The anti-hero??

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Alanna Elessar 13/Apr/2006 at 04:14 PM
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My language arts teacher was talking about how Frodo is not the hero of the LOTR, he’s the anti-hero.  I looked up many definitions for anti-hero and a lot of them were negative, even saying that it was a character who possessed evil characteristics but is shown in a sympathetic light- sounds like Gollum to me.  His main argument was that Frodo was not the hero because he failed- he wasn’t able to throw the ring into Mt. Doom at the end (although I wouldn’t call it failing but whatever).  I know that there are other heros in the book and that Frodo couldn’t complete his task by himself,  but to me it seems like the Ring was destroyed and Frodo was in charge of that so he didn’t fail.  I just wanted to know what you all thought about calling Frodo the anti-hero instead of a hero of LOTR. 
dorener 13/Apr/2006 at 04:29 PM
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he’s a hero! without frodo the fellowship of the ring would of never existed and the ring would of probably been taken by the nazgul or somthing and any way frodo brought the ring to mount doom and thats almost compleating his quest so hes no anti hero in my book than again in my book it says to stay far away from people who are normal so dont listen to me but your welcometoif ya like
Gwathfaroth 13/Apr/2006 at 04:31 PM
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I don’t think that the term anti-hero applies to anyone in the story. You could call all four hobbits reluctant heroes, if you like, and Boromir perhaps a fallen hero, who redeemed himself in the end, and even by his failure, made the completion of the quest possible. If he hadn’t attempted to take the Ring, Frodo probably wouldn’t have gone they way he did. So all of the nine walkers are plain, normal heroes, in my view. Gollum, as you say, comes closest to the anti-hero description, but when you really consider it, he did nothing good by design... He simply fell into the fire, taking the Ring with him.
Lynnyi 13/Apr/2006 at 06:09 PM
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I understand what your  teacher is trying to say- Frodo failed his mission, in that he eventually didn’t have the strength to throw the Ring in, and that was the whole point of his journey, and thats why he could be considered an anti-hero. However, he survived incredible hardship, and in the end the mission was completed, so I think he is a hero... even though Sam had more heroic qualities than Frodo did.

Rílthoron Alarion 13/Apr/2006 at 06:14 PM
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I would call Gollum a "tragic hero", which some may disagree with, but none of the bad things that he did were truely his fault, as he was under the influence of the One Ring.  Frodo is probably a hero, although he certainly did fail at the end of his quest.  I say that Sam, Gandalf and Aragorn are bigger heroes than Frodo in this story, although I’m sure that someone will hate me for saying that.  I say Sam is the greatest hero because he was loyal to Frodo until the end, even when Frodo failed in destroying the Ring.  Boromir redeemed himself by a valiant defense of Merry and Pippin in the end.
feralfey 13/Apr/2006 at 07:00 PM
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I would call him a hero in the books. The movies made a little bit of a mess of his character, though. He did not really want the task that he had, but he carried it out. Noone could throw the ring into Mt. Doom, so that would mean that noone was a hero if that theory held true. Far be it for me to accuse a teacher of being wrong, but even though Frodo was the main ring bearer, The Lord of the Rings tells the tale of all in the fellowship. They each did their part in saving Middle Earth, and none of them are disposable characters. So, in my eyes they are all heroes.
Gerontian 13/Apr/2006 at 09:06 PM
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Especially with Frodo, I think that it is crucial to distinquish between the heroic and the successful. Why? Many heroes in literature did not ultimately succeed; however their efforts and the quality of their efforts were always what defined them as heroic. Gilgamesh, Achilles, Arthur, the list of heroes who were ultimately unsuccessful is extensive.  The anti-hero is also notable for struggle and effort, although as your research tells you, the anti-hero’s  path is often darker and his or her motives less clear than the classical hero. Frodo struggled beyond what most individuals could possibly endure, of his own choice, with little more than his own strength. No one else could have carried the Ring as far as he, or so the story tells us. He survived against all odds and reached the Cracks of Doom. He may not have succeeded in the actual destruction of the Ring, but without his heroic effort, the Ring would not have been destroyed.

Fern Leaf 14/Apr/2006 at 01:18 AM
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I agree with Gerontian. If I’m not mistaken Tolkien stated in one of his letters that only Frodo could have successfully brought the Ring to Mount Doom. This clearly shows that nobody else could have done this feat - not even Gandalf, Aragorn, Sam, etc. And let’s not forget - at the Council held in Rivendell Elrond said:

"But if you take it freely, I will say that your choice is right; and though all the mighty elf-friends of old, Hador, and Hurin, and Turin, and Beren himself were assembled together, your seat should be among them."

I don’t think that we can contradict this quote. It shows clearly that Frodo is a great hero, if not the Hero of The Lord of the Rings.

mighty ent man 14/Apr/2006 at 04:19 AM
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Alanna - Frodo was a hero. To me there is no one hero of LOTR. But to me Frodo did not at all fail. His task was to destroy the Ring, which is impossible. He could never do this from the outset. No one could throw the Ring into the fires of Mount Doom of their own free will. So right from the start his task was doomed to fail in that regard. However he did all that was humanly possible of him, he got the Ring to a point where it could be destroyed and in the end it was. So he achieved what he could. He is a hero for what he did and how he did it and what he went throught to save Middle Earth.

Some people have picked up on Gollum here. I am never sure on him. There are times when I do not consider him a hero because he did no heroic deeds. However he did take Frodo and Sam to Mordor, a place which he was terrified of. So was this not a heroic deed? Though he was always acting in evil intentions, but do we not get evil heroes? I think we do.


Goralda Deldae 14/Apr/2006 at 04:51 AM
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Like MEM said, i think that there are hundreds of heroes in the stories. Anyone who went to battle and foght for their way of life is a hero. Frodo, may have failed because he didnt want to throw the ring in in your teachers eyes, but that was only because of the pwoer of the ring. If there wsnt such power, he would have done it easily. He did a task that no on else could of, and for that, he is a hero. he saved ME and was evry brave.
Datu Kampilan 14/Apr/2006 at 05:30 AM
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for me Frodo was a hero, and all you have to do Alanna Elessar, is to print this page of the thread and show this in the face of your teacher. Like everyone else’s comment, he was the closest individual to have successfully destroyed the ring. there are many times frodo could have failed if not for his strong will to complete the task. for me your teacher owes all of us an apology, especially for Frodo fans out there.
LoreliGreenleaf 14/Apr/2006 at 08:18 AM
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I agree that your teacher is wrong by saying that Frodo failed in his mission to destroy the One Ring, but I do believe that Frodo is the antihero. I had to write a paper on this not to long ago, and I also found many definitions of antihero. The one that I believe applies to Frodo is "a protagonist who displays no qualities of a hero, but who ’rises to the occasion’ and performs heroic deeds." Given that Frodo is a hobbit-short, chubby, jolly face, big appetite-he defiantly is not a hero in the classical sense. Also, unlike the classical hero, Frodo does not necessarily believe in himself in the beginning or display qualities of bravery and heroism. However, as soon as Frodo sets out with the Ring, he proves himself capable of being a hero in every way. He makes it to Rivendell with a serious injury; he crosses the Ford and yells at the Ringwraiths to return to Mordor; he overcomes all sorts of forces including Shelob, the watchers in the water, Old Man Willow, and many more; and most importantly, he overcomes the power of the Ring longer that anyone else could have. The fact that he failed in the end is through no fault of his own. I also saw the letter that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote saying that Frodo in no way is a failure, and if Frodo’s a hero to Tolkien, then he is a hero to everyone. Personally, I love Frodo, and while I would never claim that he is the only hero, he is defiantly my favorite.   
Rhîwithiliel 14/Apr/2006 at 09:31 AM
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Frodo, an anti-hero? I wonder where your teacher got that from. As has been said earlier in the thread, even Tolkien said that only Frodo could have taken the Ring to Mount Doom and as such, he had to be the hero of it. I’m not even sure I would say Gollum was an anti-hero since even though he did destroy the Ring, it was an accident. Frodo was most certainly not the anti-hero. I’ve heard the phrase used in terms of bad-good people, but... Frodo? I wouldn’t say so at all. Mayhap you should discuss this more with your teacher to understand why it was said. It could be interesting.
Endril 14/Apr/2006 at 09:48 AM
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Frodo can be called an anti-hero if you want because he theoreticaly failed in his mission. But don’t forget that he carried the ring to Mordor, a thing that couldn’t be done by anyone else. The fact that he didn’t throw the ring in the fire of mount Doom in something normal because no one could do it, even Frodo. We must appreciate his willpower. He carried the ring there, didn’t he?
Rílthoron Alarion 14/Apr/2006 at 09:53 AM
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It may be true that if Frodo couldn’t do it, no one could, but that doesn’t change the fact that he failed in the end.  I still wouldn’t call him an anti-hero though.  He was of much greater strength of will than many other mighty warriors of Middle-earth.  However, Aragorn had a very strong will too, as did Faramir and Gandalf.  All of them could have taken the Ring if they wished, but they let it go willingly.  Frodo couldn’t do that.
Mayu 14/Apr/2006 at 10:21 AM
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Thats an interesting proposal although one which I would have to say that I disagreed with. Anti-hero is a very strong term with very negative connotations which I do not think really apply to Frodo in LOTR. Although he did fail to throw the ring into Mt Doom at the end he still got it there didn’t he? He took on the challenge in the first place and he never gave up. He did not suceed in the sense of throwing the ring into the fires as was planned but the ring was destroyed in the end. Plus he fought it internally as it were all the way to Mordor, many of the rest in the Fellowship would not have been capable of that.
Wídfara 14/Apr/2006 at 07:54 PM
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I don’t agree with the way your language teacher is defining anti-hero. I am trying to think of a good example of that we all might know and agree on and Hans Solo in the first Star Wars movie is who comes to mind for me. He is cynical and openly a bit of a coward and lacking in idealism to begin with at least on the surface of his character. Of course he is heroic in the end despite himself.

