The Hobbit

Heroes and the Hobbit

The principal concern of a literature student is to try to infer what the author's intentions are. However, we often include our own perspectives and forget the author altogether. Take a look at The Hobbit. Many people assume Tolkien wanted Bilbo to be viewed as the hero and that the story is of his transformation. However, given Beowulf's influence on Tolkien, Bilbo is most likely not meant to a hero.

For those who think Bilbo is the hero, don't be too offended by my claim. The theory does make sense. When we first see Bilbo, he is as commonplace as can be. Every morning he sits down, smokes his pipe, and is a good housekeeper - never forgetting to dust the mantelpiece. However, one morning he is whisked away from his hobbit hole. He is taken on an adventure, where he proves himself to be above norm. He performs many daring feats. Bilbo certainly does change during the adventure. However, it takes more than performing heroic feats to be a hero.But then, what is a hero? The American Heritage Dictionary defines hero as, "the principal male character in a literary work." For all purposes, this definition is too broad - any protagonist (as long as they're male) could qualify for this distinction. How,...

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