Themes, Symbols, and Motifs in “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”
“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” is a film about a ring, which was created to gain power and the consequences it brought to the community. Initially, the ring is owned by Sauron who later loses it when Prince Isildur cuts it off Sauron’s finger. The ring is lost for 2500 years but is found by Bilbo who gives it to Frodo. Frodo and the community in entirety encounter myriads of problems as Sauron makes several attempts to repossess the ring. The film demonstrates how people use evil powers and unacceptable ways to cause fear and force others to surrender or retract from accomplishing their set objectives (Belozorov et al. 11). The movie is full of symbols and allusions that provide additional subtext to the story, while the intricate plot is based on mythological material. This essay explores several themes, symbols, and motifs in the film that are common to myths within the American cultural context.
The film features several key characters that present various themes and fulfill different roles. Frodo Baggins, who is the main character in the film, presents the theme of salvation and assumes the role of “the savior” (Belozorov et al. 10) Amidst the troubles, Frodo believes he must fulfill his duty of returning the ring to Mount Doom, but he does not want to accomplish this by endangering his friends. He decides to continue his journey to Mount Doom alone. By doing this, Frodo takes all responsibility on himself. On the other hand, Gandalf, who is a wizard, assumes the role of “the helper” when he lends a hand to the company and leads them through the caves of Moria.
The predominance of symbols in the film cannot be doubted. One of the key symbols is the ring, which represents power and evil at the same time. The ring is a symbol of trouble in the community as those in possession or close to it face imminent death. Sauron tries to repossess the ring to conquer all, and this sees him abandon a great part of his power (Tolkien 24). Evidently, most of Sauron’s power is held in the ring, and with the power, he can enslave the Middle Earth and unleash an incredible evil with little opposition. The ring symbolizes evil because those in possession of it encounter problems. For instance, Frodo is wounded when in possession of the ring, although he is healed by Elrond. Elrond believes that the ring is a symbol of evil and must be destroyed at the Mount of Doom, also referred to as the Cracks of Doom. The Mount of Doom symbolizes evil as well because those who set out on a journey to the site either die or suffer the attacks of unknown people. The location of the Mount of Doom, deep inside the evil lands of Mordor, highlight its purpose as a symbol of evil. Rivendell is a symbol of healing as every wounded or injured person visits the place. When the Ringwraiths ambush the Hobbits, Frodo is stabbed with a Morgul blade, and he is later taken to Rivendell where he receives help. Moreover, one of the characters, Balrog, represents darkness. Balrog is described as an ancient demon when he confronts the Fellowship as they travel through the Mines of Moria. He has a fiery whip that drags Gandalf down into the dark, which underscores Balrog’s symbolization of darkness.
There are several instances of allusion in the film. Specifically, allusion is evident when Sauron, who is the major villain in the film, is referred to as the “Dark Lord.” Sauron received this name because of his evil actions and attempts to conquer all and dominate. At one point, he uses evil powers to prevent the Fellowship from reaching Mount of Doom where the destruction of the ring was to take place. Sauron also colludes with Saruman to create an army of Uruk-hai that tracks and kills the Fellowship. Another instance of allusion in the film is connected with Rivendell. He is referred to as “The Last Homely House.” The reference appears after some characters, such as Frodo, are healed when they visit the place after attacks. Therefore, Rivendell is considered to be a comfortable or homely place where people can find healing.
As a conclusion, the film is full of mythological elements, allusions and symbols. Some of them may be hard to notice when one watches the movie for the first time. However, if they pay close attention to details, all these symbols and allusions help us understand the story better. For instance, the allusion to the “Dark Lord” can give us an idea how the character is perceived by the director and the author, while the reference to “The Last Homely House” provides an insight as to whether the characters can find help at this place.
Belozorov, Artur, Tilen Prišlič, and Katja Žohar. “Mystical Or Mythical Lord of the Rings?”Secondary School for Catering and Tourism, 2007.
Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Lord of the Rings. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.