Theme Of Heroism In The Hobbit

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Heroism and how people define it is completely based on opinion and centered around perspective. A particularly controversial heroic-like figure would be Winston Churchill. He is best known for rallying the British people during World War II, and leading them from the brink of defeat to victory. On the other hand, he is also infamously known for nearly starving the continent of India during his time as Prime Minister. Depending on one’s perspective, Winston Churchill can easily be considered both a hero and a villain. J.R.R Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit, clearly strives to paint Bilbo as a hero, but many have difficulty looking past the evidence that Bilbo rarely completes a task on his own, not to mention that his physical description …show more content…
The further Bilbo journeys into his adventure, the more difficult his challenges become. He uses his knowledge of past encounters to determine the just thing to do in tough situations. As Bilbo is escaping from Gollum’s cave he has the opportunity to slay the deranged and mutated hobbit, but as he looks at Gollum with “a [certain] pity mixed with horror” (Tolkien, 81) he restrains himself from harming the abject creature. After experiencing the horror of the goblins, Bilbo finds the compassion in himself to leave Gollum to suffer a different fate other than death by his sword. Once Bilbo escapes the clutches of the goblins and their matrix of tunnels, he comes to the conclusion “that he must turn back” (Tolkien, 85) and search for his friends, no matter how “very miserable he [feels] about it” (Tolkien, 85). His loyalty to his friends is what keeps him from running straight to safety and leads him right to the decision that he cannot possibly leave them behind. Though Bilbo has to make many virtuous life or death decisions, such as this one, his true test of morality comes, not when he is facing an enemy, but while facing a friend. As Thorin becomes more irrational with each passing day surrounded by his tempting riches, Bilbo resolves that he must take matters into his own hands. He brings Thorin’s family’s most coveted possession, the Arkenstone, which is “beyond price” (Tolkien, …show more content…
When Bilbo initially joins Thorin and Co. on their grand adventure he feels inadequate and unsure. On his first real task as a burglar he fails so terribly that, if not for Gandalf, him and the dwarves would have been troll dinner. Even as his companions doubt him -- “The dwarves wanted to know why he had ever been brought at all, why he could not stick to his friends… and why the wizard had not picked someone with more sense” (Tolkien, 86) -- he perseveres through every challenge he faces, eventually earning the much overdue respect from the dwarves while they are trapped in Mirkwood. After Gandalf leaves the dwarves to attend to his own business, “it was from little Bilbo that they seemed to expect” (Tolkien, 152) to get all their answers whenever they got themselves into a predicament, which was often. Through all the difficult tasks Bilbo faces, he is ultimately preparing for “the real battle” (Tolkien, 197), the true test to prove that he has undoubtedly grown as a hobbit and, in the process, transformed into a hero. Before Bilbo travels fully into the den of Smaug he must overcome the internal conflict raging inside of him, persuading him into believing that none of his adventures have prepared him for this daunting task. Bilbo needs to determine, on his own, that he is ready and will not let fear stand in the way of him completing what he is meant to do. In this part of his

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