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The Significance of the Members of the Fellowship of the Ring
Each of the members of the Fellowship of the Ring played an important role in one way or another. Frodo, the focal point of the Fellowship, is a Hobbit. He, and his fellow Hobbits, Sam, Pippin, and Merry are of extreme significance to the journey. They are the farmers and simple country folk who enjoy a nice pipe while sitting on the porch after a hard day’s work. They drink beer, look forward to parties, and live long, seemingly healthy lives. However, the Hobbits are vital to the survival of the quest. It is their stubbornness, their strong wills, and their commitment to their home, the Shire, which makes them such worthy members of the Fellowship. While Frodo’s role appears to be the most important one, in many ways it is not. Sam is equally as important, if not more so, because it is only through his support and love that Frodo succeeds for as long as he does. Frodo’s final failure occurs when Sam can no longer help him. Merry and Pippin also do their best to help. When Pippin falls to the allure of the Palantir, he actually further advances the quest by confusing Sauron. The adventure that Pippin has as a result of it mirrors Merry’s own adventure, with both of them swearing fealty to a lord and doing their utmost to protect and serve the humans they have learned to love.
Legolas is an Elf, and his role in the Fellowship is tied directly to Gimli, the Dwarf. Legolas is from a lofty people who do not normally concern themselves directly with those around them. They live by themselves and enjoy the best of everything. Yet Legolas undertakes the quest, understanding how vital it is to save the rest of the world. He is like his people, and yet he is different in that he is willing to risk his own life for others, many of which he does not know. Gimli is a Dwarf, and is a mirror of Legolas. Both of them consider themselves better than other races. Gimli considers himself that way because of what his people have wrought. Gimli’s people are workers, and consider what they do to be of the highest caliber of craftsmanship. Legolas and Gimli have a very important role within the Fellowship – they show how old prejudices can be laid aside, and how those who think they are different are really very much the same, and they can get along as friends. While they still have a level of friendly competition, they accept each other readily once they are put into situations where they must join forces or die.
Aragorn is very important to the Fellowship. Since it was his ancestor that kept the Ring from Sauron, he is tied directly to its past. He is also tied to its future because of his right to inherit the throne. He is what people want to see in a King – he is fair, he is intelligent, and he is brave. He is also not completely human, belonging to a race that has a much longer lifespan than humans. Because of this, he is both human and more than human. He is a person that the reader can easily root for, and seeing him put on the throne is an achievement that can be seen as a boon, rather than a disaster, as it might have been if an unsuitable King was appointed.
Boromir is a human, and his significance to the Fellowship is in his behavior towards the ring. While he believes he is doing the right thing, and trying to defend his people, his behavior is of one who is controlled by the desire to rule and the power of the Ring. He feels that his people would benefit from the Ring, but he does not fully comprehend what it can do. He overestimates his own power over the Ring, believing he can control it instead of it controlling him. It becomes obvious how wrong he is when he attacks Frodo. He also realizes it, and attempts to atone for it when the Orcs attack by defending the Hobbits and the rest of the Fellowship. This act shows us that his mistake was one of human folly – a hubris that is easily understood, and one that he regrets after it is done. It is through him that the audience can see and understand what the Ring has done in the past and how it affected humanity.
Gandalf is the wizard of the Fellowship, and his role is very interesting and pivotal. At the beginning of the quest, he is the leader, although he does not wish to be. He attempts to share the power, not wanting to impose his will on others. This shows that Gandalf, like Aragorn, believes in the power of the people, not the power of the powerful. His fall and recovery, or death and rebirth, was a necessary part of the Fellowship. He was not powerful enough to oppose Sauron and Sauroman as he was, but once he comes back, he has attained a new level and is able to do what must be done to save the world. Even with that power, he only does what he must to keep the Fellowship on track. He assists at Minas Tirith, taking over the battle, only when the Steward falls to his own weakness. For all the help that Gandalf renders, he is aware that he is not the most important part of the Fellowship. That belongs to Frodo and Sam, the ones who hold the true destiny in the Ring they carry.
Each member of the Fellowship has an important role. They make statements both on what is good and what is bad about people and society, as well as playing vital parts within the story.