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why was Faramir not tempted by the Ring?
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TheNazgul
Rivendell


Jul 12 2010, 5:11am

Post #1 of 98 (1163 views)
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why was Faramir not tempted by the Ring? Can't Post

Both his father and brother were temted by the ring (sad part is Denethor never saw it) but yet he such as Aragorn was not in the least bit tempted by the ring we know of aragorns adamant will so that explains him but what of faramir thoughts?

Et Earello Endorenna utulien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn` Ambar-metta!
(For those who dont read Elvish)
Out of the great sea to Middle-Earth I am come. In this place I will abide,and my heirs, unto the ending of the world
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elostirion74
Rohan

Jul 12 2010, 6:52am

Post #2 of 98 (508 views)
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Faramir was more aware of the dangers of absolute power [In reply to] Can't Post

The Ring works mainly through the weaknesses of the characters and their desire to do what seems good or their desire to have the power to carry out things they otherwise wouldn't be able to do. Usually the characters justify their desire for the Ring as something to be used for a just and neccessary cause, for instance Boromir, who's thinking of it as a way to protect Minas Tirith and a useful weapon to defeat a great enemy.

I think Faramir rejected the Ring partly because he didn't lust for power and glory and partly because he was aware of the dangers of having such a power as the Ring could give. In the book he says something to the effect that he understands that "there are some dangers from which a man must flee". I think Gandalf is aware of the same problem when he says that he will not take the Ring, knowing how tempting it could be to wield it.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jul 12 2010, 9:07am

Post #3 of 98 (508 views)
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What makes you so sure [In reply to] Can't Post

he wasn't?

Tolkien writes a very subtle and ambiguous scene that, if you read it carefully, leaves you wondering.

Here's Faramir's first reaction to hearing that Frodo has the Ring:
So it seems,’ said Faramir, slowly and very softly, with a strange smile. ‘So that is the answer to all the riddles! The One Ring that was thought to have perished from the world. And Boromir tried to take it by force? And you escaped? And ran all the way – to me! And here in the wild I have you: two halflings, and a host of men at my call, and the Ring of Rings. A pretty stroke of fortune! A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality! Ha!’ He stood up, very tall and stern, his grey eyes glinting."
I'd say he's tempted all right. He's tempted as Galadriel is, or (as elostirion says) as Gandalf is in Bag End. He gets a sudden desire of his own, to "show his quality", to make up for his brother's failure - that would be the way the Ring would tempt him, I'd say.

And at first the hobbits sense the danger too:
"Frodo and Sam sprang from their stools and set themselves side by side with their backs to the wall, fumbling for their sword-hilts.
And Faramir's strange behaviour also attracts the attention of his men:
There was a silence. All the men in the cave stopped talking and looked towards them in wonder.
So I'd say that, unlike Aragorn who is never faced with the temptation of the Ring at all, Faramir feels the temptation strongly. Unlike his brother and father, though, he is not tempted by personal ambition, which is the weakness most easily exploited by the promise of power that the Ring seems to offer. He's tempted by the desire to "show his quality" - but he soon understands that his "quality" lies not in finishing his brother's job, or in pleasing his father, but in staying true to his own principles:
"We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor. We boast seldom, and then perform, or die in the attempt. Not if I found it on the highway would I take it I said. Even if I were such a man as to desire this thing, and even though I knew not clearly what this thing was when I spoke, still I should take those words as a vow, and be held by them."
His sense of honour is what what saves him, I think.

His temptation may be fleeting, but it's real enough, I'd say. As real as Galadriel's and Gandalf's - and Sam's.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Curious
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 12:14pm

Post #4 of 98 (456 views)
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I disagree. [In reply to] Can't Post

And I disagree for the same reason you claim that Aragorn was never tempted by the Ring. We can imagine both Aragorn and Faramir being tempted -- they both have the power and opportunity to take it, and we don't really get inside their heads at the crucial moment. Both of them tell the hobbits that if they wanted the Ring they could take it. But they both reject that option with no signs of true temptation.

Actually, I'm not at all convinced that Galadriel is truly tempted to take the Ring, either. Nor Gandalf. I think they are both showing Frodo why they cannot take the Ring, but I never get the sense that they are truly tempted to do so.

