Comment on the purpose of Saruman’s ring:
Comment on the purpose of Saruman’s ring:
- There are multiple possibilities for the function of the ring that Saruman wears. These include enhancement of his native power of persuasion and defense against others’ domination of him.
- Part of Saruman’s purpose in wearing the ring during this conversation with Gandalf may be to test its effectiveness against the powers of other members of the White Council.
- Saruman’s original purpose as the White wizard was to oppose Sauron, and having studied Sauron’s ring lore, he may have thought he needed to protect himself from Sauron’s will.
- Note: This will be echoed in Elrond’s statement of dangers of studying the ways of the Enemy.
- It’s also possible that the Ring of Fire has unknowingly contaminated this test of Saruman’s ring.
- It seems more like Saruman’s character to create a ring with an offensive purpose than a defensive one, as it is fueled by his pride, and the defense of the hobbits is fueled by humility.
- While he may have started studying Sauron’s arts and setting himself up as a Power in his own right may have started out with the best of intentions but has been corrupted by his pride.
- Saruman may even now still think that he is one of good powers, though he has in fact fallen.
- Though Saruman refers to the “Ruler” as a progression from the “Power”, he is also being vaguer about who the “Power” is and therefore who the “Ruler” would be, if meaning himself.
- Gandalf’s rebuke begins by refuting the emptiness of Saruman’s ideas of sharing power, and therefore that his words are a deliberate lie, and that Saruman really means to claim the Ring.
- He points out the transparency of Saruman’s desire, and wishes for him to speak plainly at last.
- If Saruman is going into this conversation assuming that Gandalf has either claimed the Ring or is hiding the Ring in the Shire, then his real purpose is to get Gandalf to reveal the Ring to him.
- Gandalf’s refusal to give the Ring to Saruman is an acknowledgment of this fact to Saruman, but also that possessing the Ring is Saruman’s intention, though justified by keeping it from Sauron.
- By using the past tense “were”, Gandalf is stating that Saruman will no longer be head, or part, of the Council, and that if he thinks his intentions are still good, Saruman is deluding himself.
- In his dereliction of duty as the White, and in deceiving the Council, he has vacated this post.
- Saruman parallels Sauron after this unmasking in that he can no longer take a fair form to deceive others, though here it is more metaphorical, while with Sauron it is physically manifest.
- Gandalf rejects all of Saruman’s distracting arguments to lay bare the real choice. He uses sarcasm to show the false dichotomy between serving Sauron or Saruman as the only options.
- Saruman is not only affronted by Gandalf’s sarcasm and defiance, and by the lack of persuasion the arguments have had over him, but he may think that this is due to Gandalf claiming the Ring.
- He may interpret Gandalf’s statement about only one hand wielding the One as proof of this.
- Note: Gandalf will later assume the superiority in fact that Saruman suspects him of claiming now as a possible new Ring-lord, and Gandalf will indeed offer Saruman the choice to assist him.
- By the time that Saruman offers him the third choice of imprisonment, he has now concluded that Gandalf doesn’t actually have the Ring and sees this as a show of Gandalf’s lack of wisdom.
- That Gandalf would have found the Ring and not claim it is folly as it would have benefited him.
- He also sees Gandalf’s hope of hiding the Ring from Sauron in the vain effort to defeat him is something that Saruman also sees as foolish as it pertains to doing good for others.
- That Saruman sees acting on one’s selfish behalf as wisdom goes against the overall purpose of the Istari from the beginning, and Gandalf understands that the means to an end matter.
- For Saruman, the only wise course for Gandalf in this situation is not only supplicating to Saruman, but also acquiescing to his arguments as the only valid viewpoint on Sauron’s power.
- When does Saruman conclude that Gandalf doesn’t have the Ring with him? He states that conclusion when he threatens to force him to reveal where the Ring may be found.
- He may come to this conclusion when Gandalf resorts to sarcasm rather than revealing the Ring and using it against him. When he is described as cold and perilous may be that moment.
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