Which of the Main Characters in the Two Towers Changes the Most Throughout the Course of the Story? Does Frodo Change by the End in Any Way?
“The Two Towers” is the second part of the trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Frodo Baggins, the protagonist, with the help of the Fellowship of the Ring, carries out the mission of destroying the Ring – an epitome of dark powers which took control over the Middle-earth. Over the course of the story, many characters change to a greater or lesser degree. However, among all the characters, Sam changes the most – from subservient and irresolute at the beginning to decisive and able to take the initiative in the end; in contrast, Frodo’s leadership skills get weaker under the increasing influence of the Ring – he is unable to complete his mission and is captured by orcs.
Firstly, the constitution of Sam’s mind and character undergoes significant transformation toward stronger personality. Sam and Frodo are hobbits – neither children nor Dwarves, but Halflings (Sparknotes, 2010). Hobbit race is different from the other races in that they do not possess any supernatural skills; unlike, for example, Legolas, who can see at the very far distances or Gimli, who wields his axe masterfully. Sam is a servant of Frodo, helping him to get to Mordor. During their journey, he constantly addresses his master “Mr. Frodo, sir” and this makes us wonder whether Sam suffers from a sense of inferiority (Sparknotes, 2010). Besides, other members of the Fellowship doesn’t address in such a manner even powerful wizards, like Gandalf. Also, Sam’s servile behavior suggests that he is unable to think independently. However, he feels deep appreciation for Frodo. The episode when Frodo is asleep and Sam, watching the lines of Frodo’s aging face says: “I love him. He’s like that […] But I love him, whether or no.” (Tolkien, 2009, p.171) is a clear confirmation of his kind feelings toward Frodo. As the hobbits approach the climax of their mission – the dwelling place of the Dark Lord Sauron – Mordor, Sam’s concern about Frodo increases. The lure of the Ring being very strong, Frodo needs Sam’s help badly, especially in Shelob’s lair. Here we bear witness of the complete change in Samwise Gamgee. After Shelob paralysed Frodo, Sam, suddenly, realizes that from now on the outcome of the mission is in his own hands. He accepts the challenge, and takes on the responsibility for the Ring. Courage, resoluteness, and spiritual strength develop in Sam as a result of his transformation.
Next, Frodo, though noble and positive character, fails to accomplish the mission of returning the Ring to Mordor due to increasingly bad influence of the Ring and excessive trust to Gollum. Without a doubt, honesty, altruism and self-sacrifice are qualities inherent in Frodo Baggins. He acts as a member of the Fellowship rather than preferred Ring-bearer, never making great display of his important role. Another commendable trait is Frodo’s constant inner battle of resisting the temptation to use the Ring’s power. Faramir acknowledges it: “’If you took this thing on yourself, unwilling, at others’ asking, then you have pity and honour from me. And I marvel at you: to keep it hid and not to use it. You are a new people and a new world to me.” (Tolkien, 2009, p.192). Yet, “Frodo is not so much a born hero as one who has had heroism thrust upon him” (Sparknotes, 2010). He begins the mission of destroying the Ring almost spontaneously, after his aged uncle Bilbo Baggins gives it to him, and the Fellowship begins to help him in fulfilling the task. Frodo resists to Ring’s power as much as he can but it comes at a price: he becomes exhausted on drawing closer to Mordor and, especially, at Mount Doom, where the finish is so close. Ultimately, Gollum did much to Frodo’s downfall. By flattery and pretence the creature gained Frodo’s trust, though Sam was always skeptical about it. Frodo over-relied on Gollum, and this appears to be his mistake because in the end Gollum betrays him and leads the protagonist to failure.
To summarise, the biggest change of character occurs in Sam: from submissive and indeterminate to brave and resolute; while Frodo changes not in a good way: the evil power of the Ring drains his vitality, and to make it worse, his excessive trust leads to Gollum’s betrayal. Though, at first Sam appears to be incapable of quick-thinking and independent judgment, his assistance to Frodo gradually helps him develop strength of character and, finally, to accept the challenge of completing the mission. Frodo possesses good traits of character and he wants to complete the task of destroying the Ring, but it influences him too much – he fails, giving, thus, the initiative to Sam.
Tolkien, J. R. R. (2009). The Two Towers: The Lord of the Rings, Part Two. New York: HarperCollins 100 pp.
SparkNotes Editors. (2010). SparkNote on The Two Towers. Retrieved March 30, 2014, from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/twotowers/
The Two Towers in a nutshell. Retrieved March 29, 2014, from http://www.shmoop.com/two-towers/
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