The Return of the King
by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Return of the King Good vs. Evil Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph).
"No, Sam!" said Frodo. "Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it."
Saruman rose to his feet, and stared at Frodo. There was a strange look in his eyes of mingled wonder and respect and hatred. "You have grown, Halfling," he said. "Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you! Well, I go and I will trouble you no more. But do not expect me to wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing. I merely foretell." (6.8.228-9)
Throughout this chapter of the "Scouring of the Shire," we see Frodo incredibly reluctant to take a life. Here, as with Gollum, Frodo has every provocation to kill Saruman. If it hadn't been for Frodo's mithril-coat, Saruman would have stabbed Frodo in the belly; what's worse, Saruman is responsible for much of the pointless damage that has been done to the Shire. So Frodo would be forgiven if he allowed Sam to kill Saruman. Instead, Frodo decides, "I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find" his cure. As a sinner himself (what with claiming the Ring and all; to see thoughts on that subject, check out Frodo's "Character Analysis") Frodo is wise and humble enough not to judge others too much. He is willing to believe that anyone who has fallen into evil may be redeemed. So here is the last moral lesson of The Lord of the Rings series: don't be too quick to pass judgment. Instead, believe that everyone can be cured of evil.