Again, since we only see what the hobbits see, and hear what they hear, and don't get inside the heads of Gandalf, Aragorn, Galadriel, or Faramir at the crucial moments, it is possible to imagine all four of these people being internally tempted. But I don't buy it. To me, they never seem seriously tempted. Which is a good thing, because it would have been ridiculously easy for any of them to take the Ring.


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 12:30pm

Post #5 of 98 (423 views)
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Why wasn't anyone other than Boromir and Gollum tempted by the Ring? [In reply to] Can't Post

I would broaden your question considerably. Of the people who came in close proximity to Frodo and knew of the Ring, only Boromir and Gollum seem to me to be truly tempted to take it.

Saruman and Denethor don't come in direct contact with the Ring, so I would say they are tempted by something else, by the lure of power in general or by the influence of Sauron in the palantirs or both. But the Ring doesn't really enter into it, except as a symbol of power. Judging by their behavior, I'm quite sure they would be tempted by the Ring if it came into their power -- but it didn't.

And look at all the people who were not, I judge, seriously tempted to claim the Ring. Bilbo (yes, he had a hard time releasing it, but he did release it), Frodo (except at the last possible moment under the greatest possible strain -- and in a letter Tolkien says it wasn't temptation, it was more like possession), Gandalf, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Bombadil, Aragorn, Glorfindel, Elrond, Legolas, Gimli, Galadriel (I don't think she was seriously tempted), Celeborn, all the other elves in Lothlorien, and, yes, Faramir.

For all the talk about the temptations of the Ring, it doesn't really do a very good job of tempting anyone but Gollum and Boromir. Now maybe that's just because Frodo was lucky enough to associate with paragons of virtue, but I think it more likely that the tempting power of the Ring is overblown. Boromir, like Saruman and Denethor, was tempted by Power as much as by the Ring. Gollum was a creepy guy before he found the Ring. For such people, who are already half way down the slippery slope to evil, the Ring proves irresistible. But such people are not as common as Sauron might believe.

Indeed, this may have been Sauron's biggest mistake. He, too, was tempted by Power, and he judged others by his own standards. So he assumed that everyone who came in contact with the Ring would want to claim it. But that wasn't true at all.

Now being tempted to claim the Ring is different from finding the strength to destroy it. Isildur couldn't find that strength, but in Unfinished Tales Tolkien says that Isildur recognized that he had made a mistake. Frodo couldn't find that strength, but Tolkien implies that no one really could. Sauron rightly trusted that it would be difficult, and perhaps impossible, to willingly destroy the Ring, and only an extraordinary sequence of events made it possible.

But the temptation to claim the Ring seems to me totally overblown.

Also, those who bear the Ring may be tempted to use it. That's why the hobbits were chosen to bear it, because they showed the greatest resistance to that temptation. But that's different from the temptation to steal it and claim it.

And frankly, this argument that the hobbits had to bear the Ring because others would be too sorely tempted to use it always struck me as a bit weak. It's convenient for the plot, but I'm not convinced that Gandalf or Aragorn or Faramir, if they were chosen to go to Mount Doom, would really find the Ring irresistible any more than Frodo did. I think rather, that the Council of Elrond trusts the Higher Powers to choose the Ringbearer, and that the hobbits are the best instruments of Divine Will.


(This post was edited by Curious on Jul 12 2010, 12:37pm)


CuriousG
Valinor


Jul 12 2010, 12:37pm

Post #6 of 98 (453 views)
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Disagreeing with disagreement :) [In reply to] Can't Post

There's compelling evidence that Galadriel was tempted by the Ring. She tells Frodo that in her hidden thoughts (which he can perceive and many who are accounted Wise cannot) that she has long pondered what she would do if she had it. So she's been tempted by it for centuries in a speculative way, and also tempted in the way Gandalf and Sam are--to do good with it.

