Literature Study GuidesThe Lord Of The RingsThe Two Towers Book 4 Chapter 10 Summary

The Lord of the Rings | Study Guide

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Lord of the Rings | The Two Towers (Book 4, Chapter 10) : The Choices of Master Samwise | Summary

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Summary

Sam, seeing Shelob has Frodo, attacks her. Shelob is fierce, but Sam holds up the phial of Galadriel and cries out the words in Elvish. This finally chases Shelob off, but when Sam checks to see how Frodo is, Frodo is cold and lifeless. Convinced Frodo is dead, Sam takes the Ring and vows to finish Frodo's quest on his own.

As Sam goes off alone, he hears Orc voices, and not knowing what else to do, puts on the Ring in order to become invisible. Sam hears the Orcs carrying Frodo's body away. He also learns, by eavesdropping on the Orcs, that Gollum is a known accomplice of Shelob's and often lures others to her lair for her to eat.

Worst of all, he learns Frodo is not actually dead, but simply paralyzed and in a death-like state due to Shelob's poison. As these terrible truths sink in, the Orcs enter their tower and shut the door, taking Frodo with them and locking Sam out.

Analysis

It says something about Sam that he takes on the burden of the Ring but doesn't forsake Frodo. Foremost in his mind is his deep affection for Frodo, his commitment to the quest, and his duty.

The chapter title, "The Choices of Master Samwise," accurately reflects the content of this chapter. Sam must choose what to do when he believes Frodo is dead, and he must choose what to do when he finds out Frodo is actually alive. Up until this point, Frodo and others have made all the decisions. Here, Sam is on his own—he must make these crucial decisions independently, relying only on his own sense of what is right. Sam has been growing in thoughtfulness and maturity all along, and now he is put to the test. Although he does mistake Frodo's paralysis for death, Sam chooses bravery over cowardice, and so becomes a hero in his own right.

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