Gollum vs. Smeagol

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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The Two Towers is the second book in J.R.R. Tolkien?s epic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. In this book, Gollum, a character in which people know little about, plays a very important role. From the previous books The Hobbit (which is the prequel to The Lord of the Rings) and The Fellowship of the Ring, he is portrayed as an evil being that will do anything to possess his ?precious?, which is the one ring that was made by the dark lord Sauron. In The Two Towers however, some light is shed on what Gollum was like before he obtained the ring through his alter-ego Smeagol. The creature Gollum is a prime example of the ring?s power and how it corrupts all who possess it. Throughout The Two Towers it can be seen that Gollum has two different personalities, and that there is some good deep down inside of him.

Throughout the book Gollum wrestles with the good and evil inside him.

The character Gollum is a filthy, devious, and evil creature. Despite this, he is a very cunning being as well. He is notorious for these reasons and very dangerous. However there is another side to Gollum which is brought out of the darkness in this book by Frodo Baggins. This other side is his alter-ego Smeagol. Smeagol surprisingly, was once a hobbit like Frodo and Samwise Gamgee, but the ring deformed his body and warped his mind. He was a humble yet somewhat paranoid hobbit (Serkis 1). Another attribute of Smeagol was that he was trustworthy; this is something that Gollum was most certainly not. This sharp contrast in the two characters shows the tremendous power of evil in the ring. The ring transformed the humble creature of Smeagol into the devious creature of Gollum.

The one ring came into existence a very long time before Gollum came into possession of it. It began with the formation of the rings of power. Three rings were given to the elven lords who were the wisest and fairest of all beings. Seven rings were given to the dwarf lords who were master craftsmen of the mountains and caves. Finally, nine rings were given to the rulers of men, who all the creatures of the world desired power. In these rings was the power to govern all of the races of the world. However they were all deceived, for there was another ring that was forged in secret of the land of Mordor. Deep in the fires of Mount Doom, the dark lord Sauron created a master ring in which he poured all of his hate and malice. This was the one ring that would rule them all. One by one the lands of Middle Earth began to fall to Mordor. Despite this, there were some who resisted Sauron. Isildur took up his father?s sword, defeated Sauron, and the one ring passed to him. He could have destroyed the ring but he allowed evil to live on and it lead him to his death. The ring was then lost from the world and became a myth. It was forgotten about for two and a half thousand years, until it by chance a new possessor picked it up. This possessor was a friend of a hobbit named Smeagol (Fellowship, motion picture).

Smeagol first came to bear the ring by killing his friend for it (Lord 1). There in the darkness the ring laid in the hands of Smeagol. For five hundred years it consumed and corrupted his mind and it deformed him physically as well. The name Smeagol progressively changed along with his former self and he was given the name Gollum. However the ring abandoned Gollum and unexpectedly fell into the unlikely hands of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. Gollum?s need for the ring would pull him to the ends of the earth in pursuit of it. This need would eventually lead him to the rocky cliffs of Emyn Muil where he would meet with Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee who were on there way to destroy the ring for good.

Gollum had been following Frodo and Samwise periodically while they were on their journey to Mordor. He knew that they had the ring and he aimed to get it back from them no matter what the cost was. The two hobbits eventually realized that they were being followed and who it was that they were being followed by. Frodo and Samwise knew why he was in the cliffs of Emyn Muil, so they waited for him and captured him. Gollum put up a tremendous fight and nearly stole the ring right from Frodo?s neck before the hobbits finally could gain control of him. The hobbits described Gollum as an untrustworthy, loathsome, and despicable creature. However, this image of Gollum would change as the similarities between Frodo and Gollum became more evident. Knowing the effect that the ring had on its bearer, Frodo began to see that there was more to the creature Gollum than he had originally thought. The friendship of Frodo and Sam would be tried as Frodo would try to bring out the good side of Gollum from its years of entrapment.

When Gollum was captured by the hobbits they tied him up with a rope made by the elves. He pleaded with the hobbits to take the rope off because it was an elven rope and it burned him, but the hobbits did not trust him enough to release him from his binds. Through his cries for release he promised on the ?precious? (the ring), that he would be Frodo and Samwise?s guide on the journey to Mordor. Samwise still insisted that they should keep Gollum tied up, but Frodo on the other hand saw a glimmer of something in him and untied Gollum. The faint glimmer that Frodo saw in Gollum was the good in his former self, Smeagol.

When Gollum was released by Frodo from his binds, it was the beginning of an ongoing battle between Smeagol and Gollum. Throughout the journey to Mordor, Smeagol was beginning to take the place of Gollum and revert back to his old personality. Smeagol likes Frodo, who he calls master, but he doesn?t like Samwise because he doesn?t trust him. Along their trip, the two hobbits were captured by the men of Gondor, while Smeagol was gone finding food. The men knew that the hobbits had another companion and they needed Frodo?s help to catch him. Frodo did not want to do this, but if he didn?t, they would kill Smeagol. Frodo felt pity for Smeagol because he understood why he was the way he was and he had come to like him along their trip. Frodo did as the men asked and lured Smeagol into a trap. Smeagol felt betrayed because he trusted Frodo. At that moment, the evil in Smeagol was revived and the infamous Gollum was back.

Although Smeagol had been brought back from the past, it did not last for long. All that was needed to bring Gollum back was one small feeling of hate or betrayal. As soon as Smeagol was trapped, Gollum was back, and he was as hateful and deceitful as ever.

The reason for all of these happenings reverts back to one thing...the ring of power. The ring has a greater amount of power than can be imagined and as it neared the hand of its master, its power increased. Gollum symbolizes all of the hate and evil power that lies in this ring. He is a primary example of this tremendous power and why the ring must be destroyed.