Then it's there in front of her, and as you say, she could easily take it from Frodo. She said so herself. Part of the temptation is exactly what you say: it would be ridiculously easy to seize the Ring. And really, isn't that what temptation is all about--to do what's easy in a situation, not what's impossible or difficult? Get caught doing something wrong in real life, and you're tempted to lie your way out rather than admit guilt, because lying is easier and offers the potential to escape bad consequences, even if it's wrong. Or get really angry with someone who's weaker than you, and you're tempted to hit them or say something hurtful. You aren't so easily "tempted" to act out your anger against someone who's going to beat you to a pulp if you punch them first.

Galadriel then plays out what would happen if she took the Ring and what she would become. Was this for the hobbits' sake? No, because quite significantly, she then says "I have passed the test." If she wasn't tempted, what test is there to pass?

I think the whole point about the Ring's temptation is that it DOES tempt people who COULD seize it. They have an inner struggle, which we witness from the outside. We don't need to be in their heads. We were never inside Boromir's head when he was tempted and had to judge him by his words and actions as outside observers. Unlike Boromir, the others reject it after their inner struggle but only with great effort, and usually because of the virtue in their character. We also see this virtue in them from the outside, not from being in their heads, i.e., we never hear first-person accounts of Gandalf or Galadriel waking up in the morning and thinking over coffee, "Hmm, what good things can I do today?"

As for for Faramir, I thought his temptation scene bore a strong resemblance to Galadriel's, and not by coincidence. He was of lesser stature so he didn't appear as the highly powerful dark queen that she saw herself becoming, but he was tempted, and as noted, he scared the hobbits and disturbed his own men, who normally adored him. I think that was a deliberate ploy by JRR to show the difference between him and Boromir: the latter was indisputably long on courage in battle and physical strength, but short on personal, internal strength, which Faramir possessed.

Another reason to think that Faramir was genuinely tempted is that Men are depicted as easily corruptible in LoTR, including the Dunedain. The Nine corrupted every single one of their nine Men wearers. Not one dwarf or elf was corrupted by their rings.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 12 2010, 1:30pm

Post #7 of 98 (419 views)
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Aragorn, Faramir, Gandalf, Galadriel and Sam are all tempted by the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

They just resist the temptation much more effectively than Gollum and Boromir (and Denethor, from a distance) do.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 1:49pm

Post #8 of 98 (444 views)
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One's reaction to the Temptation of the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

Is a measure of ones will. It is like quitting smoking. Some people are good at resisting the desire and others are not.

Kangi Ska

Make the Hobbit Happen!

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FarFromHome
Valinor


Jul 12 2010, 2:02pm

Post #9 of 98 (398 views)
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I guess you mean [In reply to] Can't Post

"why didn't anyone other than Boromir and Gollum give in to the temptation of the Ring?"

The answer is, I guess, that the others had the strength of will to resist. But that doen't mean they weren't tempted. Some characters aren't tempted at all - possessing the Ring never seems to cross their minds. Aragorn, Elrond, Merry, Pippin, Legolas and Gimli fall into this category. But Gandalf, Galadriel, Frodo, Sam, Gollum, Boromir and Faramir do feel the temptation of the Ring - as, in my view, do Saruman and Denethor just by thinking about it (their thoughts enhanced, no doubt, by what they see in their palantirs). Of the ones who are tempted, four succumb - Gollum, Boromir, Saruman and Denethor, and four resist - Gandalf, Galadriel, Sam and Faramir. That leaves Frodo, who resists to the bitter end, and succumbs at the final, excruciating moment. Resistance takes not just strength of will, but also an understanding of one's own limitations - a natural humility that is signally lacking in the characters who fail.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jul 12 2010, 2:09pm

Post #10 of 98 (413 views)
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I don't understand why you think that Aragorn was not tempted by the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

His temptation was at least as clearly described as Faramir's, or Gandalf's, or Galadriel's.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


PhantomS
Rohan


Jul 12 2010, 2:25pm

Post #11 of 98 (400 views)
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Denethor and temptation [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf warns Denethor that Boromir wouldn't come back as the filial son he was when he left, and indirectly casts aside Denethor's plan to bury it deep under the earth in some vault; Boromir was motivated by pride, but Denethor was motivated by fear- he'd sooner try to hide the ring than try to use it. To his credit though, he (unlike Boromir) does not presume to elevate the Stewardship to higher than it is ("how many years before a steward becomes a king?") and defends his station to the end- though he never saw the Ring itself.

