Lord of the Rings’ True Heroes

Political concepts related to the novel have abounded, including everything from an examination of the relationship of steward/king to the kingdom and an analogy drawn between the events of the trilogy and the personalities of Joseph Stalin and the West. Perhaps most often, though, the trilogy is used to illustrate the nature of what is meant when we think of the concept of the ‘hero’. The word hero is defined in several ways. In mythology, a hero is often defined as a man with divine ancestry who demonstrates great strength, physically and morally, and great courage. He is typically celebrated for accomplishing impossible deeds, sometimes for the betterment of mankind, and is always favored by the gods, or at least a majority of them. A hero is also a person who gains notoriety as a result of showing great courage or nobility of purpose in the accomplishment of a deed or a lifetime. Those who gain the greatest notoriety are those who have risked their own lives to save the lives of others. In the story, there are a number of characters who emerge as an example of a true hero including Frodo Baggins, Sam Gamgee, Aragorn and Arwen with several minor characters showing definite heroic tendencies.Frodo Baggins easily falls within the category of a hero because he steps up to take on the burden of the ring even after he has been nearly killed just for trying to get it to the elves and knows the heavy price it will inflict on his soul. His greatest wish, once he reaches Rivendell and regains his health, is to return to his comfortable home in Hobbiton and spend his days eating, smoking his pipe and joining his friends in the Hobbiton tavern. While he does not have any family or sweetheart to return home to, he is not a hobbit infected with the wanderlust that had infected his uncle Bilbo and has no desire to acquire the same kind of dubious reputation Bilbo had among his neighbors.