Back to Frodo though. There are several literary heroic archetypes present in the LOTR. In the book "Tolkien in the Land of the Heros," author Anne Petty, describes Frodo as the typical modern hero or everyman hero. He represents for the reader the figure that most of us can most identify with. A normal person who is elevated by circumstances to commit heroic acts by being thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Petty also says that by the end of the story Frodo has become the classic epic or tragic hero.

I know that a lot of people have a difficult time seeing Frodo’s final act in failing to throw the ring in the fire in heroic terms. I believe that here we have the benefit of a master storyteller weaving a more complicated plot and trusting that we will follow the subtle lesson that is contained in it. Tolkien tells us in "The Letters" that he was surprised by some people’s reaction to this twist in the story and could only see Frodo as a failure. Tolkien felt differently about it.

" But at this point the ’salvation’ of the world and Frodo’s own ’salvation’ is achieved by his previous pity and forgiveness of injury" The Letters, #181

Frodo’s "heroic act" in showing pity and kindness to Gollum pays off in the end and we have a far more interesting story and lesson to ponder than if Frodo had marched up Mount Doom and threw the ring in himself. 

mighty ent man 15/Apr/2006 at 01:37 AM
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Loreli - "a protagonist who displays no qualities of a hero, but who ’rises to the occasion’ and performs heroic deeds."  - I disagree that this does not apply to Frodo. He does display the characteristics of a hero. He has a huge amount of courage. He is wise, and strong in mind to combat the power of the Ring for so long. He is not some innocent hobbit, he is a strong and courageous one.

Legolas - How can Frodo have failed when the objective of his mission was impossible to achieve?


Alkin 15/Apr/2006 at 01:05 PM
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Frodo is definitly a hero of Lotr. I think that Sam really is the main hero but Frodo is not a negitive aspect to the story. If you think of the ring as a binky and frodo as a 2 year old child who has to give up his binky it will be hard for him to do. he has had that toy the entire 2 years of his life so it willbe a chlange for him. Of course the ring is an evil posessive object but the comparison still stands!
estell 16/Apr/2006 at 06:59 AM
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Well your teacher is rong or he hasn’t a lot of knowelege about the Lord of the Rings.Frodo is a hero   even he almost blow up his quest.But isn’t his fault that,in the end,he became corupted by the power of the Ring,actualy he is the only one  who carried the ring a lot of time and without beeing corupted by his power.And also i agree with Alkin that the  hero who realy want to destroy the ring is sam,but he whants that only because he see how the power of the ring destrois frodo.but in the end we se that the frodo is a hero because he give his life to save the ME and he goes acros the sea


Boromir88 17/Apr/2006 at 08:26 AM
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I wouldn’t classify Frodo as the anti-hero.  He didn’t fail the Quest, but he failed the Test (sorry for rhyming).

Frodo failed the personal test that the Ring seems to offer everyone...Galadriel passed it, Faramir passed it, Isildur and Boromir both failed.  Frodo failed the personal test of letting go of the Ring and dropping it into Mount Doom.  But he didn’t fail The Quest.  The quest was to destroy the ring...and that’s what happened.  Frodo may not have personally destroyed the ring, but he got the ring to Mount Doom, allowing and the Ring was destroyed, which was his quest to do.  Nothing about that HE had to destroy the ring, but that the ring had to be destroyed, and that’s what happened.  So, I can’t see how Frodo is classified as an "anti-hero."

mighty ent man 17/Apr/2006 at 09:52 AM
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Boromir88 - Nice rhyme there, one which sums it all up very well indeed. Although as we know everyone would fail the test in the end. Frodo did so well to get as far as he did. Well Faramir and the others that you mention did not take the same Test as Frodo did. So you cannot compare the two together. Their test was to refuse to take up the possession of the Ring. Frodos test was a far greater one and one which was impossible for anyone to do, to throw and destroy the Ring.
Boromir88 17/Apr/2006 at 10:32 AM
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Of course MEM, perhaps I should have explained more, but that’s why you’re here .  I didn’t mean to sound as if I was comparing the tests and making them equal.  Frodo’s was, as you say, much more difficult for he had bore the ring several years and was faced with a much tougher decision.
Lady of gondor 17/Apr/2006 at 12:02 PM
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I do not think that Frodo is as anti-hero. I would call all of the hobbits reluctant heros, just as I would call Gollum a tragic hero and Borimir a fallen hero, however when Frodo says "I wan’t to here more about Sam, Frodo wouldn’t have gotten far without Sam" I think that that is very true and in that respect Sam is "more" of a hero than Frodo.
Boromir88 17/Apr/2006 at 12:42 PM
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I don’t think you can compare the two and say one is more heroic then the other.  They both do different things that make them the "heroic" characters, and it’s difficult to compare the two.

Sam’s heroic because he stood by Frodo the whole time, and without Sam’s support and help Frodo would not have gotten to Mount Doom.

Frodo’s heroic because he took the Ring and the task to destroy it upon himself.  He took the full fate of Middle-earth and put it on his back.  Then he had the strength and will to get the Ring to Mount Doom where it could be destroyed.  No easy feat, and though this is just my own opinion I don’t think anyone could have done what Frodo did.  The "powerful" one’s would have been corrupted before they got to Mount Doom, and I can’t think of anyone else who could have had the will to persevere.

So I think it’s hard to compare as they both show different heroic qualities and purposes.

I can’t see Frodo as a reluctant hero either.  From the very beginning he took on this duty of carrying the Ring.  Gandalf told him to go to Rivendell, after Gandalf doesn’t return for a long while Frodo gets worried but decided to set out (with the help of his friends).  So even without Gandalf there to tell him it’s time to go, Frodo sets out for Rivendell.  Sam, Merry, and Pippin were given the chance to turn back, but they didn’t.  Then in Rivendell, Frodo again willingly steps up and takes up the task of destroying the Ring...much more difficult this time then only taking it to Rivendell, now he must take it to be destroyed.  Again, Sam, Merry, and Pippin all come in to go with Frodo, so I can’t see how they are reluctant heroes.  They all step up to the plate so to say and accept what they have to do.

mighty ent man 18/Apr/2006 at 03:02 AM
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Boromir88 - Frodo faced the toughest decision of all time. Well in many ways can it even be termed a decision? I mean he had no choice, the Ring was too controlling over his mind. So even if he chose to throw it in the Ring would not let him do so. So in reality he did not really have any free choice. He could never throw it in himself.

I have to say that I agree 100% with Boromir88 in saying that you cannot compare the two: Sam and Frodo. I hate it when people say that one was better than the other or that one was more heroic than the other. Can we not respect the two for doing what they did? They both did amazing things, they both achieved things no other person has ever done. This makes them both heroes of equal stature.

I would like a definition of what you think a reluctant hero is. For if you mean they did not desire to be heroes then yes maybe so. They were hobbits who did not want or desire fame and glory. They did desire adventure though and wanted to do good for the world. They were not reluctant in facing up to what they had to do.  

avantika 18/Apr/2006 at 05:17 AM
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Frodo is certainly not an antihero. One could argue that he failed, but all heroes don’t have to be successful. You can die valiantly in a  hopeless battle and still be a hero, eg. Fingolfin. Or you can fail in your main task but still accomplish many heroic acts, eg. Finrod Felagund. Would you call King Felagund an antihero? I don’t think so. If success were to be made a criterion for heroism, Tolkien’s characters would be a lot less interesting.
mighty ent man 18/Apr/2006 at 08:34 AM
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I dont understand how people can think that Frodo failed the quest. I think it is being very harsh on him. Also if you have read the quote from Tolkiens letters (which I unfortunately do not have, I read the quote here on the plaza) you can see how indeed he did not fail. The reason he did not fail was because Tolkien tells us that no one could ever throw the Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. He says that its power would rise and become far too great at this final moment and it would consume and defeat its bearer. Frodo did not fail. He did all he could physically do.
Obsidian 18/Apr/2006 at 11:57 PM
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He’s a hero! The Ring was meant for him and he was meant to have the Ring. He was meant to guard the Ring and meant to bear it to Mount Doom. He’s the greatest hero, he’s the main character! For example, people like your teacher would argue in the same way about Bilbo in The Hobbit. Your teacher is most likely to say that Bilbo failed in his quest: to steal the gold of Smaug. But unwittingly Bilbo also turned hero by saving the dwarves from giant spiders and by  bringing together the 4 armies just before the goblins invaded. The same goes for Frodo, though he claimed the Ring for himself in the end, his actions have led to the greater good.


Anyone who indirectly plays a part in doing a good deed, but actually meant to do it, can be considered a hero. I don’t see any reason for Frodo not being the hero. Gandalf had said that he was made of strong stuff and he was good enough to resist the temptation of the Ring for so long already. Even if Frodo bears the Ring all the way to Mount Doom but dies in the attempt without suceeding, he is still a hero for the effort, sacrifice and determination he had eserted.

mighty ent man 19/Apr/2006 at 05:59 AM
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Apocalyon - I have a problem with the way you worded one of your sentences. Frodo did not claim the Ring for himself in the end. I would say it is more like the Ring claimed him. He did not want the Ring, the Ring wanted him so it would not be destroyed.