Faramir is tempted quite sorely by the Ring- but he has developed a clarity that his father and brother lack, to see the big picture for what it is and that the Ring must be delivered, not used. He speaks to Frodo of history, his people, his learning of things other people have nearly forgotten, his affinity for Gandalf and the nature of the Rangers of Ithillien- as a captain serving the lord, as a cog in the wheel. Boromir is singleminded and very driven, putting Gondor as a super bulwark and the last refuge of man with his father on top. Thus he has no clarity , no view of the situation at large. Even with the Fellowship his intent was to go home, as if the Council of Elrond was some diversion of his real purpose. Thus the ring fed on Boromir's desire to be the One True Hero , since its master is also the One True Master of the ring. Faramir is almost always in the company of his men and faces the exact same dangers.

It's interesting that Faramir sees his brother's body looking at total peace; finally free of temptation and also the burden of being Denethor's son. Faramir himself, even when pained and disturbed has that air of Numenor Pippin sees, one that Boromir seemingly didn't inspire.

So Faramir was tempted by the Ring, but can gather his wits to say no and leave it to Frodo, the only one to be able to carry the ring. Aragorn and Gandalf refuse outright to do anything with it, but that is due to incredibly important personal destinies that don't require the Ring to fulfill.


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 3:13pm

Post #12 of 98 (397 views)
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So much better [In reply to] Can't Post

that I question whether they were really tempted at all. It seems to me that the Ring was only effective on people who were already corrupt, and those people were not so much tempted as acting true to their corrupt nature. If Saruman or Denethor had been given the opportunity to claim the Ring and had done so, would that have been proof of the Ring's powers of temptation, or of Saruman and Denethor's corruption?

The Ring never tempts anyone to act in opposition to their own nature or secret desires. At most it possesses Frodo so that in extreme circumstances he has no will at all, and acts according to the Ring's will. But that's not how I define temptation.


Curious
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 3:28pm

Post #13 of 98 (406 views)
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I would say [In reply to] Can't Post

that there is evidence Galadriel struggled with her own internal temptations long before she came in contact with the Ring, and overcame them long before that moment. Therefore she is not tempted by the Ring; rather, she was formerly tempted by her own pride and desire to maintain her refuge in Middle-earth. But before she ever came into contact with the Ring, she had decided that she was not able to preserve Lothlorien by claiming the Ring, and she demonstrates that fact to Frodo. There is a test, but it isn't a tribute to the power of the Ring; the test was created by her own pride.

Faramir's scene does bear a resemblance to Galadriel's. But like Galadriel, Faramir had dealt with his temptations long before he had an opportunity to take the Ring. And therefore the test came long before that moment.

The Ring acts upon people according to their natures. If people are corrupt, they find the Ring tempting, but no more tempting than any other means to power. If people are not corrupt, the Ring does not change their natures, unless they actually bear the Ring, and even then it takes extreme circumstances to beat down their own will in the matter so that the Ring can take control.

The Nine were tempted according to their natures. They were corrupt long before they were given rings. The dwarves were tempted according to their natures, which were different from the Nine -- the Seven dwarves became greedier than ever, digging too deep in Moria and creating giant hoards that attracted dragons elsewhere. They were not tempted to become immortal because that was not what they desired.

The elves were also tempted according to their natures, even though the Three were less evil than the Seven and the Nine. Elrond and Galadriel were tempted to use their rings to create little paradises, even though they did not truly know the fate of the One. When the One Ring was found, all that they had created in Rivendell and Lothlorien was endangered, and in the end the best they could do was lose everything they had built with their rings.

Only Cirdan and Gandalf made the right use of one of the Great Rings -- Cirdan by giving it to Gandalf, and Gandalf by using it to kindle resistance to Sauron, rather than creating a refuge from Sauron and his ilk. But again, that was more a credit to Cirdan and Gandalf than a comment on the nature of the ring that they held, which was no more or less tempting than the other two Elven Rings.


