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"Few Have Achieved Such a Victory:" A Defense of Boromir in The Lord of the Rings


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Boromir’s character in The Lord of the Rings is sometimes remembered chiefly for his brief defeat by the Ring. Though this is a simple way to identify his character, it does not consider his subsequent redemption and the goodness he demonstrates in other parts of the story. This article seeks to provide a more complete portrait of the Steward’s son. The first portion examines Boromir’s words and actions throughout the story, good and bad. The second portion discusses his brief fall, including the temptation of the Ring and the significance of Boromir’s redemption. Examples of other characters’ temptations and analysis of what constitutes victory according to characters and Tolkien himself are specifically addressed. The third portion looks at the influences Boromir’s family members had on him and their perception of him. When all of these factors are taken into account together, Boromir is still seen as a flawed character, but we can see that his flaws and mistakes reflect our own. His redemption is truly his most important act and the one that leaves the greatest impact on the Fellowship, meaning that he ultimately achieved victory and a place among the heroes of Middle-earth.