Other than that I agree with all that you say and it’s a good post!

stevem1 19/Apr/2006 at 06:06 AM
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My idea of an anti-hero is someone who does not fulfil the normal characteristics of a hero, but to a certain group can become a hero. a good example would be slackers in England in the 80s. To them, somebody who did no work was a hero, but to others he was a villain.

I cannot see Hero in this light since he really does try to destroy the Ring, so his intent is the same as the group of people who put all thier trust in him. If he had deliberately deceived them in order to take the Ring to Mordor, then I guess he would be an anti-hero to the people of Mordor.

I cannot see Gollum as an anti-hero either although to a lot of people he is a fascinating character.
Gerontian 19/Apr/2006 at 06:40 AM
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The anti-hero is  fascinating type in literature that has often has much in common with the villains of stories. They are often driven by selfish motivations, and are seldom drawn towards altruism or virtue in the classical sense.  Arguments can be made that characters as early in literature as Odysseus dislpay elements of the anti-hero.  They range from characters like Macbeth who is a very easily identifiable for his negative and villainish traits, to Othello, who while not as much of a villain as Macbeth, murders Desdemona, and is certainly no hero.  Scarlet O’Hara is another kind of anti-hero, clearly motivated by her own self-interest and prone to selfish and egotistical decisions.  One could argue that Anakin Skywalker is an anti-hero, as well. 

I do not see Frodo fitting in this category.  If I see any character in Tolkien’s stories that embodies the qualities of an anti-hero it would be Feanor. I need to think about that idea a bit more, but I think the differences between Frodo and Feanor, their motivations and their actions, illustrate my point.  

stevem1 19/Apr/2006 at 06:47 AM
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Sorry just noticed in my post that I said Hero instead of Frodo. Should read:

I cannot see Frodo in this light since he really does try to destroy the Ring.

yes Gerontian - an interesting literary type - I never thought of Oddyseus as one, but now I think about it I guess he could be. He did love his family and was motivated by the need to get back to them though. I think he was more of the typical pragmatist than anti-hero

Pragmatist->survivor-> anti-hero?
Gerontian 19/Apr/2006 at 11:53 AM
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stevem1 You ask an interesting question at the end of your post. I think pragmatism can be one aspect that motivates an anti-hero, especially the less villainous ones. For example, in Star Wars, the Hans Solo character who is somewhat of a scoundrel is also very pragmatic about his own surival, until he changes his mind. In essence, he ceases to be an anti-hero and becomes a hero at that point in the story, although he maintains elements of his former status well into the story. It is not terribly practical and pragmatic to be a hero in the first place. Self interest can be pragmatic, but it extends closer toward villany in the typical anti-hero. Odysseus, for example, attempts to avoid the Trojan War through a deception that is only uncovered when his son Telemachus’ life is threatened. His self interest sets in motion a ruse which makes him a kind of  Homeric "draft dodger," a role that is certainly pragmatic, but tends to be seen as ignoble by the more high minded. 

On the other hand, we can find examples of very pragmatic heroes.  Take Sam, for example. Sam is able to remain his pragmatic self throughout the story, yet also achieve heroic stature.  What distinquises Sam is that his pragmatism is not tinged with an overdose of selfishness and self interest.

So, I would agree with you that pragmatism and survival are elements that can contribute to the make up of an anti-hero, but that they are usually driven and dominated by self interest, and are usually less than noble. Does that make sense?  The distinction is difficult for the old hobbit to articulate this morning, much as he enjoyed thinking agbout it.

Esme 19/Apr/2006 at 03:03 PM
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As I understand the expression, an anti-hero is the (main) character who doesn’t have all the expected qualities, who doesn’t act accordind to a previously established standard. But looking at my understanding of the word, or taking it as a simple negative character, Frodo doesn’t match either category. I believe he’s an arcetype of a hero - he’s bearing his task ALONE (yes, I know Sam was with him all the time, but he’s the one who had to bear the ring practically the whole time). The fact he didn’t succeed, as I see it, doesn’t have anything to do with his heroism or anti-heroism... It has to do with a force much stronger than him.
Jedi Ranger 20/Apr/2006 at 06:14 AM
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He is the anti-hero because he was weak and was a burden to the other characters int he story,  he could not fight and he had no special power.  He is the anti-hero and sam is the real hero., I know that there is already a thread about that so i wont go into detail about that but sam was the one who looked out for frodo and became the one who was brave and able to fight.  Sam is the kind of perdson we all want to be. PLus sam gets a girl in the end, what does frodo get? nine fingers instead of 10
Lindir89 20/Apr/2006 at 08:57 PM
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i personally wouldn’t consider frodo the "anti-hero" of the lord of the rings just because he didn’t end up being able to throw the ring into mount doom.  He most definitely is not one of my favorite characters in the book, i think many other characters exhibit more heroic qualities but i can’t deny him the right to be a hero in the story.  there was a lot more to his journey than throwing the ring in at the end.  it is said over and over that people fall to the ring easily, and the fact that frodo resisted the pull of the ring until that tragic flaw at the end shows that he is a hero.  i think that no other person in the book would have been able to bear the burden of the ring for as long as frodo did.  I dont even think frodo really "failed" overall.  i dont think that it was meant to show that frodo was weak; i think it was meant to show that no single person was immune to the ring, and to show that bilbo and frodo were right in pitying gollum, since in the end, without his help, the ring wouldn’t have been destroyed.
Tári Fyrebird 21/Apr/2006 at 11:51 AM
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I think Lindir89 has it. Frodo is not one of my favourites either, but here we go: Although Frodo may sometimes be presented as having failed in his Quest as he was unable to throw away the ring, Tolkien actually wrote that Frodo’s true quest was something a little different. Alas, I can’t find the quote right now, but I’m sure there’s something in Letters where Tolkien explains that Frodo’s true test - and one in which he succeeded magnificently - was in staying merciful to Gollum. Sam, who I personally think has more heroic qualities than Frodo, wanted to get rid of Gollum the whole way, whereas Frodo remained merciful right up to the end. And so, when he unfortunately did give into the Ring (and here I agree with Lindir89 that he must be given his due for carrying it so far) his mercy paid off as Gollum was there to complete the Quest. So, in a way, Frodo really is the hero. Would someone do me a favour and see if they can please find a quote for my point? I don’t actually have Letters myself, but I would like to find out if I’ve been babbling along about something with no proof...
Ajanir 22/Apr/2006 at 11:21 AM
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The nearest thing to an anti-hero that I can think of in Tolkien’s works is Feanor, and the story of the Fall of the Noldor. Feanor was a hero to the people who followed him to Middle Earth, but he was responsible for massacring the Teleri who withstood his request for ships. He then proceeded to betray his half-brothers, leaving them to cross the Grinding Ice, which caused the deaths of many of his own people. He was ultimately responsible for much strife in Middle Earth even after his death; his sons had taken the Oath of Vengeance with him, which caused much havoc in the end. But he is remembered as a hero because he, rather than the Valar, was the one to stand against Morgoth. But other than that, he was selfish (he refused to give up the Silmarils to the Valar to heal the Trees), violent (slaying his own people), and proud (refusing to love his father’s second wife, or their sons).
Lady of lorien 22/Apr/2006 at 12:45 PM
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I would not consider frodo an anti hero however if not for sam frodo wouldn’t have completed his quest. I also think that Frodo was a hero, because the ring was clearly starting to control his mind, he faced a greater but similer dilema that most people face today to gain power at other expense or to be unsellfish and reject that power for the good of all.
danh gem 24/Apr/2006 at 03:12 AM
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Frodo most certainly is not an anti hero! What cheek! to say such things!In the movies gollum is definitely portrayed as an anti hero.And its plain unfair to compare galadriel and frodo i mean frodo was the only one to have borne the ring so long with full knowledge of the rings true nature without succumbng to it and turning around and going straight into barad dur instead of continuing towards orodruin
mighty ent man 25/Apr/2006 at 10:10 AM
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Imperial Powers - He is the anti-hero because he was weak and was a burden to the other characters int he story,  he could not fight and he had no special power.  - Wrong, wrong, wrong. I am indeed sad if this is what you gathered from the books. If you gained it from the films then I would ask you to dis regard that view of Frodo for it is not who Frodo is. He is a strong willed person. He was not weak. He was not a burden, they knew they had to protect him anyway! And his special power is that he resisted the Ring for one heck of a long time!


Morgan la Fée 25/Apr/2006 at 10:33 AM
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Oh, wish I had such litterature classes!

To the point, I wouldn’t call Frodo the anti-hero. Even though, as it was said, he technically failed hi smission, I always thought that he had completed as much of it as he was able, and that is beyond dumb more than anybody else could. I absolutely agree with mighty ent man, for me Frodo one of the strongest, if not the strongest character in LOTR. Apart from that, he is also accepting a task of surreal danger and difficulty in the book circumstances, and he’s willing to sacrifice his peace and happiness, as well as his life.