(This post was edited by Curious on Jul 12 2010, 3:33pm)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jul 12 2010, 3:36pm

Post #14 of 98 (394 views)
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You mean at the Prancing Pony? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always seen that as Aragorn pretending that he wants the Ring, just to show the hobbits what they might be up against if they trust the wrong person. The difference between this scene and the Faramir one is subtle, but perhaps the details are telling. Here's Aragorn's "Ring-moment":
He stood up, and seemed suddenly to grow taller. In his eyes gleamed a light, keen and commanding. Throwing back his cloak, he laid his hand on the hilt of a sword that had hung concealed by his side. They did not dare to move.
And here's Faramir's:
"'So it seems,' said Faramir, slowly and very softly, with a strange smile."
Aragorn's "keen and commanding" look is in contrast to Faramir's slow soft speech and "strange smile", I find. It's true that Faramir's reaction looks very like Aragorn's: "He stood up, very tall and stern, his grey eyes glinting." Yet I sense a difference. Aragorn seems to be in command of himself throughout ("looking down at them with his face softened by a sudden smile" once the demonstration is over) while Faramir has to regain control: "Faramir sat down again in his chair and began to laugh quietly, and then suddenly became grave again."

But it's an interesting point - the very ambiguity caused by the fact that we never see these characters from the "inside", but only through the hobbits' eyes, leaves a complex question about the reality of temptation. Aragorn had every reason to feel tempted by the Ring - how much easier it would have seemed for him to win the throne and the hand of Arwen - and yet I sense that he was only acting out the temptation for the benefit of the hobbits. I feel that he's already come to terms with his own duty in regards to the Ring before he finds the hobbits. Faramir will get to that level of understanding too, but not before we see his temptation in "real time".

I hadn't noticed how similarly the two scenes are framed until I looked them up to write this post - they are even both triggered by a challenge from Sam - and yet I still sense a difference in tone. Faramir ends up in the same place as Aragorn - understanding that his duty is to help the Ringbearer, not take the Ring - but I think Aragorn is only acting what Faramir is really feeling. I wonder if Aragorn's demonstration helped Frodo and Sam face up to the challenges of Boromir and Faramir later - Frodo was able to escape from Boromir, while I suspect that Sam's challenge to Faramir to show his "quality" may have been an important deciding factor that showed Faramir where his duty really lay. Without that first "safe" experience with Aragorn perhaps things would have gone differently.

But having just looked at the two scenes side by side, I have to agree that there are great similarities. Perhaps Aragorn was really tempted. Or perhaps Faramir was just having "some jest or other" with the hobbits, as his men concluded. But I doubt it. I see the two scenes as a study in contrasts, pointed up by the superficial similarities.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Curious
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 3:42pm

Post #15 of 98 (389 views)
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No, I meant what I said, but [In reply to] Can't Post

perhaps I am being unclear about what I mean. I'm not saying that no one feels temptation except for Boromir and Gollum. I'm saying that the temptation is not the work of the Ring.

Galadriel, for example, was tempted by pride long before she was offered the Ring, and overcame that temptation before she was offered the Ring. Frodo's offer simply demonstrates that she passed her own test -- not a test created by the Ring, but a test created by her own pride.

Gollum and Boromir started on the slippery slope to corruption before they encountered the Ring. That they succumbed is not a testimony to the power of the Ring, but to their own serious character flaws. Boromir at least fights it, but is he fighting the Ring, or his own desires?

I'm also drawing a distinction between the Ring's effect on people nearby but not wearing it -- which I see as no different from the effect of any valuable treasure, and not magical at all -- versus the Ring's effect on the ringbearers. The Ring does affect those who bear it, but even then I don't think it tempts them. Rather, it assaults their independent will, until, in extreme circumstances, it possesses them and causes them to do things that are not at all consistent with their natures.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 3:52pm

Post #16 of 98 (427 views)
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The Ring Tempts: Individuals react: It is a test [In reply to] Can't Post

and Galadriel's case, a final test. The One Ring is not a passive object. It is often subtle but it is actively trying to corrupt those who might possess it.

Kangi Ska

Make the Hobbit Happen!

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Curious
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 4:03pm

Post #17 of 98 (363 views)
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It's remarkably ineffective, then. [In reply to] Can't Post

The only people who succumb to the "temptation" of the Ring are those who were already corrupt, and probably would succumb to a similar temptation from a chest of gold or a bowl of fruit. Others feel not the slightest twinge.

