Though in many ways Frodo is an ordinary hobbit, happy to live among his friends and family in the Shire, his pure, incorruptible heart sets him apart not only from other hobbits but also from the other races of Middle-earth and makes him the ideal candidate to deliver the ring of power to Mordor. Frodo’s mission to destroy the ring involves a treacherous journey and countless dangers, such as orcs, volcanoes, and wraiths, and in facing these obstacles he is no different from the other eight members of the fellowship. However, his task involves much more than this perilous journey to Mordor. His real challenge is to bear the ring without giving in to its temptations. This resistance is Frodo’s inner journey, in which his pure heart is constantly under assault by his darker yearnings for power. The ring tempts others in the fellowship, however good and pure they are. Gandalf, Aragorn, Sam, and Bilbo all have their eyes widen when the ring is before them, and their own weaknesses, despite their often remarkable physical strength, prove how difficult a task for Frodo carrying the ring really is. The difficulty makes his success all the more impressive.

Though the ring is eventually destroyed at Mount Doom, Frodo does not let the ring go on his own, and the destruction of the ring is more an act of chance than an act of will. At the last minute, Frodo is overcome by the ring and gives in to its power, and only in a final struggle with Gollum is the ring torn away from him. In this sense, Frodo fails in his task. However, since no one in Middle-earth was better equipped to carry out the mission than Frodo was, perhaps Frodo’s final struggle suggests that the task would have been impossible for any individual to accomplish without the intervention of luck or providence. Frodo is a hero, certainly, but in many ways the entire fellowship is as responsible for the victory as Frodo himself is.

Frodo carries himself throughout the trilogy with composure and calm, hardly ever flagging in his optimism and dedication to the task at hand, and only when he returns to the Shire and fails to readjust to life there does he reveal how traumatized he has been by the journey. Frodo’s journey took him beyond the point of no return, and though the memory of the Shire was what kept him going in the darkest moments, he cannot actually go back. Like Bilbo, Frodo feels compelled to write down his adventures, but even this does not put him at ease. Ultimately, he departs Middle-earth with the elves, a final gesture that suggests that although Frodo did not actually die during his efforts, he did pay for his journey with his life in the Shire.