But, i would certainly call Gollum the anti-hero, because apart from fitting into the usual characteristics, he does provoque sympathy sometimes, and that makes him as much hero as any other of the Fellowship, for instance. His inner struggle, that is probably the most powerful of all the characters, as well as his close ineraction with Frodo, is bound to make him appear the conterargument, the anti-hero of the trilogy.

mighty ent man 26/Apr/2006 at 03:38 AM
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Feowen - I can see why people such as yourself say that technically Frodo failed his mission but I disagree. Lets look at the facts here:

  • Frodo was charged to take the Ring to Mount Doom and if possible throw it in.
  • Tolkien however tells us in a letter that no one would be able to throw it in. At that last and final moment the power of the Ring would rise up and overwhelm anyone.
  • So therefore from the outset Frodo’s mission could never ever work in its entirity.
  • So therefore the original aim and goal is not valid as it is not achievable.
  • We cannot say he failed in any sense. However I do believe that there is another quote from Tolkien saying that he did fail. But I have to disagree
  • Frodo did all he could, you could say Frodo destroyed the Ring. He indirectly led to its destruction.

Thats my take on things anyway!

Morgan la Fée 26/Apr/2006 at 04:56 AM
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Dear mighty ent man, you over looked the following lines I wrote.

"... tough he technically failed his smission, I always thought that he had completed as much of it as he was able, and that is beyond doubt more than anybody else could," I said, didn’t I? Plus, I might have got offended at the ’people such as yourself’  if I really did held a different opinion - be more careful with your characteristics.

I would have stated all the points you did if I wanted to, because it fits my point of view perfectly. All that i wanted to say, is that, truly, there is a quote saying Frodo failed, and after some former discussions, i came to think that he did, technically. But he still is a hero, and still is the most amazing hobbit, and the most fabulous character.

But, I wouldn’t call the original aim of the Fellowship ’not valid’ as you put it. It was valid and achievable as long as somebody wanted to get it done, and put their efforts, skills, talents, etc. to it. But that’s just me again.

mighty ent man 26/Apr/2006 at 04:06 PM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

Feowen - Oh I am sorry I did not clarify too well the intention of my post. It was not meant to be aimed at you! I did indeed read all of your post and I agreed with all that you said. It is just when I read your one comment of Frodo technically failing it prompted me to make a list for others to read and hopefully see that I do not think he did technically fail. It was not solely aimed at you for I know you said he did all he could do. I did not intend for you to think I was having a go at you and hitting you with a long list!

I might have got offended at the ’people such as yourself’  if I really did held a different opinion - be more careful with your characteristics. - I am not entirely sure what you mean by this. I said people such as yourself to you as you clearly to me do feel that Frodo technically failed his mission. I did not mean it to offend. I am sorry if you did or felt like you could take offence. I feel I said nothing wrong in that post, other than some lack of clarification!

All that i wanted to say, is that, truly, there is a quote saying Frodo failed, and after some former discussions, i came to think that he did, technically. But he still is a hero, and still is the most amazing hobbit, and the most fabulous character.  - Yes I know of the quote but I would have to say I disagree with that quote. Even if Tolkien himself says it (although I think I might be being a little rash!). Maybe I need to look at this quote again. But my point here still stands he did not technically fail because the original aim of his mission was not physically possible to do. In the eyes of the Fellowship he would have succeeded.

The original aim was to destroy the Ring, this in itself is valid. But wanting Frodo to throw the Ring is not valid. Therefore this aim I dont think is workable.

Arduvei 26/Apr/2006 at 07:09 PM
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Yes, as I stated in a different thread, Frodo did not fail (at least, not in my opinion). None of the fellowship failed (exept perhaps Boromir, although he actually did fulfill his purpose to protect the fellowship. The ring was destroyed. Frodo of the Shire’s task was to carry the ring to doom, and destroy it. Okay, so he didn’t, but it was destroyed nontheless, which was the mission of the fellowship.
Oin 26/Apr/2006 at 07:33 PM
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Arvudei: Frodo did fail - when the time came, he did not destroy the Ring as he had been appointed to do. The Quest succeeded, but Frodo failed as an individual:

"No, Frodo ’failed’. It is possible that once the ring was destroyed he had little recollection of the last scene. But one must face the fact: the power of Evil in the world is not finally resistable by incarnate creatures, however ’good’; and the Writer of the Story is not one of us." (Letter #191)
jrmhaldir 26/Apr/2006 at 08:08 PM
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I think Frodo was a hero. In a small way. I guess there are levels of greatness. Personally I would say that in the story of LOTR, Samwise was the hero. He stuck to his promise and didn’t fail. In a sense Frodo did fail and in a way he didn’t. I mean he wasn’t able to throw the ring into mount doom but the rings eventually was destroyed because of what frodo had done. Frodo had gotten the ring to mount doom (not without the help of sam) but as Gandalf said, " I believe Gollum has some part to play for good or evil" so i guess it’s not who was the "hero".  Frodo lived his destiny and it wasn’t his destiny to destroy the ring.  oh, i don’t know! now i’m confusing myself.
Ambarvänye 27/Apr/2006 at 06:58 AM
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I think this question heavily relies upon what you consider to be an anti-hero if the definition "a character who possessed evil characteristics but is shown in a sympathetic light" is applied then it certainly doesnt refer to Frodo however if you considered an anti-hero to be someone who doesn’t possess the stereotypical qualities of a hero then this could be applied to Frodo as he is a small hobbit from the shire that no one expects anything from, he is not a warrior or physically strong etc.

I think that in the movies, Frodo is made out to be much less of a hero than he really is and Sam seems much more heroic though I definately agree that they are incomparable. I don’t think that anyone could have taken the ring to mount doom alone Frodo couldn’t and neither could Sam. The only thing I don’t like is the way Frodo is given all the credit!

In terms of failing I do not think Frodo failed he achieved his quest in the end and considering his task, to through the ring into mount doom was impossible he did incredibly well. Yes, Sam did not fail in that he stuck by Frodo (and he should have got more recognition for this) though again both tasks were incredibly different and cannot be compared on the same level, one is a test of loyalty and faithfulness and the other a test of resistence and willpower.


Morgan la Fée 27/Apr/2006 at 09:35 AM
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Ambarvanye~ Anti-hero is anti-hero, and the characteristic you state - a small hobbit from the shire that no one expects anything from, he is not a warrior or physically strong etc.  - surely has nothing to do with it. Thsi characteristic only makes it clear that Frodo is not a stereotype warrior hero. But heroes are not always warriors, you know. Take Gandalf, or Elrond (I know there were discussions on that topic too, but still)...

Plus, I don’t feel comfortable discussing whether Frodo did seem heroic in the movie.

In the book, I don’t think you could compare Frodo and Sam. They are like two hemispheres that make a whole. Without any of them, the quest wouldn’t have been fullfilled. But I do think that for Frodo, his ’destiny’ to carry the ring played a really important part. The most of his struggle was in not giving it up, not rejecting his task, going on, however great his burden was. Accepting something is not that easy, especially when you’re a hobbit. *g*

The Spork Man 27/Apr/2006 at 10:13 AM
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Anti-Hero= A character who possessed evil characteristics but is shown in a sympathetic light.

By using that definition, maybe with out using such a strong word as evil, Boromir could be the anti-hero. He was attracted to the ring, and tried to take it from Frodo several times, and with violence during his last attempt. Now, you can’t quite blame him for that, the ring is extremely "hard to resist" shall we say. That would be where the sympathy set in, he was being controlled by the ring, but he was also trying to take it from Frodo.

Morgan la Fée 27/Apr/2006 at 10:35 AM
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I’m afraid you need to delete your second post - this is spam, The Spork Man.
manwe1 27/Apr/2006 at 11:18 AM
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by using the definition of the Spork Man, then this term does not apply to frodo. But if I use the definition from which is--A main character in a dramatic or narrative work who is characterized by a lack of traditional heroic qualities, such as idealism or courage, Then I would say that the term applies to frodo. He never did this out of courage or Idealism, but because he felt that it was his duty. by that, he could be classified as an anti-hero
wolfsrock19 27/Apr/2006 at 12:19 PM
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Seeing the definition that manwe1 gives from i can see how frodo is the anit-hero.  Seeing the defintion given by The Spork Man i can see how it would be Boromir or even Gollum.  More Gollum than Boromir i think.  But frodo is only somewhat of an anti-hero.  He did display courage in choosing the be the ring bearer.  But then again he doesnt have all the characteristics of a traditional hero.  But he is somewhat of a hero because it took courage to carry the ring all the way to mordor and ultimatily to Mount Doom.  So he is a hero and an anti-hero, if that’s possible.
white_tower 27/Apr/2006 at 12:31 PM
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In my opinion Sam would be the hero of the book. It’s not that I think Frodo is the anti-hero but I just feel like Sam did so much, and ended up none the worse for wear. Of course he didn’t have the burden of the ring etc. but he did so much to support frodo when they were alone on the quest.
Bearamir 27/Apr/2006 at 12:40 PM
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Ladies & Gentlemen:  This thread has been nominated for move to Ad Lore.  Given that this thread has some excellent potential,  with your kind permission I am going to do so.  

For everyone else who wishes to post, a small reminder is in order:  once this thread moves to Ad Lore, there will be some expectations as to the quality of the posts.  So, moving forward, please remember that Ad Lore is for the in depth discussion of topics pertaining to the Lord of the Rings, and try to avoid extraneous chat.   From this point on, I *will* be deleting posts that do no serve to advance the topic, or add materially to the discussion.

Best of Luck (and congratulations once again).

Boromir88 27/Apr/2006 at 01:09 PM
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I don’t think Boromir can classify as the anti-hero, even with the Spork Man’s definition.  Because, I don’t think Boromir had "evil characteristics."  Boromir seems to me, to fit much better as a tragic-hero.

