Boromir: Image Of Original Sin
“It is a gift. A gift to the foes of Mordor. Why not use this ring? Long has my father, the Steward of Gondor, kept the forces of Mordor at bay. By the blood of our people are your lands kept safe. Give Gondor the weapon of the enemy. Let us use it against him.
~ Boromir, The Lord Of The Rings, The Fellowship Of The Ring ~
The character of Boromir is one perhaps that can be easily related to. He bore the weight of responsibility for his home, his people, as well as his men. Likewise with every decision Boromir made, he had to bear the weight of those actions. There were times likely he was afraid, confused, frustrated, and even prideful.
Who Is Boromir?
“There was a tall man with a fair and noble face, dark-haired and grey-eyed, proud and stern of glance. His garments were rich, and his cloak was lined with fur and he had a collar of silver in which a single white stone was set; his locks were shorn about his shoulders. On a baldric he wore a great horn tipped with silver that now was laid upon his knees.“
Boromir was both a General and a Captain of the armies of Gondor. As the oldest son of the Steward Denethor II, his duty was to act in service to the White City of Gondor. It is likely too, that had the king not returned, that Boromir would have been the next Steward. Needless to say, Boromir was a man with many responsibilities and the weight of those had to be crushing.
The valiant heir of the Steward is not depicted as an evil man by any means. In fact, Boromir is a respectable and honorable man who cares very deeply for his home land. It is only when he is presented with the idea of an object, the one ring, that he sees the idea of power as a means in which to enable him to protect his people.
Boromir loved Gondor with his whole heart. When we take a closer look at Gondor though, what do we see? The very emblem and most significant part of Gondor was the White Tree, the Tree of the King. The one ring, much like a serpent, called out to Boromir. It tempted him. Goaded him, urging him, trying to convince him that taking it and using it was the right thing to do.
Boromir, like man, was not made bad. Neither were necessarily wicked. It is the ill choices made by each however, that perhaps casts us all in a rather ill light. For Boromir’s temptation by the one ring illustrates only one thing…man’s weakness. Man’s longing for power. The General’s love and pride in serving Gondor, his very love itself, became his greatest weakness as the power offered by the ring acted as his vice much as it did Adam and Eve when they were promised knowledge…or a likeness to God, Himself.
It is for this reason I believe that Boromir stands as a symbol of man’s weakness, not evil, but weakness as well as strength. In essence, you could say he represents the faith of mankind as while it has its strength…in times of trouble, it can seem weak when put to the test.
Genesis 3 New International Version (NIV)
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Adam and Eve were good, God loving people when they were first introduced as God’s children and creations. Yet being unable to see and know the world around them as God did, they likely might have felt a bit insecure. Maybe in their pride, hearing that they might be like God, and wanting much so to be like Him, ate of the fruit they were forbidden to eat.
Would we be so different I wonder? I have to admit knowing things as God does, at times, is something that I sometimes long for in my impatience. I can only imagine how the character of Boromir would feel in his role. Especially given as the whole of Middle Earth itself was threatened by Sauron. Was it so far fetched that Boromir could not see the evil in the ring? Was it so odd that in his love for Gondor and its people that he would seek to use the one ring, in his pride, not realizing that this one ring could not be controlled?
Would we, like Boromir…and as Adam and Eve fall prey to the Devil’s cruel devices? Would we be tempted to do evil merely out of desperation, desire, pride despite our best intentions?
Have you ever been afraid? Perhaps insecure? Angry? Confused? In those times maybe you have done something you regretted.
I cannot count how many times I have…
What can we learn from Boromir’s temptation?
- We too are tempted.
- Even the most good and noble of intentions can lead us to do wrong.
- Our own understanding may not allow us to see the whole picture