14

When Shelob stinged Frodo, Sam luckily gets the sword, Sting, the Phial of Galadriel, and the Ring from Shelob's lair. After Sam defeats Shelob, he saw that orcs came by to kidnap Frodo and take him to Cirith Ungol.

The orcs at Cirith Ungol were fighting each other. Fortunately for Sam, he was able to get into the top of the tower without having a fight (except at the staircase). When he reached the top, he gave the ring back to Frodo.

They dressed up like orcs to reach Mount Doom. But soon after when they are at the slopes, they removed their orc disguises. Looking at the picture,Frodo is exhausted. My question is this, "Why can't Sam just grab the ring and run into Mount Doom and destroy it to end it all there? It's only a short distance. Sam knows that the Ring is corrupting Frodo, such as when Frodo accuses him of throwing Lembas Bread, being unconscious, and not on his right mind. Sam also notices that Frodo barely sleeps.

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    I don't have the sources for an answer (yet), but I think the main reason is that Sam loves Frodo, and doesn't want to leave him behind. They're both exhausted, they both seem to understand they're walking to their deaths. Sam doesn't want to die alone, and he definitely doesn't want Frodo to. – DaaaahWhoosh Jul 27 '17 at 17:57
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    What do you mean, it's only a short distance? It took them 11 days to get from Cirith Ungol to Mount Doom. – Daniel Roseman Jul 27 '17 at 20:03
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    @TheWitchKingofAngmar- I suggest you read the books. It'll show you how (much more) painful the journey to Mount Doom was. The books give a much better representation of Frodo and Sam's struggle in Mordor than the Jacksonverse. And as Daniel kindly points out, it was most definitely not a short distance from Cirith Ungol to Orodruin. – Mat Cauthon Jul 27 '17 at 22:02
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    I think if Sam had tried to take the Ring away, Frodo would have found the energy to fight him off. That wouldn't have gone well. – Harry Johnston Jul 27 '17 at 23:39
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    You should probably neglect throwing of lembas as it was a movie quirk. – RedBaron Aug 7 '17 at 7:07
25

The text seems to indicate three reasons:

1) The task was appointed solely to Frodo

Over and over, Sam has heard that the task is Frodo's and Frodo's alone.

Here are several quotes the text of the book:

"I think that this task is appointed for you Frodo, and that if you do not find a way, no one will."

-Elrond

"Well Frodo", said Aragorn at last. "I fear that the burden is laid upon you. You are the Bearer appointed by the Council."

-Aragorn

"...for it was appointed to me by Elrond of Imladris himself before the whole Council."

-Frodo

2) Sam knew the ring would corrupt him and he could not bear it

Of special note I think is Elrond's statement that if Frodo cannot do it, no one can. Sam did indeed become a ringbearer for a brief time, but when he was in possession of it:

He felt that he had from now on only two choices: to forbear* the Ring, though it would torment him; or to claim it, and challenge the Power that sat in its dark hold beyond the valley of shadows. Already the ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason. Wild fantasies arose in his mind.....in that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped him most...he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden.

Sam knows he cannot bear the Ring or destroy it.

"Come, Mr. Frodo!" he cried. "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear. Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he'll go."

3) Sam didn't know where to go even if he could bear the ring

Additionally, Sam did not know where to go. Yes, in the film it looks obvious, but in the book, they are only at the foot of the mountain when Sam starts to carry Frodo:

"Thank you, Sam", he said in a cracked whisper. "How far is there to go?" "I don't know", said Sam, "because I don't know where we're going."

* forbear: [definition: restraint, refrain] Note the choices Sam gives himself do not include destroying the Ring. He concludes to himself his only options are to keep it but not wield it (like Gollum) or challenge Sauron.

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    @NKCampbell I suggest you scrap the first idea. It's not really relevant, I mean yes it's Frodo's task, but Sam's not dimwitted, if Frodo couldn't do it he'd have tried himself. – Edlothiad Jul 27 '17 at 17:32
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    I just want to point out that Elrond emphatically did not appoint Frodo and took pains to deny he could lay such a burden on anyone. He approved of Frodo's choice to put himself forward for the task. Frodo's quote is actually a distillation of the reality when he was on the defensive, and also potentially self-serving in that he would be incapable of giving it up at that time during the story. – Yorik Jul 27 '17 at 17:44
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    Not sure if it is supported, but I think Sam shows incredible loyalty to Frodo through the story. I think Sam would have supported Frodo, even if Frodo wanted to turn around at any point and keep the ring. If Frodo wanted to carry it, I think Sam would have supported Frodo carrying it. For Sam, I don't think it was really ever about the ring, it was about supporting Frodo. – Zoredache Jul 27 '17 at 17:58
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    And Sam saw his role as helping Frodo bear the burden, not taking the burden from him. – RichS Jul 30 '17 at 19:56
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    Getting back to the main point, why didn't Sam just take the ring, He would not have been able to. Despite Frodo's weakness, his addiction to the ring would have meant he would have killed Sam to get it back and potentially would have gone the way of Gollum. Even when Sam rescued Frodo from the orcs his first insistent thought was to get the ring back. – Richard C Aug 8 '17 at 13:34
15

TL;DR

For me the only reason is that Sam loved Frodo. He knew taking the thing while Frodo lived would be the greatest torture for Frodo. He realises he can't make Frodo part with the ring without doing great psychological/physical harm to him. At the very end, instead of carrying the ring, he carries Frodo on his back to the doors of Mount Doom.