Anyway, so why Boromir (to me) doesn’t seem to fit in as an anti-hero.  Yes, he fell to the Ring, but he desired the Ring to overthrow Sauron.  He wanted to drive off Mordor and save Minas Tirith from ruin.  This necessarily isn’t a bad thing.  It seems rather heroic actually, to save his country from ruin.  What makes it the "wrong" thing, is that the Ring cannot be used as a weapon, and Boromir doesn’t understand that at the bottom of everything the Ring only leads to the wrong path.  And Boromir doesn’t understand the consequences of using the Ring as a weapon.

Why, I don’t feel his desire to use the Ring is evil, is because Galadriel desired the exact thing...and she’s never seen as "evil."  She desired to use the Ring to have armies flock to her banner and overthrow Sauron...Sounds quite similar to what Boromir wanted.  However, Galadriel knew what the Ring was, and knew it’s consequences and was able to resist.  Boromir didn’t know, or didn’t believe it, and he failed.

So, why Boromir, isn’t the anti-hero, is because he actually desired to use the Ring for GOOD, but didn’t understand the "evil" that it could cause.  And since Galadriel had wanted to use the Ring for the same reasons as Boromir, I don’t see how Boromir could be the anti-hero.  Of course, this is all just my own opinion and am open to differing opinions.

mighty ent man 27/Apr/2006 at 02:02 PM
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Oin - I would argue that Frodo did not fail. Tolkien also tells us that it was not possible to destroy the Rinb by willingly throwing it in. Just because someone tells Frodo to do this, it does not mean that he has failed. For he did all that he ever could do. The fact was Frodo was set a task that he never could do, so the quest given to him was not really relevant. He did the next best thing and so did not fail. I would say that he failed if he did not reach Mount Doom but he did so. Just because the Council told him to throw it in this does not mean he has failed in doing so because when they told him this it was already a fact that he never could. I do not think anyone in the story would say he failed in his task.

If you define an Anti Hero as someone who does not possess the stereotypical characteristics of a Hero then yes he is. But then again consider this. Frodo is a courageous person, he is a person who takes up the burden well. He risks all to save countless lives. He does these things early on in the tale so we can say he already had these characteristics. He is willing to leave the Shire. He does all this. I would say he does possess heroic qualities.
Lili Brandybuck 27/Apr/2006 at 04:49 PM
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I definitely would not call Frodo the anti-hero.  He does infact accomplish what he promised to do.  He got the Ring to the Cracks of Doom which led to its destruction.  He did possess heroic traits such as courage, loyalty, determination, perseverence, hope, willingness to sacrifice himself for his task....  Aragorn posses those same characteristics, but no one asks if he is heroic.  Frodo claiming the Ring at Mount Doom is not necessarily failure on his part.  None of the Wise (or really anyone else for that matter) were willing to do half of what he accomplished.  It was pretty obvious that The Ringbearer (who ever chose to attempt to destroy the Ring) would be tried beyond their limits and would most likely be captured or killed trying. 
Gerontian 27/Apr/2006 at 06:08 PM
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I have not read Aristotle in ages, so any students of classics or drama out there, please cut me some slack if I express this too simplistically.


Instead of using the term “hero,” I want to turn for a moment to the idea of the “tragic hero” in literature.  The tragic hero was a product of the Ancient Greeks.  We find him as the protagonist in Greek Dramas. Rather than embodying a complete set of ideal characteristics, these protagonists possessed one fatal or tragic flaw that always led to his demise.  Aristotle characterized tragic heroes using these factors: goodness, superior ability, a tragic flaw, and a moment of realization in the drama regarding that tragic flaw, a moment of catharsis or epiphany. 


The modern tragic hero, however, is not like his classical predecessors. He is rarely a good person in the traditional sense, and has a full range of faults and vices. He need not embody superior abilities (in fact, a modern protagonist could not be cast in a Greek, heroic role, he might look ludicrous playing that part; imagine Willy Loman from Death of A Salesmen playing Oedipus Rex), and during his story or drama, the modern tragic hero may never experience a moment of change, insight or revelation. The modern tragic hero’s story is likely to end without his being able to change the events that are happening to him. The modern tragic hero is the same as the anti-hero, and I would argue, the anti-hero replaced the classical tragic hero in most of modern literature.


The tragic hero, however, is not the only kind of literary hero, but is the kind we must consider when applying the term, “anti-hero” in a context like LOTR. The anti-hero’s tragedy is the modern counterpart to the classical hero’s tragedy.  Yet, in modern tragedy, his fate can even be banal and bathetic, rather than transforming and cathartic. I do not think that Frodo meets the criteria for either a classical tragic hero, nor the its modern version, the anti-hero.  In my earlier posts, I discussed why Frodo could not be considered an anti-hero in other its other contexts or applications.


The one character in Tolkien that I believe possesses the many of the elements of a modern anti-hero is Turin Turambar.  He is a tragic figure, certainly, but is not particularly good or exceptionally virtuous and possesses a number of flaws. He does not have one overarching, tragic flaw that leads to his demise, events and external factors defeat him as much as any number of internal failing on his part. Compare Turin to Frodo, for a moment, and we see two very different kinds of literary character. 


Frodo may not be a classical tragic hero, but this does not make him an anti-hero, the modern equivalent of the tragic hero in much of literature. I fear we want to see our heroes too one dimensionally these days: either tragic and flawed; or successful and therefore mostly unflawed (or somehow miraculously rehabilitated). A protagonist, however, is the main character in a play or story; he need not be a tragic hero in either the classical or the modern sense of the anti-hero in order to be the focus of a good story.


In general, I think we judge our heroes too harshly, these days.  

Morgan la Fée 28/Apr/2006 at 07:29 AM
Wine-taster of Mirkwood Points: 3426 Posts: 2650 Joined: 19/Jun/2004

Yay for the thread!

Gerontian, what an excellent post!  I did not have in mind brining anything similar into the discussion, but now I consired your anti-hero/tragic hero ’theory’ I’m rather inclined to agree with you.

A dictionarry I looked into(I won’t mention it, ’cause nobody know it anyway - very old and strictly russian *g*) defines anti-hero as belittled, de-heroisized (sorry) character (mostly of the second half of the 20th century of European and Amarican litterature),a ’mass’ person, ’anyone’, depersonalized by the irrational power of the modern civilisation. More generally, it states that it is also a type of a litterature hero bereft of the usual heroic qualities but very important to the plot and even kind of a ’confidant’ of the author.

Applying that to our topic, I must say Frodo doesn’t fit: even if he myabe doesn’t possess the usual ’hero’ qualities, he is made extraordinary by the fact that he is, in the first place, a hobbit, undertaking such a huge mission. Therefore, I would say he is a hero. More than that, the circumstances he finds himself in make him that, unlike in the definition. He is also an elf-friend, that makes him stand out, he doesn’t have any prounonced enough flaws and faults, he appears as a resolute, and sacrificing person, that does do everything that he needs to do. He does complain a little bit, but as Gerontian justly said, we mustn’t judge him too harsh.

In the aspect of finding an anti-hero in Tokien’s writings, I must again agree with Gerontian - Turin is really the first candidate on that. The tragic hero in my understanding is something like Pechorin in the ’Hero of Our Time’ by M.U. Lermontov, but, saying that, I risk to bump into problems, because I have no idea how much people in the world know about Russian litterature. (It is my fault, however, that I cannot find a fitting character from English, or even Greek one.)

I aslo agree with Boromir88 about Boromir not being an anti-hero: as I see it, he is more like an opposite of Aragorn in his ’men/human’ qualities, being blinded by his love and his responsibility for his country, while Aragorn didn’t want to accept that responsibility originally. Anyway, I find in Boromir too much good motives to call him anti-hero, even though anti-hero has nothing to de with ’evil’ as it is.

mighty ent man 28/Apr/2006 at 07:34 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

Gerontian - I would say that I would agree with you that someone who perhaps best fits in with the title of Anti Hero is Turin. I read the whole part about him in Unfinished Tales and was struck by the sadness of his life. he is a hero, but his does do bad deeds. He has a great deal of flaws in his personality and yet the events do conspire against him on many occasions. I agree that when we compare him to Frodo we get two contrasting and completely different characters. I think we have to remember what we see and Anti Hero is. How can Frodo be one?? He does possess heroic characteristics. And its not like he develops them throughout the story, he quite clearly has them within him at the start of the whole story. So how in other ways can he be an Anti Hero? Because he doesn’t fight in battles like the others? Well of course this is a silly argument. Because he doesn’t destroy the Ring of his own will? Well this of course should not be the only factor that is looked at, so in this way he cannot be one.

So I ask people, how can Frodo be considered an Anti Hero?

Oh and I agree that we do harshly judge our heroes.

Boromir88 28/Apr/2006 at 02:42 PM
Merchant of Minas Tirith Points: 3627 Posts: 2473 Joined: 24/Mar/2005

MeM, I agree, I actually think at the beginning of the story Frodo is one of the most heroic characters we encounter.  He has the courage to take the Ring and the whole fate of middle-earth upon his shoulders.  He could have simply returned back to the Shire and passed the Ring onto someone else, but he didn’t, he willingly stood up and accepted the task because of the type of person he was.  As far as Frodo not fighting...he may not be in the biggest battles but he certainly shows courage in fighting. 

