Gollum - “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Psychology of Great Characters: A Comprehensive Analysis of Literary Icons - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Gollum - “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien

Background and Motivations

Examining the complex past and motivations of Sméagol, the original Gollum, tells an engrossing story of obsession, corruption, and redemption. Before coming upon the One Ring, a powerful relic created by the Dark Lord Sauron, Sméagol was a contented hobbit from Stoor who lived peacefully by the banks of the Gladden River. This discovery gave his life a dark new meaning.

Sméagol's body and intellect were twisted by the corrupting power of the Ring, turning him into the miserable being known as Gollum. Not only did Gollum change physically, but his soul was also affected by the Ring's evil force, turning his once-kind disposition into an unquenchable desire for his "precious."

Gollum's appearance was altered by the Ring's grasp, which went beyond his mental state. His formerly Hobbit-like features transformed into a hideous face with bulging eyes, pale and sickly skin, and twisted, unnatural movements. This change in his body was a reflection of the corruption that had eaten away at his soul.

Regaining possession of his "precious," the One Ring, was Gollum's sole obsession. He was so obsessed by this passion that it took precedence over everything else, including his own health and the lives of others. To accomplish his objective, he was prepared to lie, mislead, and even use violence.

Gollum harbored elements of Sméagol's previous self, despite his perverted nature. There were moments when he showed glimmers of his former kindness and generosity, especially while he was with Frodo Baggins, the Ring-bearer. This duality gave Gollum's persona greater depth and elevated him above the status of simple antagonist.

Gollum's objectives sprang from a deep-seated dread of losing the Ring, rather than only being motivated by malice. He could not bear to give up the Ring since it had grown to represent an extension of himself and a source of strength and identity. This anxiety, together with the Ring's corrupting power, drove him to pursue his "precious" with unwavering determination.

Gollum's motivations changed along the course of the narrative. At first, his obsession drove his desire to recover the Ring, which was entirely selfish. But as their relationship grew, Gollum felt a growing feeling of affection and loyalty to the Ring-bearer.

Gollum's behavior demonstrated this change in motive. While guiding Frodo over the perilous Emyn Muil marshes, he gave important information about the area. But Gollum's allegiance was continually put to the test by the Ring's power, which resulted in violent and treacherous occasions.

Gollum had terrible intentions in the end. His fixation with the Ring finally consumed his life and destroyed him, which was the cause of his collapse. Gollum was nevertheless a multifaceted and captivating character in spite of his shortcomings and transgressions, which is a credit to Tolkien's skillful storytelling.

Personality Traits and Development

Gollum's character attributes and growth provide witness to the One Ring's corrupting power and the internal conflict between good and evil. Sméagol was a kind and caring hobbit from Stoor until the Ring's influence turned him into a miserable being obsessed by obsession and motivated by a ceaseless search for his "precious."

Selfishness and Obsession

Gollum's hunger for the Ring was a manifestation of its corrupting power. His fixation turned into his life's purpose, taking precedence over everything else, including his own health and the lives of others. This one objective drove his behavior, causing him to lie, betray, and even use violence.

Shrewdness and treachery

Gollum was crafty and devious due to his infatuation with the Ring. He was skilled at tricking people, taking advantage of their vulnerabilities and trust to further his own agenda. His interactions with Frodo Baggins, the Ring-bearer, whom he alternately betrayed and guided, demonstrated his cunning.

Lasting Traces of Kindness

There were still traces of Sméagol's old self within Gollum, even after the Ring was corrupted. From time to time, glimpses of his former gentleness and compassion returned, especially in his encounters with Frodo. These acts of generosity revealed a kindness hidden beneath a veil of corruption.

Internal Discord

A persistent internal struggle between his enduring goodness and his overwhelming obsession with the Ring defined Gollum's psyche. His interactions with Frodo demonstrated this dilemma as he wavered between betrayal and loyalty, divided between defending the Ring-bearer and taking back his "precious."

Physical Conversion

Gollum's appearance was changed by the Ring, which had an impact that went beyond his personality. His features, which had formerly been Hobbit-like, transformed into a hideous face that revealed the corruption that had eaten at him. His pale, sickly appearance, twisted movements, and protruding eyes all reflected the gloom that had crept into his spirit.

Personality Evolution

Gollum's character changed during the narrative; it was never static. At first, his acts were motivated just by self-interest and an unwavering search for the Ring. But as their relationship grew, he felt a sense of devotion and allegiance to the Ring-bearer.

