For evidence of Gandalf acting within these confines, Mohammadi points to on scene in the Fellowship of the Ring, where Gandalf is attempting to convince Bilbo to relinquish the ring. At Bilbo’s protest, “Gandalf looked again very hard at Bilbo, and there was a gleam in his eyes. ‘I think, Bilbo,’ he said quietly, ‘I should leave it behind. Don't you want to?’”. As Bilbo rejoinders, Gandalf says, “No, but I had to badger you…I wanted the truth. It was important… I should like to know where it is, if you go wandering again. Also I think you have had it quite long enough. You won't need it any more, Bilbo, unless I am quite mistaken” (The Fellowship of the Ring, 45-47). From close examination of this dialogue, it becomes clearer as to why Mohammadi has reached his conclusion. Gandalf almost has a cavalier way of approaching Bilbo’s reticence, rationalizing his prying as a myopic parent would for a child’s own good.
We can see further examples of this in the ensuing discourse. “‘You will be a fool if you do. Bilbo,…You make that clearer with every word you say. It has got far too much hold on you. Let it go! And then you can go yourself, and be free’”. Bilbo rebukes him again, to this Gandalf saying, “‘Now, now, my dear hobbit!...All your long life we have been friends, and you owe me something. Come! Do as you promised: give it up!’” As Bilbo continues to deny him, Gandalf says “It will be my turn to get angry soon,…If you say that again, I shall. Then you will see Gandalf the Grey uncloaked” (The Fellowship of the Ring, 45-47). It appears Gandalf is less interested in explaining his concerns to Bilbo as demanding his immediate compliance. Even if Gandalf is holding Bilbo to his promise to Frodo, (as the third kind of Aristotle’s friend would), he is still framing the conversation in an authoritative, almost parental tone.
Mohammadi defines it as, “Gandalf, with non-verbal expressions, such as face work and angry eyes, presents his power and authority toward him, and verbally expresses his might and higher status to him, and repeats his expressions of doubts and suspicion toward the Hobbit. (Mohammadi). By Mohammadi’s definitions, Gandalf is pursuing an abusive discourse by abusing his audience’s (Bilbo’s) rights while imposing his own. For further evidence, Mohammadi cites a later passage:
“I cannot read the fiery letters,” said Frodo in a quavering voice. “No,” said Gandalf, “but I can. The letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter here. But this in the Common Tongue is what is said, close enough:”
(The Fellowship of the Ring 59-76)
Mohammadi points to this selection as evidence of “STM-based manipulation of discourse understanding. Frodo could not read and comprehend the Black speech of Mordor, but Gandalf could read, and read he did, those words. He then makes the mind of the recipient (Frodo), ready to be manipulated, manipulatively” (Mohammadi). This example makes less sense in defining Gandalf’s overall character, but reveals Mohammadi’s more literal interpretation of his scholarly craft. Even Mohammadi admits by the end of his essay that, “in Gandalf’s case, his interest was to save the Middle-earth and its inhabitants, so he had no any other choice…” but to employ the manipulative discursive strategies that we can see him implementing in these passages (Mohammadi).
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