On Amon Sul:
Terror overcame Pippin and Merry, and they through themselves flat on the ground.  Sam shrank to Frodo’s side.~A Knife in the Dark
So, while the three hobbits were overcome by their terror Frodo:
At that moment Frodo threw himself forward on the ground, and he heard himself crying aloud: Oh Elbereth!  Gilthoniel!  At the same time he struck at the feet of his enemy.~A Knife in the Dark
Eventhough if in this same section it stated that Frodo was hardly less terrified than his companions, he was the only one to lunge out and attack the Nazgul.

Then later in the Mines of Moria:
Boromir leaped forward and hewed at the arm with all his might; but his sword rang, glanced aside, and fell from his shaken hand.  The blade was notched.
Suddenly, and to his own surprise, Frodo felt a hot wrath blaze up in his heart.  "The Shire!" he cried, and springing beside Boromir, he stooped and stabbed with Sting at his hideous foot.  There was a bellow, and the foot jerked back, nearly wrenching Sting from Frodo’s arm.~The Bridge of Khazad-dum
Frodo certainly wouldn’t be my choice for a warrior in a battle, but he certainly shows his courage and heroism.

Because he doesn’t destroy the Ring of his own will?
As you know, no one could have willingingly dropped in the Ring...Well I’d like to think Tom Bombadil could have, but he would have lost it, or thrown it away before getting to Mount Doom. 

mighty ent man 29/Apr/2006 at 05:21 AM
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Boromir88 - Frodo is one of the most courageous characters I think throughout the whole entire films. He also could have taken the Ring but hidden behind his friends, but no he does not do this. He often takes the lead when he is with Sam, Merry and Pippin. He is a good leader of them and he is wise. These are both heroic qualities that we see him have from early on in the story.

Excellent quote from Weathertop there. I always remember how Frodo had the courage to attack.

Also I think he shows heroic qualities even before Weathertop and Moria. Lets see. He shows good cunning to reach Crickhollow in a stealthy way. And he leaves well. He manages to help get through the Old Forest. He has the knowledge to call for Bombadils help on the Barrow Downs. His main slip up is in Bree of course. But then he has the courage to take up with Strider.

And yes as much as I like Old Tom he would have thrown it away as he did not care for such things. He is so refreshing in that sense, that we meet someone who cares not for the Ring. He brings an atmosphere oj joy to the tale.

Thorondel 06/May/2006 at 09:28 PM
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I would say that if there is an anti-hero anywhere in Tolkien, it would have to be Turin Turambar. Consider, he definatly has a temper (throwing the stein of beer) he is prideful (he refuses to accept that he is wrong about building the bridge at Nargrothrond, and he also refuses to accept Thingol’s offer of clemency) he slays two of the good guys (Beleg Strongbow and the Club-footed guy), brings about the destruction of Nargrothrond, and fails to save Finduilas. Still, he is one of my favorite characters Tolkien ever created; face it, Turin is a frickin’ BAD***! He, like many other anti-heroes, is just all around cool, even with (or perhaps because of) his flaws. Oh, and he has a talking sword.
halfir 26/Jun/2006 at 05:49 PM
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Gerontian wrote:  I want to turn for a moment to the idea of the “tragic hero” in literature

Many moons ago I -along with others -embarked upon a detailed analysis of Frodo under the heading "Frodo-Traitor or Tragic Hero? The title was taken from a correspondent who had angrily written to Tolkien saying that Frodo was a traitor for not destroying the One and should have been thrown into the fires of Mount Doom- along with Tolkien for writing such an ending!X( 

That thread grew to a six-thread analysis of Frodo and demonstrates conclusively the absurdity of the contention that he is in any way an anti-hero.

For those who wish to read it- or part of it, I give the url references below. My point here is to quote one particular post of mine from that series  which to me sums up entirely why Frodo is a hero and in no ways an anti-hero.

Frodo-Traitor or tragic hero? -3



"And thus to his third encounter with the Nazgul Lord- Weathertop- The Ford- and now Cirirth Ungol: ‘The old wound throbbed with pain’”  But,  weary as he is, burdened by the Ring, in close proximity of the Nazgul Lord , feeling a command to put on the One- Frodo resists! “But great as the pressure was, he felt no inclination now to yield. He knew that the Ring would betray him, and that he had not, even if he put it on, the power to face the Morgul –king – not yet”


{I am intrigued by that last sentence : “and that he had not, even if he put it on, the power to face the Morgul –king – not yet(My bold)  I would like to return to it later in a separate post}


His own will refuses the command, but goes into suspension – yet ‘a great power from outside’ is inching his hand towards the chain and the Ring. Then his own will stirs again, forces his hand back and sends it to find the Phial of Galadriel.


As at Amon Hen – when given choice- Frodo chooses for the good. But this is not through some Gandalfian intervention providing opportunity -  this is the force of will of Frodo himself.


Stressed out by the encounter Frodo despairs of his quest. “Even if my errand is performed no one will ever know.”. But again, that hobbit resilience and determination breaks through: “what he had to do he had to do, if he could, and whether Faramir or Aragorn or Elrond or Galadriel or Gandalf on anyone else ever knew about it was beside the purpose.”


What a perfect definition of the heroic spirit! The innate rightness of the deed was enough in itself, even if performed in total anonymity. "


And on an academic note, as Feowen Surandis makes clear in her quote on ’anit-hero’ the teacher in question need to brush-up on his usage of technical literary terminology and it proper application!




Frodo-Traitor or tragic hero – 1


Frodo-Traitor or tragic hero – 2


Frodo-Traitor or tragic hero – 3


Frodo-Traitor or tragic hero – 4


Frodo-Traitor or tragic hero – 5


Frodo-Traitor or tragic hero – 6




In looking through the Letters on another matter I have just  come across- and been reminded of- a perfect context in which to set the true heroism of Frodo and indeed all his hobbit companions. It occurs in Letter # 163 occurs and is when Tolkine is talking about why and how LOTR became the sequel to The Hobbit.


’Anyway I myself saw the value of Hobbits , in putting earth under the feet of ’romance’, and in providing subjects for ’ennoblement’ and heroes more praiseworthy than the professionals: nolo heroizari is as good  a start for a hero as nolo episcopari for a bishop."


’nolo heroizari is as good  a start for a hero as nolo episcopari for a bishop," "I do not wish to be a hero is as good a start for a hero as I do not wish to be made a bishop for a bishop.’


N.B. For a more detailed explanation and understanding of nolo episcopari and it’s relevance here see Letter # 52 and Note 1.

Meril Green 27/Jun/2006 at 09:41 AM
Minstrel of Lothlorien Points: 2632 Posts: 5001 Joined: 31/Jul/2005
I do not think that Frodo would be the "anti-hero" of LotR at all! Though I do not think that there’s one hero alone, Frodo certaintly paid his part. Your teacher says "becasue Frodo failed he would be the anti hero." Well, for that reason, (or related to that reason) I’d say that Frodo would be the hero! He volunteered himself to do such a dangwerous task, basically giving himself to the ring. He sacrificed a lot, and I think failing was inevitable.
ranger2king 28/Jun/2006 at 12:36 PM
Miner of Mordor Points: 647 Posts: 122 Joined: 27/Jun/2006
i wouldnt call frodo an "anti-hero but hes not the complete hero. maybe more of a tragic hero because by definition they have a flaw as to where heros, but he wouldnt really be the hero either because he didnt do what e was supposed to it was all one big accident. if given the chance sam may have been the hero taking it from frodo and throwing it in the fire, so props for samwise the brave...he never seemed to be fazed by the rings power
Bearamir 28/Jun/2006 at 12:47 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008

Ladies & Gentlemen:  I think a small reminder is in order. 

This thread is in the Ad Lore forum because it has the potential of sparking some in-depth  and "creative" dialogue on the question.  Unfortunately, however, several people in this thread didn’t *read* the question...they simply posted what they thought the "right" answer would be (Sadly, what they posted wasn’t  even close).  Moving forward, *please* remember that there are posting guidelines in this forum...I truly do not want to have to delete any more posts from this thread.

Germanis Silvertears 28/Jun/2006 at 02:11 PM
Huorn of Fangorn Points: 621 Posts: 99 Joined: 24/Jun/2006

FRODO ANTI-HERO!!!????!!!!??!!

What I think happened here is this: In FOTR Frodo is portrayed as a kind peacefull Hobbit who mysteriously gets bestowed this great burden with the ring, kind of sad really. And then in TTT we start to see Frodo change into the monster he would eventually become.  This might be the Anti-hero in Frodo, but in all truth, Frodo is not an Anti-hero for, he is a good soul who took appon a great burden and not only this but the one ring changes him during the course of his actions so truely Frodo’s character is not an Anti-hero its the ring that changes him to portray that.

RaistlinMajere 29/Jun/2006 at 11:33 AM
Gardener of Lothlorien Points: 261 Posts: 72 Joined: 28/Jun/2006

Frodo is the hero of the lord of the rings. Even though he himself did not cast the ring into mount doom, he was the one who carried it from the shire to mordor and endured many types of pain. At the end of the story, Frodo was completely changed. That’s how almost all heros end up at the conclusion of their journey. Frodo underwent a transformation on his quest to destroy the ring, and therefore he can be termed a hero because of the many herois deeds that he did.

I invision gollum as the anit-hero. He fits my exact picture of one. Even though gollum did play an important role in the distruction of the ring, he did everything in his power to slay frodo and obtain the ring for his own greedy needs once again.