Long version

Sam takes the ring when he thinks Frodo is dead

This means he is not averse to fulfilling the quest on his own.

When Frodo was poisoned by Shelob and Sam though he had passed away, Sam was overwhelmed with grief. He couldn't leave "dead" Frodo but he also understood that he had to go on. His struggle is depicted in Book-IV(Chapter-10) (emphasis mine),

'What shall I do, what shall I do?' he said. 'Did I come all this way with him for nothing?' And then he remembered his own voice speaking words that at the time he did not understand himself, at the beginning of their journey: I have something to do before the end. I must see it through, sir, if you understand.

'But what can I do? Not leave Mr. Frodo dead, unburied on the top of the mountains, and go home? Or go on? Go on?' he repeated, and for a moment doubt and fear shook him. 'Go on? Is that what I've got to do? And leave him?'

'If I'm to go on,' he said, 'then I must take your sword, by your leave, Mr. Frodo, but I'll put this one to lie by you, as it lay by the old king in the barrow; and you've got your beautiful mithril coat from old Mr. Bilbo. And your star-glass, Mr. Frodo, you did lend it to me and I'll need it, for I'll be always in the dark now. It's too good for me, and the Lady gave it to you, but maybe she'd understand. Do you understand, Mr. Frodo? I've got to go on.'

'What? Me, alone, go to the Crack of Doom and all?' He quailed still, but the resolve grew. 'What? Me take the Ring from him? The Council gave it to him.'

But the answer came at once: 'And the Council gave him companions, so that the errand should not fail. And you are the last of all the Company. The errand must not fail.''Let me see now: if we're found here, or Mr. Frodo's found, and that Thing's on him, well, the Enemy will get it. And that's the end of all of us, of Lorien, and Rivendell, and the Shire and all. And there is no time to lose, or it'll be the end anyway. The war's begun, and more than likely things are all going the Enemy's way already. No chance to go back with It and get advice or permission. No, it's sit here till they come and kill me over master's body, and gets It: or take It and go.' He drew a deep breath. 'Then take It, it is!'

So Sam reluctantly took over this burden. Thereafter he also had to put it on to escape the orcs.

Sam is not easily corrupted by the lure of the ring

When he realised Frodo was not dead (having heard the orc leader speak about this), he was besides himself with anger and all his earlier resolve was forgotten. In Book Six(Chapter-1) we see that Sam only wants to rescue his master and is not tempted by thoughts of being THE ring master.

He no longer had any doubt about his duty: he must rescue his master or perish in the attempt.

As Sam stood there, even though the Ring was not on him but hanging by its chain about his neck, he felt himself enlarged, as if he were robed in a huge distorted shadow of himself, a vast and ominous threat halted upon the walls of Mordor. He felt that he had from now on only two choices: to forbear the Ring, though it would torment him; or to claim it, and challenge the Power that sat in its dark hold beyond the valley of shadows. Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason. Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dur. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be.

In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.

His heart is not corrupted by the ring (again the love for Frodo plays its part).

Sam sees the control ring has over Frodo

When he finally rescued Frodo and gave the ring back to him he was amazed at the pull ring had began to exert on Frodo.

'All right, Mr. Frodo,' said Sam, rather startled. 'Here it is!' Slowly he drew the Ring out and passed the chain over his head. 'But you're in the land of Mordor now, sir; and when you get out, you'll see the Fiery Mountain and all. You'll find the Ring very dangerous now, and very hard to bear. If it's too hard a job, I could share it with you, maybe?'

'No, no!' cried Frodo, snatching the Ring and chain from Sam's hands. 'No you won't, you thief!' He panted, staring at Sam with eyes wide with fear and enmity. Then suddenly, clasping the Ring in one clenched fist, he stood aghast. A mist seemed to clear from his eyes, and he passed a hand over his aching brow. The hideous vision had seemed so real to him, half bemused as he was still with wound and fear. Sam had changed before his very eyes into an orc again, leering and pawing at his treasure, a foul little creature with greedy eyes and slobbering mouth. But now the vision had passed. There was Sam kneeling before him, his face wrung with pain, as if he had been stabbed in the heart; tears welled from his eyes.

'O Sam!' cried Frodo. 'What have I said? What have I done? Forgive me! After all you have done. It is the horrible power of the Ring. I wish it had never, never, been found. But don't mind me, Sam. I must carry the burden to the end. It can't be altered. You can't come between me and this doom.'

