Every story has a conflict. A conflict is a disagreement, which usually provides the plot for a story. The conflict is the basis for everything else included in the work of literature. Usually a person reads the story to see how a conflict is developed and then resolved. This essay, as already states, will be about psychological conflicts.
In the epic tale, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, there are many psychological conflicts involved that all weave together. The conflict I want to focus on, though, is the conflict between the character Boromir and his inner desire to use the Ring for the greater good of his kingdom, namely himself. At first glance, he seems a harmless man. But as the story progresses, so does his infatuation with the Ring. “And Sam saw that while the others restrained themselves and did not stare at him, the eyes of Boromir followed Frodo intently, until he passed out of sight in the trees at the foot of Amon Hen.” Boromir was fighting his mind, deciding right then and there to seize the ring from Frodo. He followed Frodo and at the top of Amon Hen began to talk to him, taking on the guise of a friend. But suddenly he snatched for the Ring, failed in his attempt, and ultimately died valiantly defending Merry and Pippin, two other hobbits, from orcs. He redeemed himself at the end, but the harm was already done. He had lost the battle with his conscious, and in doing so made the rest of the journey so much more difficult for the rest of the Fellowship. Another great example of a psychological conflict is in the story “Leiningen Versus the Ants” by Carl Stephenson. Leiningen’s Brazilian plantation was being attacked by a huge host of army ants. At first glance, the major conflict seems to be an environmental type, man pitted against his environment. But if you look deeper, you will find that the main conflict is between Leiningen and his pride-filled mind. He knew he was a smart man, and he thought that by using his intellect he would be able to keep the ants away. This quote is a good illustration of Leiningen’s pride, his enormous intellect’. “Even here in this Brazilian wilderness, his brain had triumphed over every difficulty and danger it had so far encountered. First he had vanquished primal forces by cunning and organization, then he had enlisted the resources of modern science to increase miraculously the yield of his plantation. And now he was sure he would prove more than a match for the irresistible’ ants.” In short, he was too cocky, and at the end he realized it. Finally he risked his life to save his men, survived, and came out of this whole situation a new man.
Psychological conflicts seem to be the worst kind. For, unlike the others, the actions a person does based on the conflict within shows what kind of person he or she is. Sometimes, this type of conflict can be very helpful. It can defeat the evilness of pride, turn a person around and show him the truth. But it can also be sinister. Fighting yourself is always hard, and you don’t always win. People like to think they can master their own mind, but in reality, they can’t. Tampering with the mind is a most delicate procedure.