Kaos the Gold 30/Jun/2006 at 08:39 AM
Blacksmith of Erebor Points: 1279 Posts: 833 Joined: 21/Jun/2006
  Frodo is a hero.  He tramped all over Middle -Earth trying to destroy the ring and he evaded orcs, nazgul, easterlings, orcs, servants of sauron, orcs, Sauron, Gollum and orcs in the proccess.  He had a thousand chances to run away but he didn’t.  He knew he probably woudn’t come back alive from this task but he kept going.  But his only faults are that the ring was slowly corrupting and taking him, to the point where he took the ring for himself, but many people resisted the ring for much less time, for example, Smeagol, Boromir and Isuldur.  Bilbo took much more time to corrupt, but that’s because the ring wasn’t being carried towards Mount Domm, so the ring knew it was safe. Frodo was trying to destroy it, so the ring worked harder to corrupt Frodo.  Also, Frodo wore the ring all of the time, but Bilbo nearly never wore it after the Smaug episode.
Boromir88 01/Jul/2006 at 06:09 PM
Merchant of Minas Tirith Points: 3627 Posts: 2473 Joined: 24/Mar/2005

I think there is a difference between the old mythological heroes, sort of like Legends, and Tolkien’s heroes which tends to be more of the modernized view of a hero.  The mythological ’Legends’ and the ’Knights of Old’ always seem to triumph and for the most part do the ’right’ thing.

I find that there are two basic views of a hero, and of course there’s all these sub-groupings like tragic hero, the Byronnic hero...etc.  But the two basic views:
1) Mythological/Legend- These ones are known for their accomplishments and great feats of strength, nobility, and bravery.  They have a goal/quest and they are praised for these victorious and ’heroic acts.’

I don’t think Frodo fits well into this category.  I perhaps am what Tolkien would call ’simple-minded,’ but I don’t see Frodo fitting in here.  After all what did he accomplish?  He set out on a quest to destroy the Ring, but he personally did not accomplish this.  As Tolkien points out in Letter 192, providence steps in and gets the Ring destroyed.  Frodo spent every last drop of his strength and will, but it wasn’t enough for him to accomplish his goal, he came up short.  Therefor, he personally failed as this type of hero.

I dont even know if too many of Tolkien’s characters fit well with this type of hero, for I think this type it’s expected to do the just and right thing, and I think all of Tolkien’s characters have their flaws.  Sam could fit in here, after all he does accomplish what he set out to do.  He wasn’t out to destroy the Ring, his personal quest was to never leave Frodo and stick with him to the ’end,’ and so Sam does do that, he accomplished his goal.  But, even Sam makes bad decision and always doesn’t do the ’heroic/noble’ thing.  The most known and probably harmful is him causing Gollum to go beyond all redemption.  He mistook Gollum’s pawing, and over-reacted in defense of Frodo, but this ended up causing Gollum to fall beyond redemption.  It was this moment where Sam failed to have Pity and Mercy.  There are times like this where it seems like Sam over-protects Frodo without thinking of the consequences, or perhaps wihtout thinking about whether he is actually hurting the possible success of Frodo’s quest.

Aragorn and them may fit as well, but even they display moments that just don’t seem what a ’hero’ would do.  At Theoden’s gate, Aragorn tries to exercise power over Theoden’s order because he is ’Elendil’s heir’ and King of Gondor, yet he has not received the crown and does not have this power yet.  Gandalf tells Aragorn to back down, and to listen to Theoden’s orders.  So, even the all great and powerful Aragorn has moments where he stumbles.

2) This type of hero is kind of like your soldier.  They show courage and nobility of purpose, meaning sacrificing something of extremem importance for a good cause.  Like a soldier who will sacrifice the most important thing, their life, for (hopefully) what is a good cause.

To me Frodo fits best here, as this view of hero.  Frodo had not failed ’morally.’  He sacrificed his life and put the whole fate of Middle-earth on his shoulders.  He did not fail ’morally’ because he literally could do no more.  He used every drop of strength and will he had, but it wasn’t enough to destroy the Ring.  Tolkien talks about limits, we all have our limits, and when one falls short of those limits, then they could be classified as a ’moral failure’ they didn’t do all that they could possibly do.  Frodo does not fail in these regards, he reached his limit, it just so happened that it wasn’t enough and he was doomed to fail from the beginning.  However, it was his sacrifice and his using every drop of strength he had left that makes him, I think, fit into this classification of a hero.

To get back to my original point, I think Tolkien’s characters are more like the modernized view of a hero.  They are your ordinary people that step out and do extraordinary acts...however they are still human, they are still like us, with their own flaws and their own weaknesses.  They have ’limits’ as Tolkien would say, just like any ordinary person.  Where I think the ancient view of the ’hero’ are those ’Knights in shining armor’ sort of thing....defenders of justice, always victorious, never faltering...and all the hooplah.

In Tolkien’s story I think most seem to be like your ordinary person.  The old days of ’great elves’ and their amazing courage is over.  Of course, even the Elves weren’t perfect, but their power and time is over.  It’s now the time for men.  So, now we get into your ’ordinary human beings.’  All of them with their own weaknesses with a certain few stepping out doing heroic deeds at times and showing great bravery.  However, they are still human, with limits, and are bound to make mistakes, and they are not always ’hero-esque.’

Eglaernil 05/Jul/2006 at 09:38 PM
Garment-crafter of Lothlorien Points: 493 Posts: 39 Joined: 25/Jun/2006

To be an anti-hero, it implies that you are not a hero. The only person in this book that applies would be Sauron. He is an anti-hero in the way that he does nothing heroic. I mean for crackers, he stays in his tower the whole time. There are many heroes in the book though, as you’ll see...

1) Frodo: The closest thing we have to an actual hero. He willingly accepts the risks and responsibility of the Ring, and continues to take it as far as his physical, mental, and emotional power can take it. It’s not his fault that, try as he can, he’s not strong enough at the end.

2) Sam: The secret hero. He is never put into the forfront and shown in the total light. He is always there in the background though, and without his silent efforts, Frodo would not have made it past Emyn Muil. It’s really a good thing then, that he gets to live out a nearly perfect life. He’s the simple man.

3) Arwen: The Heroine. She gives herself wholely not only to Aragorn as love, but as a driving force to get him to challenge Sauron. Without her life on the line, I don’t think he would have had that last umph to do what he did.

4) Gollum: The tragic hero. He is so conflicted. He’s like that good ol’ country boy that moves to the city and gets addicted to heroine. He tries so hard to  be the hero, or just to be good, but he can’t as we see in the end.

Something Else 06/Jul/2006 at 11:07 AM
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I think there is a lot of dispute over the term anti-hero, but the way I understand it is this:

An anti-hero is a central character who is presented in a sympathetic or, to use the modern terminology, "cool" manner, but is clearly "wrong" or "evil" by the story’s morality.

Now, I don’t feel that this applies to Frodo. While he makes poor decisions (claiming the Ring at the end), this implies more failure than any innate evil, given the corrupting nature of the One Ring. Gollum certainly qualifies as an evil character presented sympathetically, however, and as the dramatic result of the story ends up resting mostly on his shoulders, I would say he is certainly an anti-hero. Sauron, however, is not - we don’t empathize with Sauron, or at least I assume we don’t.
Uzakul 06/Jul/2006 at 03:37 PM
Thief of Mordor Points: 295 Posts: 64 Joined: 23/Jan/2006

A tough question which can be viewed from different points of veiw. I personally do not see Frodo as an anti-hero, as this would mean he had the characteristics opposite of a hero. However i do not believe that he is the true hero of the book, as he did give into the ring even though he has suffered and he was the end of his journey. If it werent for Gollum the ring would possibly have been captured by Sauron, but then Gollum is not a  hero either (obviously!) because he is driven mad by the ring and will kill for it. Frodo does not set out with the idea of keeping the ring it is his will that fails him and this is not the behaviour of an anti-hero.

I believe that Samwise is the true hero (as Eglaernil rightly calls him "the secret hero") of the story because without him Frodo would never of got as far as he did, it was Sam who rescued Frodo from Cirith Ugol and was if im correct one of only two who managed to give the ring up (the other being Bilbo).

Anti hero: "A fictional character who has some characteristics that are antiethical to those of a traditional hero"

Catalina of Ara 06/Jul/2006 at 04:40 PM
Apprentice of Minas Tirith Points: 336 Posts: 203 Joined: 14/Jun/2006
When most of us think of the word hero we think of superman and those guys that run around with tights and a cape and doesn’t need anyones help to save the world and get home in time for dinner and thats a bunch of crap because it doesnt exist. Personally, I would call Frodo a hero because he did do many good things like TAKE the ring into Mordor to Mt Doom and everything else but because he didnt necessarily throw the ring in all on his own doesnt mean that hes not a hero because of it. think about it, if someone was a realyl good person who did many great things but they did one wrong thing, does that make them a bad person? No! It only means that they are human and I think that that is what gives frodo that human side, making it seem like hobbits are just little people. Anyway, thats my piece......
Arvellas 06/Jul/2006 at 07:19 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 5462 Posts: 3016 Joined: 16/May/2006

I can see why your teacher might draw that conclusion, but I am inclined to disagree with him.  I do not view failure as being something that can make a hero into an anti-hero.  We all slip up now and then; everybody makes mistakes, and I think that Tolkien was right to incorporate that into his works, because it makes his characters all the more believable.  I have slipped up way too manytimes myself to be able to hold it against Frodo(I think a lot of us could say the same).  It just so happened that he made an abnormally big slipup, but really, considering the power of the Ring, can you blame him?  And would we really remember Frodo the way we do if he had just been able to walk up to the Craggs of Doom, take a deep breathe, pull off the Ring, and toss it in?  I think not.  Every character in Tolkien’s work is flawed in some way, and it is the flaws that add flavor and texture to the story- to our own world and people we know, as a matter of fact.  No, I believe that Frodo did the best he could, and that it was probably the best anyone could have done, and I shall not put him down for it.