Frodo himself explained to him that it was his destiny to destroy the ring and I think Sam too saw that he could not "take" the ring without hurting Frodo (also he felt no inclination to do so)

The scene that you have referenced happens in Book-Six(Chapter-3)

'I can't manage it, Sam,' he said. 'It is such a weight to carry, such a weight.'

Sam knew before he spoke, that it was vain, and that such words might do more harm than good, but in his pity he could not keep silent. 'Then let me carry it a bit for you, Master,' he said. 'You know I would, and gladly, as long as I have any strength.'

A wild light came into Frodo's eyes. 'Stand away! Don't touch me!' he cried. 'It is mine, I say. Be off!' His hand strayed to his sword-hilt. But then quickly his voice changed. 'No, no, Sam,' he said sadly. 'But you must understand. It is my burden, and no one else can bear it. It is too late now, Sam dear. You can't help me in that way again. I am almost in its power now. I could not give it up, and if you tried to take it I should go mad.'

So here Frodo himself answers your question. He has finally succumbed to the ring's power and Sam can't take it from him by force without doing serious harm to Frodo. We know Sam loves Frodo too dearly (and is also too wise) to attempt anything so foolish. Thus when the time comes, he makes his decision

'Come, Mr. Frodo!' he cried. 'I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he'll go.'

  • Sam knew before he spoke, that it was vain, and that such words might do more harm than good, but in his pity he could not keep silent. 'Then let me carry it a bit for you, Master,' he said. 'You know I would, and gladly, as long as I have any strength.' A wild light came into Frodo's eyes. 'Stand away! Don't touch me!' he cried. 'It is mine, I say. Be off!'...But then quickly his voice changed. 'No, no, Sam,' he said sadly. 'But you must understand. It is my burden, and no one else can bear it. <-- Looks like the canonical answer to me – David Roberts Aug 27 '17 at 12:18
  • +10000000000 I wish I could make this the most highly-voted answer. I feel like it better captures Sam's motivation. The accepted answer kind of touches on this, but I think this sums it up very nicely. – Quasi_Stomach Jan 8 '18 at 21:16
3

After Shelob attacked and seemingly killed Frodo, Sam took the Ring, intending to complete the quest on his own. Because he held the Ring for a time, he was considered one of the Ring-bearers and during the time he possessed it the Ring tempted him with visions of a great garden all for himself. Being humble, Sam never gave into the treacherous visions and temptations of the Ring, and returned it when he discovered Frodo alive in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. He and Bilbo were the only ones ever to have given up the ring willingly, and only Sam surrendered it readily.

Sam was devoted and loyal to Frodo and so on realising he was alive and that he had abandoned him he went back to save him. There was no ulterior motive or deep thinking here, it was him wanting to save his best friend from whatever tortures the orcs and Sauron might have planned.

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    Could you provide a source for that quote? – Mat Cauthon Aug 5 '17 at 5:47
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    lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Samwise_Gamgee is the site I pulled the above quote from, but I reread the trilogy over the past 3-4 days – Richard C Aug 8 '17 at 13:28
  • ‘What shall I do, what shall I do?’ he said. ‘Did I come all this way with him for nothing?’ And then he remembered his own voice speaking words that at the time he did not understand himself, at the beginning of their journey: I have something to do before the end. I must see it through, sir, if you understand. ‘But what can I do? Not leave Mr. Frodo dead, unburied on the top of the mountains, and go home? Or go on? Go on?’ he repeated, and for a moment doubt and fear shook him. ‘Go on? Is that what I’ve got to do? And leave him?’ Then at last he began to weep;... – Richard C Aug 8 '17 at 13:28
  • ‘What am I to do then?’ he cried again, and now he seemed plainly to know the hard answer: see it through. Another lonely journey, and the worst. ‘What? Me, alone, go to the Crack of Doom and all?’ He quailed still, but the resolve grew. ‘What? Me take the Ring from him? The Council gave it to him.’ But the answer came at once: ‘And the Council gave him companions, so that the errand should not fail. And you are the last of all the Company. The errand must not fail.’... – Richard C Aug 8 '17 at 13:28
  • And then he bent his own neck and put the chain upon it, and at once his head was bowed to the ground with the weight of the Ring, as if a great stone had been strung on him. But slowly, as if the weight became less, or new strength grew in him, he raised his head, and then with a great effort got to his feet and found that he could walk and bear his burden. – Richard C Aug 8 '17 at 13:29
1

There are some very good answers here. The one thing they don't touch on is the master servant relationship.

The basis of the Class system in England (which Toklen transplanted in some way to the Shire) was that the upper class were inherently superior to the masses.

How many times do we hear "Master Frodo"? While there is definitely affection between the two Hobbits they never consider themselves as equals.

While Sam would try the task if there was no Frodo, he considers it his duty to help Frodo while he is still alive. Even if it to the outsider does not seem like the most logical course of action. His job is to serve his master, not to take on his masters' duties.

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