TTT, Book 4, Chapter 10 - The Choices of Master Samwise

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TTT, Book 4, Chapter 10 - The Choices of Master Samwise

Postby Notta Hobbit » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:55 am

Summary

Sam finds Shelob getting ready to drag the ensnared Frodo back to her lair. He attacks her viciously with his sword, and she makes the mistake of squatting down upon Sting. Injured by this and even more by Galadriel's phial, she retreats. Sam cuts the webbing off Frodo but believes he is dead. Griefstricken, Sam debates with himself what to do, and finally takes the Ring and proceeds. He gets to the Cleft, hears orcs, and puts on the Ring to escape. With his enhanced hearing he realizes the orcs are capturing Frodo, and he runs back after them (back into Shelob's tunnel, in fact). He comes to a dead end where he overhears the two orc captains discussing events. They realize that Frodo had a companion, who they decide must be a large Elf, and that Frodo isn't dead but is to be taken to Lugburz. Sam runs to the rescue but the doors of the tower are shut against him.

Questions

1. Sam's discussion with himself mirrors Smeagol's earlier discussion with Gollum. But are there any differences?
2. The two orc captains seem to have individual personalities, wishes, even feelings of a sort. Could there ever be a good orc?
3. Sam thinks Frodo is dead, but still feels the need to protect his corpse. Suppose he'd decided that a corpse is a corpse, and he owed it to Frodo to complete the mission. Would anything have happened differently?
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Re: TTT, Book 4, Chapter 10 - The Choices of Master Samwise

Postby Morwenna » Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:26 pm

This has to be the most tense and heart-wrenching chapter in the whole book.

Yes, the two orcs sound just like any battle-weary soldiers here. Callous, yet looking forward to something better. Can there be a good orc? Maybe. There's at least one thread in Books that debates this question.

I shudder to think what might have happened if Sam hadn't gone back for Frodo. He alone would have had to get the Ring to the fire, but if Frodo were taken to Barad-Dur instead of just his clothes, once he woke up he'd have been questioned and maybe tortured, and Sam might have been caught that way. I can't see Frodo not caving in after all he'd been through so far. And who knows how long he'd have had to wait in that tower if Sam hadn't come for him? That too might have sapped his will.

Sam's discussion with himself is really just himself; he may be of two minds about what he has to do, but he's definitely NOT a split personality!
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Re: TTT, Book 4, Chapter 10 - The Choices of Master Samwise

Postby siddharth » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:36 am

1. What Morwenna said. None of the two thoughts he's thinking of taking are evil. This is actually the universal debate of doing semething v/s the greater good through the view-point of the novel's one of the key figures.

2. As I had said, the book is written from the point of view of the free peoples who think the orcs are inherently and irredeemably evil. So this is one of the few cases, where we actually see some "human" feelings in them. I think this was because Tolkien chose this point to show that the orcs too are not always battle-thirsty. Atleast those of the lower order.
Here's the link to the compassionate orcs thread if you want to read. : viewtopic.php?f=27&t=105050

3. If Sam had left Frodo and himself taken up the task of destroying the Ring, he would have fallen. remember, he had the Ring not too long in his possession and yet he succumbed to the greed quicker than Frodo. I'm guessing, if Sam went on at some point the desire to put on the Ring, combined with the grief of losing the one he loved most would have overcome him. So. He puts the Ring on. And curtain falls.
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Re: TTT, Book 4, Chapter 10 - The Choices of Master Samwise

Postby Morwenna » Mon May 26, 2014 10:44 am

Sam thinks he's got it all wrong from the beginning, but he hasn't. He does say that the choices are to stay and both be captured, or take the Ring and go. So he takes the Ring, but fortunately he doesn't get far; he's able to learn that Frodo is alive and thus to rescue him. But he was right the first time, because if the orcs had come upon the two of them, they'd both have been captured, and the Ring as well. His heart told him he should never have left Frodo, but just for a moment he had a bout of rational planning. (And discounted it after the fact.)
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Re: TTT, Book 4, Chapter 10 - The Choices of Master Samwise

Postby Old_Begonia » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:22 pm

This is not the first time Sam has had a chat with himself. In "The Breaking of the Fellowship", when Frodo has disappeared and the company splits up to find him, Sam follows Aragorn, but falls behind.

"Whoa, Sam Gamgee!" he said aloud. "Your legs are too short, so use your head! Let me see now! Boromir isn't lying, that's not his way; but he hasn't told us everything. Something scared Mr. Frodo badly. He screwed himself up to the point, sudden. He made up is mind at last--to go. Where to? Off East. Not without Sam? Yes, without even his Sam. That's hard, cruel hard."
Sam passed his hand over his eyes, brushing away the tears. "Steady, Gamgee!" he said. "Think, if you can! He can't fly across rivers, and he can't jump waterfalls. He's got no gear. So he's got to get back to the boats. Back to the boats! Back to the boats, Sam, like lightning!"

Notice that this is more 'stream of consciousness' than debate. Tolkien does not separate the two sentences, "Not without Sam?" and "Yes, without even his Sam." It's all run together in a single paragraph. This is Sam consulting himself, as any normal person might do in a moment of stress.

By contrast, the dialogs between Gollum and Sméagol are clearly written as between two different and distinct personalities.
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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