As for Gollum being an anti-hero, the Guild of Twisted Lore has some very interesting thoughts about Gollum and his role in LOTR!

Shiraz 07/Jul/2006 at 09:40 PM
Stablemaster of the Mark Points: 679 Posts: 337 Joined: 06/Jul/2006

Frodo is not a here or an antihero. He did not do anything evil which wasn’t the rings fault. The real hero i would say is Gandalf. He orchestrated the whole defence against Sauron and in the end it was his victory. Calling Frodo the anti hero is wrong because anti heros are more or less opposed to the good heros and Frodo was never opposed to them. I would not call him a real hero either since the real hero is none other than good old Gandalf. I believe that there is one real hero in each book and one anti hero. The hero being Gandalf and the anti hero Sauron.

Gollum i would classify as an accident. Pure accident it was which caused him to obtain the ring, pure accident that he helped Frodo to Mordor and pure accident that he destroyed the ring itself.
Calling him the tragic hero might be closer to the mark but that contradicts my single hero single villain theory.

So in summary Frodo is nothing more than a pawn in the contest between Gandalf and Sauron. Or if you prefer Good and Bad.GoodBad

Lord of the Rings 07/Jul/2006 at 10:22 PM
Mandos Points: 8968 Posts: 7368 Joined: 03/Dec/2005
I have always viewed the hero as the one who makes the most important, deciding choice in the story. An anti-hero is a variant of a hero which is primarily ’bad’ or ’immoral’, whereas the traditional hero is good. Frodo makes the central choice by pitying Gollum, and trying to ’save’ him (at least, that is the way I see it). He has courage, wisdom, and a desire to do good, all of which make him a hero, not an anti-hero. (Under another definition of the [anti-]hero which I sometimes use--the character who overcomes the main obstacle of the story--Frodo again fits).

Gollum is not the hero or the anti-hero. He makes no major choice and overcomes no major obstacles (in the main narrative). He is just an important, sometimes sympathetic, secondary character.
Shiraz 09/Jul/2006 at 02:03 AM
Stablemaster of the Mark Points: 679 Posts: 337 Joined: 06/Jul/2006
Gandalf has all of the qualities you say but if viewing the anti-hero as the main obstacle then Gollum would be the anti hero because he tried to kill the hobbits. He overcomes many obstacles as well the biggest one being...himself. Smeagol actually beat himself for a perod of time and thus the hobbits advanced many miles in freedom. Had he been the anti hero he would have throttled them in their sleep in Ithilien thus ending the whole quest rather prematurely.
Ardagon 09/Jul/2006 at 12:01 PM
Gardener of Lothlorien Points: 180 Posts: 30 Joined: 29/Jun/2006
                 No i don’t think so.I definitely wouldn’t call him anti-hero..He took the responsiblity of carrying the ring to Mordor upon himself.It was of no concern to him.He himself volunteered for the job then how could anyone call him anti-hero.And if you are not convinced remember the race to which he belonged.He was no match for those he fought against.Yet he didn’t cover behind anyone.He faced his fate boldly.
Ardagon 09/Jul/2006 at 12:10 PM
Gardener of Lothlorien Points: 180 Posts: 30 Joined: 29/Jun/2006
                You should remember how he faced the orcs in mordor.If he would have been an anti-hero he wouldn’t have left the fellowship to go into mordor alone.If Sam wouldn’t have shown up  he would have went into mordor alone.He did this when he could have simply turned back or else proceeded forward with the fellowship.But he saw that the ring was taking it’s effect upon the members of the fellowship.Not wanting to endanger them he took the vast responsiblity of destroying the ring alone when others (including warrior dwarves, elves, men, and wizard) were highly against taking tis gigantic risk on so slim a fate.
Shiraz 09/Jul/2006 at 06:46 PM
Stablemaster of the Mark Points: 679 Posts: 337 Joined: 06/Jul/2006
I was referring to Gollum as the anti-hero not Frodo. As I have said, Frodo is but a pawn in a contest between Gandalf and Sauron. I accept that he did a lot of great deeds but that just goes to show that in a contest of chess, protect your pawns. Gollum was evil and greedy. He would risk the fate of all of Middle Earth for his precious. If we look at the anti hero as the obstacle then its Gollum, not Sauron.
Hakatri 22/Jul/2006 at 02:35 AM
Historian of Lothlorien Points: 4120 Posts: 1835 Joined: 15/Jul/2006
I think that Frodo definetly was a hero. He took the ring and carries it to Mordor of his own free will. He could easy just keep his mouth shut on Elrond’s council and let someone else do it. Yet he took responisbility. On Anduin he left his companions behind and proceed on his own so ring wouldn’t corrupt them like it did with Boromir. Another bravery on his behalf, maybe foolish but intensions count here. Finally he menage to take ring to Sammath Naur and only there he loses battle with ring, there where rings power was greatest which is a remarkeble feat. In comparison powerfull man like Isildur, who lost his homeland of Numenor, brother and father to that cursed ring, just touch it and ring already took him over. At the end Frodo didn’t have strength for final effort but after everything he already done he deserve a little luck break which comes with Gollum.
BalrogOfMoria 23/Jul/2006 at 05:08 AM
New Soul Points: 58 Posts: 1 Joined: 23/Jul/2006

In my opinion,Frodo is not to be considered an anti-hero because of his "almost-failing" mission.If you consider what pressure the Ring had on Frodo,it’s actually a miracle he managed to get to Mordor.And then he was under more pressure,since the Ring was stronger near it’s Master.The Ring tried to return to Sauron by several ways,each time trying to fall in human hands by provoking their greed,as a final solution,being inside the place it was forged,at it’s full power,fooled Frodo and made him want to keep it for himself.Frodo was helpless against the Ring’s power so he cannot in any way be considered an anti-hero

finrodliandar 30/Jul/2006 at 05:43 AM
Archer of Imladris Points: 459 Posts: 26 Joined: 23/Jul/2006

Frodo is the hero. Not inevitably the most powerfull or the most important, but is the incarnation of what could do common people in uncommun situation: he embodies values of common sense and courage in front of a too big danger for him. He’s one non-evil character. May be saruman is the anti-hero. He’s corrupted but still a great mage, an istar, and I have never found hom really bad. He fell, because of the power of Sauron and his proper lack of will.

<Nessa Edit:  A very interesting assessment of the compliments>

Arien Isil 31/Jul/2006 at 09:46 AM
Scout of Lothlorien Points: 74 Posts: 2 Joined: 31/Jul/2006
Of course Frodo wasn’t an anti-hero. True, at the end he was not willing to throw the Ring into Mt. Doom, but you also have to look at it from a hobbit perspective. He was willing to go against his culture and bear the burden of the Ring on the whole journey and through the hardships of Mordor and whatever else he would face. I think that fact alone makes him a hero.
King Gothmog 31/Jul/2006 at 06:32 PM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 1082 Posts: 506 Joined: 27/Jul/2006
Frodo is not an anti-hero.  Definition of anti-hero by Webster is...
A main character in a dramatic or narrative work who is characterized by a lack of traditional heroic qualities, such as idealism or courage.

or if you prefere... protagonist who lacks the characteristics that would make him a hero (or her a heroine

Frodo has idealism and shows great courage.  What Frodo is is a device called a tragic hero.  A hero that is honorable and hasa tragic flaw.  In Frodo’s case he wasn’t perfect.  That’s his flaw.

Clearly your teacher hasn’t really studied Greek Mythology were the term hero was invented and the concept of a hero.

Possible Anti-Hero’s in Lotr would be Wormtongue and/or Lotho "Pimple" Sackville-Baggins.  Since both are seen as evil or very bad people but did sorta see the err of their ways.

Aragorn Elessar 31/Jul/2006 at 07:30 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2752 Posts: 2848 Joined: 07/Mar/2002
Quote: Originally posted by Gerontian on Thursday, April 13, 2006

Especially with Frodo, I think that it is crucial to distinquish between the heroic and the successful. Why? Many heroes in literature did not ultimately succeed; however their efforts and the quality of their efforts were always what defined them as heroic... 

I agree with Gerontian as well. People tend to look at the ultimate ending of the Ring and Frodo from Point A to Point Z without looking in between. In many senses, yes Frodo is the hero but he did ultimately fail in his mission. He claimed dominion over the Ring and all that it entailed. I would not describe him as neither the hero or the anti-hero, but the everyman. The character that all people can find an element that is relatable to them, has characterisitcs that make him a good person, but can fail and struggle with his ’lot in life’ (so to speak)
Ehtelë Vírië 05/Aug/2006 at 03:43 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 950 Posts: 912 Joined: 21/Oct/2004
An anti-hero, what did he do to be an anti-hero? Mind you, I’ve never heard of the word before. Frodo and Sam saved the world, and even though they were not perfect, how can you qualify them as anti-heros? He wanted, deep inside of his soul, to destroy the Ring, just as Gollum loathed it but loved it, but how can you expect even a hobbit to go against the will and soul of a Mia who is much more powerful than Frodo ever was. He went against what his fellow hobbits told him to do (mentally) and destroyed a think that he did not know much about. Isn’t that a heoric act?