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MonkeyNotes-The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
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OVERALL ANALYSES

Character Analysis

Frodo Baggins

Bilbo has adopted the eldest of Bilbo Baggins’ young cousins, Frodo in order to carry on his legacy. Frodo and Bilbo share the same birthday. This coincidence is as good an explanation as any for the favor bestowed upon Frodo. It also suggests the element of Fate that is so important in the novel.

Though Frodo is loving, generous and kind, he has his faults. Initially, he is fearful and timid. Later, when the Ring strengthens him, he is also nearly seduced by it. Still, he has a strong sense of justice. He is not only kind and generous but also loyal. He celebrates Bilbo’s birthday even though everyone is sure that the old Hobbit is dead. And he sells Bag End to his enemy for a pittance, showing that he is neither malicious nor greedy.

Frodo’s greatest strengths are his generosity of spirit and his power of forgiveness. He saves Gollum from being killed not only by Sam but also by Faramir’s men. He is ready to give Gollum more than one chance at repentance. He believes that deep within himself Gollum is a good Hobbit and that he will eventually come around to goodness. Frodo also forgives Saruman, who was once a great wizard but fell into evil ways. He lets Saruman go free even though he has destroyed the Shire. This strength is also a weakness Frodo trusts too much and faces betrayal too often.

Frodo inspires great loyalty and comradeship. Frodo tames even Gollum, who has given himself over to evil, for a while. And Saruman, the enemy, acknowledges Frodo’s strengths as a leader.

Frodo is a very wise and just Hobbit. He is also very brave. In spite of being wounded at Weathertop, he strikes at the enemy and injures him. Despite countless hurdles, he manages to fulfill his promise and completes the Quest. He puts himself and his loved ones in immense danger so that the Shire and all of middle-earth may rest in peace. Frodo becomes a poster- child for sacrificial acts of good, ultimately inspiring many others to act in accordance with the greater good.

The quest, however, does not leave him un-scarred. He has many wounds, some physical, and some spiritual. Frodo knows when it is time to leave Middle-earth for the blessed realm and, like Bilbo, he finds a successor, someone to whom he can leave his legacy. Frodo grows as a Hobbit, maturing and learning many lessons of strength and bravery. He struggles against his own evil nature, but he wins. The disposal of the Ring has given Frodo an opportunity to prove himself. The success with which he does so is what makes him a remarkable character.


Sam Gamgee

Sam is so full of love and admiration for Frodo that he insists on going along in the dangerous quest to return the Ring. At first, he is more excited about seeing elves and other mystical creatures. Later, though, he is caught up in the heroics of the quest. He does valiant acts that seem inconsistent with his simple existence.

Sam possesses a unique sense of foresight and intuition. He does not trust Gollum right from the start and he seems imperceptible to the effects of the Ring. Sam saves Frodo’s life several times. He shows presence of mind, such as when he dresses Frodo and himself in Orc-clothes to get away from the tower. He goes without sleep for days on end so that Frodo can rest. He even gives Frodo most of the food and drink during the journey to Mount Doom, knowing his truest duty is to get Frodo to Mount Orodruin.

Sam has a clearly defined sense of right and wrong. He manages to get the Ring, but he is so strong willed that it doesn’t affect him the way it affects Frodo. He doesn’t lust after it and when he does get a chance to become famous and destroy the Ring, he abandons it in favor of saving Frodo from the Orcs. He keeps a low profile and never wanders from his path. When Frodo collapses before reaching Mount Doom, it is Sam who coaxes him on. When that fails, he carries Frodo on his back up the steep slopes of Orodruin.

Sam is the hope for the future. Just as Bilbo passed his legacy on to Frodo, Frodo passes his legacy on to Sam.

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