But in Frodo's case, he was taking a risk on behalf of the free people of Middle-earth. The wise knew that it was a 'burden' and that he might fall in the process. Maybe like when Christ became sin for the sake of mankind. Of course, he (Frodo) did fall at the end - but he was praised for bearing the burden and completing the task he agreed to undertake. And if we can use my Chritianity argument for Smeagol, I believe that he would still have had some knowledge that he was about to touch something evil. I think Tolkien would argue for free will in every instance of contact and submission to the ring.idoron wrote:Are they responsible for their inital response only? Or every response, every time? Again, both Boromir and Frodo fall to it, but Frodo gets praise, Boromir does not.MayorOfLongview wrote: I think you'd have to fall back on Tolkien's Christianity at that point. What did he think of pre-destination for instance. Did Judas really have a choice? I think Judas had free will, but God was aware of the choice he'd make beforehand. My opinion would still be that free choice played a factor. Gandalf KNEW he couldn't resist it, so he made the CHOICE not to handle it. We make those choices everyday regarding one temptation or another. I believe therefore that Tolkien would say that each person was responsible for their own response to the ring. Boromir WAS warned of the ring's power, but continued to flirt with it until it finally destroyed the Fellowship and his life.
Smeagol didn't even have the opportunity to know that it needed resisting, though.
And Tolkien's value judgement of the characters is seperate from the telling of the story. That doesn't mean he is right or wrong, and his feelings should be considered, but are no less valid than ours.
Back to Boromir, I still compare it to temptation. He was warned, he ignored the warnings, he fell to the evil of the ring. BUT - he got a last chance to redeem himself and he did. He shook himself free of the temptation (too late to save the party from disaster maybe) and fought a noble fight in defense of the hobbits. Aragorn said he died well. In fact, he and Legolas sang him a mighty two-page dirge and said much in praise of him at his death.
So, in a way I guess it did overpower him for a few moments. But could it not be said that he gave over his will to the ring? Isn't that what happens when men confront strong temptation? Of course I'm only hammering on this point because I think that's the way that Tolkien might have viewed it. I tend to view the whole of LOTRs with a slant toward Christianity these days.