The Lord of the Rings, famous movie series that consist of the quest to destroy the Ring and defeat the evil, has significant character roles that can be evaluated by Sartre’s definition of existentialism. Sartre defined existence as chaos that we must impose meaning upon. Sartre particularly focused on following our own consciousness and ego. In the movie, main characters are constantly challenged with the concept of free will. Characters are put in situations where they have to make decisions solely following their ego. The Lord of the Rings clearly reflected on Sartre’s good faith, in which characters assert their meaning on lives and blame no one. A short summary to begin: Frodo Baggins, a hobbit from the Shire, is given a quest to destroy the Ring in the fire of Mount Doom where the Dark Lord, Sauron, resides. Frodo and his friends leave for the Mount Doom. On their way to Mount Doom, Frodo and his friends are constantly challenged with hardships. At the end, Frodo successfully destroys the Ring.
During their journey, main characters display values such as free will, courage, and brotherhood. Each characters show distinct characteristics that can be evaluated by the Sartre’s definition of existentialism. Frodo, who is the carrier of the ring, is perhaps the most vulnerable character. He often complains about his role in the quest. He is severely tempted to give up and return to his hometown. Frodo’s will to destroy the Ring is weak. However, he successfully destroys the ring because of his friends’ sacrifice. Gandalf, the magician, guides Frodo and his friends in this challenging journey. He displays great wisdom and upright character. Gandalf free chooses to fight the evil. Aragorn, the warrior who later crowned, is a key figure in this quest. Similar to Gandalf, Aragorn displays strong will to destroy the Ring and fight the evil. Aragorn always put himself in front of the group.
His leadership skill plays the important role to unite everyone. Characters such as Legolas Greenleaf and Gimli contribute to the successful quest as dedicated members of the group. Sartre rejects Platonic truth. He believed that there is only chaos and we must impose meaning upon the chaos. We can freely choose how to respond to facticity, events that we cannot control. In the Lord of the Rings, the quest to destroy the ring is the facticity. The quest must be completed to defeat the evil and bring peace to the world. In evaluation of characters, I believe that Frodo could have acted more responsibly and courageously in the quest. If he had strong will to destroy the ring, the quest would have been much easier with less sacrifice of his friends. Luckily, his friends’ decision to face the facticity played the major role. The Lord of the Rings is a good movie to learn teamwork and the importance of responsibility and courage. In addition, it is a great movie to watch during your winter break.