"If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all. Since no man knows aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes? Let be." (V, 2)That's one of my favorite moments in the play, when Hamlet finally stops fighting against everyone and everything and accepts that there's not a lot he can do anymore except see this mess through. And that's exactly what Frodo seems to have decided.
But then there's Sam. Sam "never had any real hope in the affair from the beginning; but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed" (p. 624). And so now that everything looks like it's ending, he's going to stick by Frodo and see this through too. The readiness is indeed all.
Of course, Gollum's not anywhere near ready to just give The Ring up -- he still has hope of regaining it, and he convinces them to go elsewhere. So the hobbits take fate back into their own hands and struggle on. Frodo believes that "if both led to terror and death, what good lay in choice?" (p. 630). And indeed, it seems pretty pointless right here, though we who know how the story ends can nod our heads and look wise.
Another dreadful day of fear and toil had come to Mordor (p. 623).
Possible Discussion Questions:
When pondering whether to go through the Black Gate or follow Gollum elsewhere, Frodo things "[i]t was an evil fate" and "[t]his was an evil choice" (p. 630). Why do you think Tolkien uses the word 'evil' here instead of 'unpleasant' or 'difficult'?