In the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, I always believed that Gollum talks to the Ring 'precious' as a person. I was rewatching The Two Towers and I noticed during Frodo and Sam's first encounter with Golum, Gollum is talking like this:

Sam: It’s hopeless! Every Orc in Mordor’s going to hear this racket! Let’s just tie him up and leave him.
Gollum: No! That would kill us! Kill us!
Sam: It’s no more than you deserve!
Frodo: Maybe he does deserve to die, but now that I see him, I do pity him.
Gollum: We be nice to them if they be nice to us. Take it off us. We swears to do what you wants. We swears.

Here, Gollum is talking to himself like another person but not to the ring. Does he have another split personality or multiple personality disorder? So, how many personalities did Gollum have as split personalities? Also, is Smeagol is one of them?

2 Answers 2


The superego of Smeagol continues to undergo the process of being subverted by the superego of the Ring; the result is Gollum. Gollum does not differentiate that Smeagol and the Ring are two distinct superegos while recognizing they are two conflicted parts of one personality; hence referring to himself in the plural "we" and "us". There are times when these two conflicted personalities have moral arguments (depicted in the movie via abruptly changing facial expressions of "meanness" and "compassion").

  • So, is it 3 personalities Gollum, Ring or Smeagol ?
    – Panther
    Jan 8, 2017 at 19:10
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    Personalities (superegos), from our point of view: 3 (the Ring, declining Smeagol, increasing Gollum); from Gollum's point of view: 1 (in conflict with itself). Jan 8, 2017 at 19:20
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    @Panther: I would argue two personalities: Original Sméagol + The Ring's corruption. The latter is called Gollum due to the coughing sound that is caused by the corruption. The people who know of the creature Gollum are unaware of his origins as Sméagol. They don't realize the split personalities, and subsequently lump them together as being one person. When we meet him, Gollum is in complete control and has suppressed original Sméagol.
    – Flater
    Feb 21, 2018 at 9:51

There’s been a big effort by tons of people to identify if/what kind of mental illness(es) Sméagol/Gollum may have.

Here’s a link to a study/survey that was done trying to get to the bottom of it. Long story short, he does not have Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personalities) because he’s aware of both sides. With DID, when one personality is active, it suppresses all others for the time being. He’s not schizophrenic for several reasons, one being his “delusions” and paranoia are real, and caused by the ring and happen to all ring-bearers. The conclusion was schizoid personality disorder because of his social behavior, how his behavior developed over time, the fact that he still has a break in reality (schism), but he’s aware of both of his sides. So yes, he does feel/have a duality to his personalities, but it’s not D.I.D. as we know it today.

He does also confuse himself with the “precious” sometimes as well and refers to himself as such due to his association with it for so many years.

  • People with DID can be aware of other alters. It's called co-consciousness. Apr 14, 2021 at 10:10

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