“A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes, sooner or later — later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last — sooner or later the dark power will devour him.”

This line is spoken by Gandalf to Frodo when Gandalf returns to the Shire after spending several years researching the Ring that is now in Frodo’s possession. Here, Gandalf describes the way that the Ring corrupts people over time. It is an important section in the novel thematically, as Tolkien establishes that the Ring will represent the corrupting influence of power throughout the rest of the novel and the trilogy as a whole. This line is especially significant because Gandalf gives Frodo, and subsequently the reader, an account of the Ring for the first time.

“Slowly he drew [the Ring] out. Bilbo put out his hand. But Frodo quickly drew back the Ring. To his distress and amazement he found that he was no longer looking at Bilbo; a shadow seemed to have fallen between them, and through it he found himself eyeing a little wrinkled creature with a hungry face and bony groping hands. He felt a desire to strike him.”

This interaction between Frodo and Bilbo occurs during Frodo’s stay at Rivendell for the Council of Elrond. Here, Frodo and Bilbo both get pulled under the influence of the Ring and lose sight of themselves in the process. Frodo’s need to possess the Ring is so great that he, in a moment of madness, contemplates striking his beloved uncle and guardian so that he can keep the Ring for himself. Already, Frodo is starting to feel the corrupting influence of the Ring.

“The very desire of [the Ring] corrupts the heart… And that is another reason why the Ring should be destroyed: as long as it is in the world it will be a danger even to the Wise. For nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so.”

This line is spoken by Elrond at the Council of Elrond after Boromir suggests that they bring the Ring to Gondor and use it to defeat Sauron and his forces. Essentially, Elrond is saying that it is impossible to use the Ring for good, even if you have the very best of intentions. This speaks to the theme of the corrupting influence of power, arguing that evil is not innate and is, instead, solidified over time after a person becomes consumed with the desire for power.

“I pass the test… I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.”

This line is delivered by Galadriel to Frodo during the Fellowship’s stay at Lothlórien. Here, Galadriel is pleased because she was able to resist the temptation to possess the Ring after Frodo offers it to her. This moment offers the reader insight into Galadriel; she is essentially saying that she was able to preserve her sense of self by refusing the Ring. Her musing that she will “remain Galadriel” implies that to possess the Ring is to lose oneself in the process.

“I wish you’d take his Ring. You’d put things to rights…”
    “I would… That is how it would begin. But it would not stop with that, alas!”

This interaction between Sam and Galadriel occurs shortly after she refuses the Ring. Here, Sam tells Galadriel that he wishes she would take the Ring from Frodo because she would use it for good. Galadriel replies that she would but still refuses the Ring because she knows that just because her intentions would start out benevolent does not mean that they would remain so, echoing Elrond’s argument that too much power has the capacity to corrupt anyone.