Sad Decline

Gollum's tragic demise was eventually caused by his personality qualities. He became so fixated on the Ring that he lost sight of any other options. As a result of the corrupting influence he had embraced, his acts brought about his destruction.

A fascinating and intricate analysis of the corrupting effect of power and the internal conflict between good and evil may be found in Gollum's mentality. His transition from a kind hobbit to a miserable being driven mad by obsession serves as a sobering reminder of the perils of unbridled ambition and the sneaky nature of power.

Relationships and Interactions

One intricate and engrossing facet of Gollum's persona is his connections and interactions, which mirror his duality, his sad past, and his influence on the plot of "The Lord of the Rings."

Connection to Frodo Baggins

The most important and intricate relationship in the narrative is that between Gollum and Frodo Baggins. A continual combination of trust, betrayal, and attachment characterizes their relations as Gollum alternates between trying to retrieve the Ring and guiding Frodo.

Gollum first helps Frodo navigate the perilous Emyn Muil marshlands by offering insightful knowledge about the area. But Gollum's allegiance is continually put to the test by the Ring's power, which results in violent and treacherous times.

As their quest goes on, Gollum begins to feel an odd kind of bond with Frodo. In addition to being a possible ally in the fight to recover the Ring, he views Frodo as a danger to his ultimate objective. The two characters develop a complicated relationship as a result of their bond, attempting to balance the opposing forces of treachery and trust.

In the end, Gollum and Frodo's relationship is tragic. Even though Gollum and Frodo occasionally interact, Gollum's infatuation with the Ring ultimately pushes him to betray Frodo and bring about his own demise. This terrible conclusion serves as a stark reminder of the deadly nature of unbridled desire and the corrupting effect of power.

Ties with additional characters

Gollum usually exudes mistrust and terror in his encounters with other characters. He inspires mistrust and horror due to his physical attributes and his reputation as a creature devoured by the Ring.

There are a few outliers to this overall trend, though. Once the owner of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins, identifies with Gollum's past self and feels sorry for him. The faithful companion of Frodo, Samwise Gamgee, treats Gollum with caution but respect, acknowledging his potential value but avoiding his betrayal.

Gollum's relationships with other characters highlight how alone and alienated he feels. His tie to the hobbit community has been lost due to his preoccupation with the Ring, leaving him destitute and alone. His terrible demise is eventually attributed to his seclusion, which leaves him even more susceptible to the Ring's corrupting influence.

Effect on the Story

The relationships and exchanges between Gollum and the other characters are crucial to the story of "The Lord of the Rings." His presence compels Frodo to face the Ring's corrupting power and the challenging decisions he must make in order to destroy it. The quest's conclusion is also significantly impacted by Gollum's deeds, since his treachery sends Frodo to Mordor, where the Ring needs to be destroyed.

Gollum's interpersonal connections act as a potent warning about the pernicious effects of unbridled ambition and the distorting influence of power. His heartbreaking narrative serves as a reminder of how crucial it is to continue to be empathetic and compassionate toward individuals who have been overcome by darkness.

Role in the Narrative

In "The Lord of the Rings," Gollum is a crucial character who constantly threatens Frodo and the One Ring and ultimately affects how the journey turns out. His presence compels Frodo to face the Ring's corrupting power and the challenging decisions he must make in order to destroy it.

Helping Frodo navigate Emyn Muil

For Frodo and his friends, Gollum's expertise of the dangerous Emyn Muil marshlands is vital. He gives them crucial information about the threats they face while guiding them through the treacherous terrain. This help shows how valuable Gollum can be even with his perverted nature.

Examining Frodo's Will

Gollum's existence is a continual challenge to Frodo's willpower. In an effort to get the Ring back, he constantly tries to deceive or turn on Frodo. Frodo is compelled by this ongoing danger to be on guard and to continually consider Gollum's intentions.

Symbol of the Corrupting Power of the Ring

The way that Gollum acts and looks serves as a clear reminder of the Ring's corrupting power. His change from a kind-hearted hobbit to a miserable being driven mad by obsession serves as a warning about the devastating power of the Ring.

Affecting the Quest's Conclusion

The quest's conclusion is directly impacted by Gollum's activities. Due to his treachery, Frodo finds himself in Mordor, the home of Sauron, where the Ring needs to be destroyed. This unanticipated outcome highlights how dangerous and erratic Gollum's personality is.

Moral Difficulty and Tragic Decline

In the story, Gollum plays more than just a hostile role. His moral complexity stems from the fact that, despite his corruption, he still exhibits some of his previous kindness. His tragic demise serves as a stark reminder of the damaging effects of unbridled obsession and the pernicious impact of power.