Heck, the palantirs are far more tempting than the Ring, capturing not just Saruman and Denethor but also Pippen. Gandalf admits he was sorely tempted to use the palantir, and gives it to Aragorn in part to resist such temptation. Aragorn is also tempted, although he proves strong enough to make it work for him. No one, it seems, is safe from the temptation of the palantir.

But the Ring? Plenty of people are quite safe, exhibiting no desire to steal it or use it whatsoever.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jul 12 2010, 4:06pm

Post #18 of 98 (365 views)
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What is temptation? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
The Ring never tempts anyone to act in opposition to their own nature or secret desires.


As I understand it, temptation urges one to act in accordance with one's secret desires, not in opposition to them. If the Ring seems to be effective only on people who are already "corrupt", that's because they have been corrupted by the pull of those secret desires, often to the point of convincing themselves that their secret, selfish desires are also their right and/or their duty.

It's begging the question to ask why the Ring is only effective on people who are already "corrupt" - corruption being just the visible result of giving in to temptation. If others are not corrupted, it's because they find ways to resist the temptation to act out their secret desires - Sam is hard-headed and humble enough to know that power is not for him; Faramir is honorable and principled enough to remember his oath and live up to his "quality" as a truth-speaker. Galadriel also learns humility when she finally comes face to face with the Ring - she had thought about it long and hard beforehand, but it's only when she sees the Ring that she knows for sure that she can renounce her pride once and for all. It's not that they don't feel temptation, it's that they resist their own desires, and act instead "in opposition" to them - for the good of others.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Curious
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 4:33pm

Post #19 of 98 (383 views)
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What is magical temptation? [In reply to] Can't Post

If temptation is a power of the Ring, then shouldn't it be more than the usual temptation anyone would feel for an item that is powerful or valuable?

The tempting power of the palantir (as affected by Sauron) is a good example. Pippin does not just exhibit the usual temptation of a curious hobbit, he acts as if he has been magically affected by his glimpse into the palantir. From what we know, the same may have been true of Saruman and Denethor before they looked into the palantirs. If Aragorn had lacked strength and the rights of a king, he might have ended up like Saruman or Denethor. Now that's against nature.

With the Ring, I only see that kind of behavior from those who bear the Ring, not those who are nearby, and even then only long exposure to the Ring actually causes Bilbo or Frodo to act unnaturally, not so much because they are tempted as because the Ring has broken down their will.


(This post was edited by Curious on Jul 12 2010, 4:34pm)


elostirion74
Rohan

Jul 12 2010, 4:40pm

Post #20 of 98 (367 views)
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Faramir's reaction [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that it's ambiguous whether Faramir is tempted or not. If he is tempted, it's quite fleeting, but it's definitely a possibility. I've often interpreted Faramir's words as words of somewhat bitter irony, as if he's considering what Denethor would have said and is partly angered by the thought, partly laughing bitterly at it and the irony of fate. The glint in his eyes I've often thought of as being either anger or defiance when thinking of Denethor's words. This is purely guesswork on my part, of course, but it makes sense to me that Faramir in this situation would experience a lot of mixed emotions at this point due to both knowing what Denethor feels and at the same time knowing the cause of Boromir's death and how fate just as well could have made him the messenger to Rivendell instead of his brother.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 4:50pm

Post #21 of 98 (362 views)
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A remarkable set of test subjects: [In reply to] Can't Post

You must admit that the group of people we see tested is an exceptional group. Also the effect of the ring is insidious and grows with time of contact.

Kangi Ska

Make the Hobbit Happen!

