them at the point of achieving them. The mountain scene ponders light on the question whether Frodo can be categorized as a hero or not. First, he was a hobbit with courage and Stamina to carry the ring of doom to its destruction and can courageously confront all creatures and hurdles that seek to snatch it from him. Despite that Lord Sauron was searching for the whereabouts of the ring, Frodo could wear it and be with Sauron’s eye (Chance 16). Secondly, no other character would have been able to accomplish what Frodo did without succumbing to the massive power of the ring.

The ring influenced the very nature of Frodo by contesting his physical and mental endurance throughout the journey. Frodo’s misery was the result of the malevolent that the ring was filled with. At the Mountain of Doom, the primary cause of Frodo’s downfall might not be his lack of will but the abundance of the will that was amplified by the ring’s evil (Tolkien 666). The One Ring was an amplifier that boosted the bearer of the ring and converted it to its own and it alters one’s intentions to negative contemplations. In other words, the ring was proportional to the strength of the intentions, stronger the intents stronger would be the negativity and evil. If the ring could boost the will of the reluctant Frodo to the point of attempting to avoid destroying, then, it would have done more for those with a stronger will to destroy it such as Gandalf, Boromir or Aragorn (Mathijs 29).

After knowing his mission to save the earth by destroying the ring of evil, Frodo learned to make differences between real and false friends. Gandalf proved to be the best friend of Frodo from the beginning to the end. He gave him a ring because he was the right person to carry it to the mountain of its destruction and ensured that it would always be in his possession (Brisbois 200). He never changed his mind to take it from him from the beginning to the end. Sam proved to be one of the closest friends who encouraged him in the entire mission without failing him. However, at one point, he also indicated a desire to have the ring, which made Frodo change his attitude about their companionship. Other creatures such as the elves fought heavily to protect Frodo on his way (Bena and Nicholas 700). However, as opposed to Gandalf and Sam Sméagol misled Frodo to a swamp where he stole the ring from him. Ideally, the name by which each person treated Frodo enables him to differentiate between the friends like who to trust and who to not while on his way to the Mountain of Doom.

After destroying the Ring, Frodo’s relationship with other members of the Shire changed. Unlike other heroes that become fully integrated into their community after a brave ordeal, Frodo was contended with what he did for himself and for everyone who was liable to the evil of the ring. Instead, after his instrumental saving of the shire from Sauron, he is never comfortable to live in it again unlike his colleagues such as Merry, Pippin, and Sam. Whereas other hobbits find their places in the Shire, Frodo becomes alienated and plagued due to the hardships through which he went through while destroying the ring (Curry 5). Typically, Frodo’s possession of the ring haunts him till the end. After completing his reminiscences, Frodo leaves the Middle-earth to the blessed realm on an Elven ship forever.

Through the quest of destroying the ring in Mordor, Frodo experienced internal struggle with the evil of the ring that shatters his will. The attribute was revealed when he reluctantly volunteers to take the ring at the council of Elrond with his famous expression “I will take the ring, but I do not know the way.” The journey to the cracks of Doom was significantly challenging to him and Sam. The mishaps and misadventures left Frodo with no alternative other than suffering more and complaining less to bring salvation to the Middle Earth. To the surprise of the audience, Frodo did not give up on his mission regardless of his initial attitude.

Along the journey, Frodo demonstrated courage under the shadow of the evil forces of the ring which he was unaware of. One of the Black Riders stabbed Frodo with a sword of evil enchantment near the Weathertop watchtower, and Frodo nearly died, but it did not divert him from his mission of saving the earth by destroying the ring. At the Weathertop, instead of being paralyzed with fear of fighting him, Frodo boldly stabbed Ringwraiths Lord (Shippey 310). Afterwards, he crossed to the Ford of Bruinen and the Rivendell border and defied the Black Riders that had come to return him to Mordor. The seriousness of Frodo’s internal struggle becomes visible when he saw the eye of Sauron at Amon Hen while wearing the ring. He was afraid because of his inability to establish whether Sauron is pursuing him or whether he is opposed to the destruction of the ring. At this time, Frodo struggled to take the ring off. However, despite the terrible internal struggle, Frodo finds the courage and Stamina to continue to the end while being aware of the associated dangers of the mission (Robertson 280).

It can be established that by the time he reached the place of destroying the ring, Frodo’s courage had grown so huge that he was willing to challenge Sauron himself. For instance, he was capable of wearing the ring, which on the other hand could reveal its whereabouts to its master Sauron. The trait indicates courageousness because Frodo, being the bearer of the ring could be easily destroyed by lord Sauron. Frodo also learns to sympathize with his opponents. For instance, he requests Boromir to spare the life of Sméagol, who is a barrier to his mission (Tolkien). The last attempt of Sméagol to take the ring from him reignited Frodo’s will was confronted with strong threats, indicating that holding the ring had made him a stern and powerful hobbit. Frodo authoritatively argued with old Sméagol that if he ever touched him again, he will cast him into the fire of Doom (Mohammadi 118).

The ring of power affected Frodo in many ways. The whole journey of Frodo depicted his struggles and efforts to put an end to the ring of evil. He was, in turn, influenced ad lured by the immense power of the ring that changed him forever. It changed his life from happiness to sorrow because he was forced to leave the Shire and take a perilous journey to the Mountain of Doom. As he started his journey, he encountered hardships. Sometimes, he almost lost hope and it was only the despair that prevailed with him throughout the journey. However, the problems eventually made him explore his valour to become a true legend. He started as a simple hobbit but became a courageous legend who brought stability to the earth. Also, his sense of apt personality was altered and he found it hard to integrate back into the Shire life after the mission. By experiencing the powers of the ring, Frodo was able to have a closer look into the functioning of the earth and the conflict between the truth and deception, light and darkness, joy and misery etc. The impact was so huge that he himself was about to be engulfed by the power of the ring while he was going to destroy it at the Mountain of Doom.

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Works Cited

Bassham, Gregory, and Eric Bronson. The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy: One Book to Rule Them All. , 2003: 12 Print.

Bena, Iosif, and Nicholas P. Warner. “One ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them?.” Advances in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics 9.5 (2005): 667-701.

Brisbois, Michael J. “Tolkien’s Imaginary Nature: An Analysis of the Structure of Middle-earth.” Tolkien Studies 2.1 (2005): 197-216.

Chance, Jane. Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power. University Press of Kentucky, 2010.

Curry, Patrick. Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien: Myth and Modernity. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004: 5-9

Gazzolo, Anne Marie. Moments of Grace and Spiritual Warfare in the Lord of the Rings. WestBow Press, 2012: xvii.

Mathijs, Ernest. The Lord of the Rings: Popular Culture in Global Context. Wallflower Press. (2006). p. 25 – 29

Mohammadi, Farid. “Mythic Frodo and his Predestinate Call to Adventure.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature 2.5 (2013): 117-126.

Robertson, Robin. “Seven Paths of the hero in Lord of the rings: the path of opposites.” Psychological Perspectives 50.2 (2007): 276-290.

Shippey, T. A. The Roots of Tolkien’s Middle Earth (review) Tolkien Studies – Volume 4, 2007, pp. 307–311

Tolkien, J. “‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’.” Nytimes.Com, 2017,

Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. p. 2-11

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. (1987).  p. 661-667

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