The Development of the Character of Bilbo Baggins

1605 Words Nov 23rd, 2005 7 Pages
As children develop into adults, certain events and time periods stand out as the reason for important changes in their character. J.R.R. Tolkien portrayed the main character of The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, as a child on his trip into adulthood. Throughout The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist, changes from a childlike hobbit to a fully matured hero. J.R.R. Tolkien divides the change in Bilbo's character into the three major part of the book, prior to the quest, during the quest, and after the quest.

Prior to the quest, Bilbo Baggins was a conservative, respectable and stubborn hobbit who lead a rich and comfortable life (Stephanie web). These characteristics, as well as safety and a dull existence, are typical of the Baggins
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Following his discovery of the ring, Bilbo begins to face danger (Mathews 36). During the trip in the forest of Mirkwood, Bilbo uses Gandalf's absence to confirm his position as leader of the group through the memorable battle against the spiders (Mathews 38). Tolkien illustrates the importance of this combat through his words: "Somehow, the killing this giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark…made a great difference to Mr. Baggins. He felt like a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach, as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath. ‘I will give you a name', he said to it, ‘and I shall call you Sting.'" The author thus stresses the importance of this incident (Tolkien 154). The naming of swords at that time was a sign of that heroism displayed by great warriors, and shows that Bilbo is gaining self-confidence and bravery (The 1924). The escape from the spiders brought about another challenge, the escape from the elves. Although the elves would most likely have released their prisoners after some time because of their natural righteousness, a delay would have prevented the dwarves from entering the mountain through the secret passage. Bilbo proves that he has the mental toughness of a hero by using brilliant strategy to enable his friends to escape unnoticed by the elves (Tolkien

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