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(This post was edited by Kangi Ska on Jul 12 2010, 4:51pm)


squire
Valinor


Jul 12 2010, 4:56pm

Post #22 of 98 (382 views)
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The Nine Kings were not necessarily "corrupt" in the beginning [In reply to] Can't Post

Unless by "corrupt" you mean "human" or "powerful" in the sense that Kings are powerful. But that is not the sense of Gandalf's explanation to Frodo of how the Nine rings destroyed their owners:
‘A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings ... sooner or later - later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last - sooner or later the dark power will devour him.’ ‘Nine he gave to Mortal Men, proud and great, and so ensnared them. (LotR, I.2)
"Well-meaning" and "good purpose" and "ensnared", to me, means at least some of the Nine were not originally evil men by the story's standards, and were not originally "corrupted" even after accepting a Ring whose entire point is Power. Interestingly, in the apocryphal "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age", the same phrase "sooner or later" re-emphasizes that a Ring of Power, once in the "keeping" of a mortal, will corrupt the owner to evil whether or not the owner was corrupt in the first place.
'And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore...' (Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power")
These texts, I think, might help us out of the circular argument being waged in this discussion, whereby the Ring corrupts only those who are already corrupt, and tempts only those who are open to temptation. Tolkien admits here that those most interested in holding a Great Ring are those "that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind." (from "Rings of Power") And that would seem to explain why only the Wise and Great among the Istari and Eldar and Dunedain are primarily tempted by the Ring in the book, as opposed to (say) Gimli or Legolas. But he also warns about just "keeping" a Great Ring, in the manner that Bilbo or Gollum did, and that Frodo will do in the course of the story. Even a humble hobbit - "sooner or later" - will fall under the Ring's sway.

I think the biggest flaw in the construction of the Ring's operation is that we never see Elrond's reaction to the Ring coming within his grasp. In all the other moments of temptation of the Wise (Gandalf, Strider, Galadriel, Faramir, Denethor), the language betrays the thought of the speaker that he or she has contemplated using the One Ring. Only Elrond, after explaining in general terms that mere desire for the Ring (as opposed to possession as Gandalf spoke of) corrupts anyone who has the power to use it, even the Wise, and after reminding us that Sauron was not evil in the beginning, flat out rejects it: 'I fear to take the Ring to hide it. I will not take the Ring to wield it.’ (LotR, II.2)



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Curious
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 4:59pm

Post #23 of 98 (363 views)
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Are the hobbits that exceptional? [In reply to] Can't Post

And isn't the Ring supposed to be even more tempting to exceptional people?

The palantir as affected by Sauron, now there's an item that tempts the greatest and the least alike -- Gandalf, Saruman, Aragorn, Denethor, Pippin -- and does so instantly and effectively. The Ring, as far as I can tell, only affects the ringbearers, and even then I wouldn't really call it magical temptation -- more like magical possession after a long struggle.

The Ring can be tempting, don't get me wrong -- but only to the extent that any valuable and powerful object would be tempting to a corrupt soul.


elostirion74
Rohan

Jul 12 2010, 5:04pm

Post #24 of 98 (351 views)
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magical temptation [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you're stretching this point about temptation a bit, Curious, but it makes for an interesting discussion all the same. Power to achieve the things which seem just and desirable is a very strong temptation in itself, with timeless relevance, which makes the Ring an extremely interesting literary object in my opinion. The fact that the Ring can directly affect the mind of those who wear it is more than what an ordinary powerful item would be able to as I see it. One also needs to bear in mind that The Ring was made by someone who above all wanted to dominate others and who sees desire for power as the ultimate measure of any character or creature. The nature of its power and its temptation fits this pattern.

As I've understood the Palantirs, the craft that made them is more subtle than Sauron's. I'm not so sure, though, that I agree with your interpretation that Pippin exhibits more than his usual curiosity. Pippin has shown that he can be very curious before, so curious that he gets restless and is unable to sleep (consider for instance the lure of the "well" in Moria into which he drops a stone). It's the first glimpse of the depths of the palantir which makes it so mysterious and tantalizing to him, stirring his curiosity and his desire to know more than what can be seen in just a brief glimpse. I believe Denethor was tempted to look into the palantir because he wanted to get knowledge that would help him preparing precautions for wartime, being a step ahead of his enemies etc.


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Jul 12 2010, 5:07pm

Post #25 of 98 (359 views)
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The One Ring's functions are more complex. [In reply to] Can't Post

Remember, the ring is imbued with a portion of Sauron's life force or power. The ring has its own ulterior motives and acts upon the individual according them as well as that person's level of knowledge & wisdom. It might not have tested Faramir as strongly because it thought it had a better chance of getting back to Sauron by staying with Frodo.

Kangi Ska

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