Some characters are able to foresee misfortunes of the Ring before it is too late. Frodo offers to pass the Ring to Gandalf, but the wizard intelligently refuses. Gandalf responds to Frodo, "Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself" (p. 60). The Dark Lord himself created the Ring, it is all together evil. No matter whose hands the Ring falls into, they would slowly decay into an evil tyrant just as Sauron did when he made the Ring. Gandalf successfully refuses the Ring and if he had not, his mind would have been corrupted.
Not everyone is as clever as Gandalf; in fact most are not, and they suffer. The great power of the Ring corrupts a Hobbit named Smeagol. At the first sight of the Ring, he was immediately entranced. When he wears the Ring, he becomes invisible to all eyes. His new trick enables him to perform evil deeds, consequently everyone hates him and calls him 'Gollum' in disgust. He moves as far away from civilization as possible, and lives under the mountains. He possesses the Ring for too long, and it begins eating up his mind. His mind became angry, and the Ring torments him. "He hated the dark, but hated light more. He hated everything, but he hated the Ring most of all." (p. 54) His Ring began to look after itself rather than Gullom looking after the Ring. He could not get rid of it, because the Ring would not let him. Gullom begins to wither away, and if he were able to maintain ownership of Ring for longer, he would have "faded" and become invisible permanently. When Gullom lost his Ring he committed treason, and became a servant of the Dark Lord, hoping to regain it.
At the council before setting off on the journey to exterminate the Ring, one of the members of Frodo’s fellowship suggests they not destroy the Ring, but rather use it as a weapon against the Dark forces. "Why should we not think that the Great Ring has come into our hands to serve us in the very hour of need? Valor needs first strength, and then a weapon. Let the Ring be your weapon, if it has such power as you say. Take it and go forth to victory" (p. 260). The council tells him, Boromir, that "the very desire of it corrupts the heart... and that is why the Ring should be destroyed: as long as it is in the world it will be a danger even to the Wise. For nothing is evil in the beginning. Even the Dark Lord was not so." (p. 261) Months later, Boromir could not bare it any longer, and requested to see the Ring. At first Frodo says no, but Boromir says that the Ring can also be used for good, and that the Ring is only evil with the enemy. Frodo tries to remind Boromir about the discussions at the council, however Boromir says that "true-hearted men, they will not be corrupted" (p. 389). He continued by saying that he does not want power with Ring, just strength to defend themselves. He thought it was mad no to use it. Eventually, Boromir could not persuade Frodo to hand the Ring over. Reacting to Frodo’s refusal, Boromir becomes very angry, and demands the Ring. Boromir’s "fair and pleasant face was hideously changed; a raging fire was in his eyes." (p. 390). At this moment, Frodo realizes that the evil of the Ring had begun to creep into the company, with Boromir already fallen. He decides to travel alone. He put the Ring on, and runs away from Boromir and his seven other companions in secrecy.
The sorry owner of the Ring after Gullom is Bilbo, and Frodo became his heir. Bilbo controlled the Ring for many years, and not so coincidentally with possession of it he never seemed to grow old. Bilbo also said that the Ring was "growing on his mind" (p. 46), and was always worrying about it. After years of research about the One Ring, Gandalf concludes that Bilbo’s perpetual youth is caused by the Ring. With the Ring, Bilbo will just continue existing, slowly withering away inside, but remaining intact to the human eye. Besides being a fountain of youth, the Ring has many negative effects on Biblo. He becomes restless and uneasy around the Ring. He never suspects the Ring is to blame, and never makes the connection; "That was a sign that the Ring was getting control." (p. 46) He has the Ring for so long, that Gandalf suspects that "it might take a long time [for the Ring’s influence] to wear off before it was safe for him to it see again." (p. 47).
On Frodo's long expedition he unexpectantly meets up with his heir, Bilbo. They exchange greetings and discuss Frodo’s travels, but the conversation quickly becomes about the Ring. "Have you got it here?" Bilbo asked in a whisper. "I can’t help feeling curious, you know, after all I’ve heard. I should very much like to just peep at it again," (p.225). Frodo feels very reluctant to show the Ring to Bilbo, but gives in. When Bilbo sees the Ring in Frodo’s hand, to Frodo’s amazement, Bilbo did not look like Bilbo, "Rather a shadow seemed to have fallen between them, and through it he found himself eyeing a little wrinkled creature with a hungry face and bony groping hand. [Frodo] felt a desire to strike him." (p. 226).
When Frodo sees Bilbo looking as the Ring, he catches a glimpse of what Bilbo’s spirit has become inside, even though on the outside he appears physically fine. Had Bilbo not been kept preserved while wearing the Ring, that is what he would truly look like. The Ring is powerful, and the Ring is beginning to twist Frodo’s mind and how he perceives thing. Bilbo did not literally change when he saw the Ring, it was just the horrible distorted vision of the Ring and is a frightening indication of how it is affecting Frodo. If he sees Bilbo as a disgusting little Gullom-like thief, it suggests how deeply the Ring has already started to possess him. It is his ring. That is the attitude Frodo is displaying, and nobody else must have it. Gullom himself began life as a hobbit, just like Frodo and Bilbo; which neither of them could believe. The potential to become like Gullom exists inside Bilbo, Frodo and each one of us. The Fellowship of the Ring is the adventures and hardships that occur in order for Frodo to come to accept this truth.
