The Two Towers: Novel Summary: Book IV - Chapter 6

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Summary: Faramir takes Frodo to a dark pool where Gollum is fishing. Anborn wants to shoot Gollum with an arrow, because the creature has trespassed the men of Gondor's secret area. Frodo, however, convinces Faramir to have Anborn stay his bow, and he successfully persuades Gollum to return to him, even though he knows that Gollum will regard him as treacherous, for Faramir's men pin and tie him as soon as he is within reach. Faramir interrogates Gollum and, convinced that he meant no harm to the men of Gondor, releases him to Frodo's custody. He attempts to dissuade Frodo from following Gollum to the pass of Cirith Ungol, for "there is some dark terror that dwells in the passes above Minas Morgul."
 
Analysis: Frodo's insistence upon sparing Gollum's life in this chapter continues the theme of mercy and pity, of course, and provides Tolkien with a further chance to foreshadow the ultimate outcome of the quest: "[T]his creature is in some way bound up with my errand." This chapter also is a further emphasis of the necessity of choice even when such choice is hard and undesirable: as Frodo tells Faramir, "I must take such paths as I can find. And there is no time for long searching." Certainly, Frodo felt "wretched" (the narrator's language) over the choice he made to lure Gollum away from the forbidden pool, even though the action saved Gollum's life. Tolkien clearly intends for readers to empathize with Frodo, and to realize that choices are not always easy, or readily comprehensible to others. Sometimes, however, all we can do, as does Frodo, is "to keep faith, as near as might be, with both sides."




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