Sign of Hope and Redemption

Gollum, for all his shortcomings and transgressions, is ultimately responsible for the Ring's disintegration. Despite being misguided, his acts help to complete the objective. This conveys a message of optimism among the gloom and implies a hint of salvation within Gollum.

Gollum has a variety of roles in the story, serving as both an opponent and a possible friend, a representation of corruption and a hope for redemption. His presence gives the narrative depth and complexity by making the readers and characters wrestle with issues of power, obsession, and the conflict between good and evil.

Symbolism and Representation

Gollum, a once-kind hobbit from Stoor named Sméagol, is a potent representation of the devastating nature of unbridled obsession, the corrupting impact of power, and the vestiges of goodness amidst darkness. His transition from a contented hobbit to a miserable being engulfed by the One Ring is a sobering reminder of the perils of unbridled ambition and the sneaky nature of power.

Sign of Impure

Gollum's outward appearance—his contorted movements, pale, sickly skin, and protruding eyes—reflects the corruption that has eaten away at his soul. His hideous appearance acts as a constant visual reminder of the One Ring's destructive potential and the corrupting effect it has on those who wear it.

Self-Destruction and Obsession

Gollum lovingly refers to the Ring as "my precious," and his ravenous appetite for it is a metaphor for the devastation that can result from unbridled passion. His obsession makes him oblivious to everything else, and in order to fulfill his obsession, he willfully betrays, deceives, and even uses violence.

Remainders of Virtue

Gollum still harbors traces of Sméagol's previous goodness, despite the Ring's corrupting influence. From time to time, he shows glimmers of his former kindness and compassion, especially in his dealings with Frodo Baggins, the Ring-bearer. These acts of generosity give hope for the goodness that lies behind the surface of corruption.

Ethics and the Conflict Between Right and Wrong

Gollum's ethically nuanced persona reflects the conflict he has within himself between his enduring goodness and his overwhelming obsession with the Ring. His dealings with Frodo demonstrate this dilemma, as he wavers between betrayal and loyalty, divided between defending the Ring-bearer and taking back his "precious."

Atonement and Giving

Gollum may have had some atonement, as evidenced by his terrible demise, in which he destroys the Ring. Even though they are misdirected, his deeds help to complete the mission by providing a ray of hope in the shadows.

Signifying the Contradictions in Human Nature

The dual aspect of humanity is personified by Gollum, who is both immensely compassionate and capable of terrible obsession. His journey from a kind hobbit to a miserable monster emphasizes the capacity for evil that exists in all of us, yet flashes of his previous generosity serve as a reminder of the hope and redemption's enduring power.

Additional Considerations

Apart from the main facets of Gollum's persona, there exist a few other factors that contribute to his intricacy and importance in the story of "The Lord of the Rings."

Pity and sympathy

Even with his perverted character, Gollum makes you feel sorry and sympathetic. Empathy is sparked by his tragic past, his physical metamorphosis, and the traces of goodness that remain in him. Gollum's character is given depth by this conflict between fear and sympathy, which also forces readers to consider their own moral dilemmas.

Sadistic Hero

Gollum can be viewed as a tragic hero in certain ways. Even though it is damaging, his obsession with the Ring stems from a deep-seated need to recover his identity and his previous self. This hidden longing and his ultimate destruction of the Ring point to a possible redemption even in the midst of his terrible demise.

Frodo's foil

Gollum acts as a counterbalance to Frodo, emphasizing the difficulties and temptations the Ring-bearer must overcome. Their divergent objectives and personalities provide a dynamic tension that propels the story along. Frodo is constantly reminded of the perils he confronts as he bears the Ring by Gollum's passion and depravity.

A representation of death and decay

Gollum is a symbol of decay and mortality both in his outward form and in his declining mental state. His hideous appearance and his eroding relationship with his former self stand in for the inevitable passage of time and the devastating force of change. The story's examination of concepts like loss, atonement, and the passing of time is made more complex by this symbolism.

Literary Method

The figure of Gollum is a potent literary device that gives the story depth, symbolism, and emotional impact. His presence forces readers to face the duality of human nature, the corrupting effect of authority, and the prospect of salvation in the face of adversity.

To sum up, Tolkien's great storytelling is demonstrated by the complex and captivating figure of Gollum. An enduring and unforgettable personality in fantasy literature, he adds depth and richness to the world of Middle-earth with his tragic story, his complicated motivations, and his symbolic significance.