Essay, Research Paper: Fellowship Of The Ring

World Literature

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The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is the first book in the
fantasy-based trilogy of the Lord of the Rings. The book begins with Bilbo
Baggins celebrating his one hundred and eleventh birthday. After his party, he
then decides to leave everything behind and join a Fellowship, which has a task
of destroying the Ruling Ring, which will give Supreme Power to whoever has
possession of it. Just before he leaves, Gandalf asks Bilbo for this ring. Due
to the power in which the ring possesses while the ring is in his possession, he
does not want to give it up. The novel ends with the destruction of the
Fellowship due to the power in which the ring contains. One of the prime facts
of the Middle Earth is power. Power is not neutral, but is always evil. It gives
wicked the chance to dominate. The good is corrupting and inescapable (Levitin
575). This is shown repeatedly throughout the novel, from when Bilbo gives up
the ring, to when Boromir tries to take the ring, and finally, to seeing the
control that the ring has over Frodo. One incident in the book, which
corresponds with how power is evil, would be when Bilbo had to give up the Ring.
The ring is very powerful. The power is so enticing that Bilbo is very weary to
give up that ring. When Gandalf asks Bilbo if he wishes to give up the ring,
Bilbo seems unsure saying yes and no. When it came to having to give it up he
didn't like parting with it at all and didn't see why he should have to (Tolkien
55). Due to the power in which Bilbo feels that the ring had given him, he
doesn't want to part with it. By no means does Bilbo want to use the power in an
evil manner to dominate all. It is just the thought of power itself that causes
this greed to come over him. Although Bilbo in general is a good character, the
power of ring corrupts his ways, showing his thirst for power, which he
deserves. Another incident, which portrays this corruption of goodness to evil,
is when Boromir approaches Frodo and tries to take the ring from him. Boromir
has authority, which is being heir to the throne of Gondor, but not the supreme
power that he desires. This is yearning for both power and authority is what
gives him a turn for the bad. When Boromir and Frodo are talking about
possession of the ring, Boromir screams in an outrage saying that if any mortal
is going to have the ring it going to be the men of Numenor, and not Helflings.
He says how the ring should be his (Tolkien 470). This shows that the power of
the ring has made Boromir thirsty for power. Even though he is a good man, this
incident leads to his departure from the Fellowship. The evil power of the ring
is seen once again in this book when Boromir is chasing Frodo. Frodo hears the
ring chanting to him to use its power. At this point he does It was the only
thing left he could do. He pulled out the ring upon its chain and slipped on his
finger with Boromir leaping at him (Tolkien 470). Due to the fact that Frodo
listens to the evil chanting ring, he decides to pull it out and use it's power
for himself. After realizing the power it gives him, he becomes greedy and uses
it again and again throughout the course of the novel. This realization causes
him to leave the Fellowship and keep the ring for himself. The idea of power
only being evil, instead of neutral, is seen throughout The Fellowship of the
Ring time and time again. No matter whether the characters, in general, are good
or evil, the thought of having the supreme power makes them greedy. It doesn't
matter whether you want the power to do good or bad, the thirst for power always
makes you appear evil through the eyes of others.

Levitin, Michael. "J.R.R. Tolkien" Contemporary Literary Criticism.
Vol. 12. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980. Tolkien, J.R.R. The Fellowship of
the Ring. New York: Ballantine Books, 1982.

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