The addiction to the One Ring that all the characters had, showed that no one was safe. Even the noble characters who rejected the Ring too, expressed the notion that they were attracted to it. The fascination with the Ring is similar to other dangerous possessions one can acquire in life such as money, alcohol, or power. The true test that everyone must face is whether they are strong enough to withstand the temptation of addiction. Admirable people who deny addiction are successful and trustworthy; while those who are overcome by it, are ultimately doomed.
Frankenstein, the story of a mad scientist who brings the dead back to life, only to discover that he has created a monster, continues to be one of our lasting horror stories. On the 200th anniversary of its original publication, here are the nuts and bolts about the tale that forever touched on our fears about what can go wrong when people play God.
1. FRANKENSTEIN WAS WRITTEN BY A TEENAGER.
Mary Shelley’s teenage years were eventful, to say the least. At age 16, she ran away with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Over the next two years, she gave birth to two children. In 1816, the couple traveled to Switzerland and visited Lord Byron at Villa Diodati. While there, 18-year-old Mary started Frankenstein. It was published in 1818, when she was 20 years old.
2. THE NOVEL CAME OUT OF A GHOST STORY COMPETITION.
The Shelleys visited Switzerland during the “year without a summer.” The eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia had caused severe climate abnormalities and a lot of rain. Stuck inside, the group read ghost stories from the book Fantasmagoriana. It was then that Lord Byron proposed that they have a competition to see who could come up with the best ghost story: Byron, Mary, Percy, or the physician John Polidori.
In the end, of course, Mary won the contest. Neither Byron nor Percy finished a ghost story, although Polidori wrote The Vampyre, which later influenced Bram Stoker while writing Dracula.
3. MARY SAID SHE GOT THE IDEA FROM A DREAM.
At first, Mary had writer’s block, unable to come up with a good idea for a ghost story. Then she had a waking dream—“I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think,” she said. In the introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein [PDF], she described the vision as follows:
“I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life. … He sleeps; but he is awakened; he opens his eyes; behold, the horrid thing stands at his bedside, opening his curtains and looking on him with yellow, watery, but speculative eyes.”
Mary opened her eyes and realized she’d found her story. “What terrified me will terrify others,” she thought. She began working on it the next day.
4. SHELLEY WROTE FRANKENSTEIN IN THE SHADOW OF TRAGEDY.
Before she started Frankenstein, Mary gave birth to a daughter, Clara, who died six weeks later. (In fact, only one of Mary’s four children lived to adulthood.) Soon after the baby died, she wrote in her journal, “Dream that my little baby came to life again—that it had only been cold & that we rubbed it by the fire & it lived—I awake & find no baby—I think about the little thing all day.” This circumstance, as well as the suicide of her half-sister, must have contributed to the novel.
5. FRANKENSTEIN WAS THE NAME OF THE SCIENTIST, NOT THE MONSTER.
In the novel, Victor Frankenstein is the scientist. The monster remains unnamed and is referred to as "monster," “creature,” "demon," and "it.” But if you’ve made the mistake of calling the monster Frankenstein, you’re not alone. Everyone from The Reef novelist Edith Wharton to the writers of the movie Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein has done it.
6. THE NOVEL SHARES ITS NAME WITH A CASTLE.
Mary said she made up the name "Frankenstein." However, Frankenstein is a German name that means Stone of the Franks. What’s more, historian Radu Florescu claimed that the Shelleys visited Castle Frankenstein on a journey up the Rhine River. While there, they must have learned about an unbalanced alchemist named Konrad Dippel, who used to live in the castle. He was trying to create an elixir, called Dippel's Oil, which would make people live for over a hundred years. Like Victor Frankenstein, Dippel was rumored to dig up graves and experiment on the bodies.
7. MANY THOUGHT PERCY SHELLEY WROTE THE WORK.
Frankenstein was first published anonymously. It was dedicated to William Godwin, Mary’s father, and Percy Shelley wrote the preface. Because of these connections, many assumed that Percy Shelley was the author. This myth continued even after Frankenstein was reprinted in Mary’s name. In fact, some people are stillarguing that Percy authored the book. While he edited the book and encouraged Mary to expand the story into a novel, actual authorship is a stretch.
8. THE BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY SLAMMED BY CRITICS.
When Frankenstein came out in 1818, many critics bashed it. “What a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity this work presents,” John Crocker, of the Quarterly Review, wrote. But gothic novels were all the rage, and Frankenstein soon gained readers. In 1823, a play titled "Presumption; or The Fate of Frankenstein" cemented the story’s popularity. In 1831, a new version of the book was published, this time under Mary’s name.
9. FRANKENSTEIN WAS CONSIDERED THE FIRST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL.
In penning her gothic novel, Shelley was writing the first major science fiction novel, as well as inventing the concept of the “mad scientist” and helping establish what would become horror fiction. The influence of the book in popular culture is so huge that the term “Frankenstein” has entered common speech to mean something unnatural and horrendous.
Mary went on to write other science fiction, such as her 1826 short story Roger Dodsworth: The Reanimated Englishman, about a man who has been frozen in ice, and her novel The Last Man, about a survivor in a world destroyed by plague, from the same year.
10. THOMAS EDISON ADAPTED THE STORY FOR FILM.
In 1910, Thomas Edison made a one-reel, 15-minute film of Frankenstein, one of the first horror movies ever made. It was thought lost until it was rediscovered in the 1950s. Watch it above.