The Hero’s Journey In The Film: The Hobbit

1926 words - 8 pages

Heroes are present in many of the films produced today and these heroes generally follow both Campbell’s “Hero’s journey” and “Heroic Archetypes”. Some of Campbell’s tenets for a hero are that he must be called to a quest, he will face trials and tribulations, face temptation, complete a task, and eventually return home. The hero must also fit an archetype and its quest, fear, dragon, task, and virtue. Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is in fact one of the aforementioned heroes. Bilbo Baggins has always wanted an adventure and one day he is called on a quest to win back the Dwarfish kingdom of Erebor from the dragon, Smaug. Bilbo had not realized at the time of his departure that he was a hero and at first he even refused to go on the quest. Bilbo fits many of the tenets of the departure, initiation, and return of Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” along with one of his archetypes. Joseph Campbell defines a hero as “someone who has given his life to something bigger than himself” and this is what Bilbo Baggins has done by accepting his quest to aid the Dwarves on their journey to the Lonely Mountain.
The first step of Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” is the departure. Bilbo is first called to an adventure that sends him in a new direction. (Warren) Bilbo is sitting in his peaceful home, in the Shire, one day when Gandalf the Grey shows up with a pack of Dwarves to ask Bilbo to be the burglar on their mission to get their kingdom, Erebor, back from a dragon that resides there. Bilbo learns the history of these dwarves and how their kingdom was lost as the Dwarves eat his food and clutter up his home. Bilbo feels bad for the Dwarves, but he is scared to go on a quest from which he may not return therefore, Bilbo refuses the call. Bilbo refuses out of fear, the feeling that he cannot leave his responsibilities, and that he is not fit for the quest therefore fitting the refusal of the call. (Warren) Bilbo contemplates his decision and eventually decides to go on this quest because he knows he will never get another chance like it. On this quest he and the Dwarves have supernatural aid, “a guide or magical helper”. (Warren) Gandalf the Grey happens to be a wizard and is accompanying the group on their quest. Now that Bilbo has a supernatural aid and has decided to take on the mission he must cross the first threshold which is, “ the point when the person actually begins his or her adventure. The hero leaves his or her familiar neighborhood and normal life…” (Warren) Bilbo crosses this threshold when he finally leaves his home and runs after the Dwarves and Gandalf. When he catches up to the crew he realizes he forgot his handkerchief at home and requests to go home and retrieve it therefore, leaving him in “the belly of the whale” which is when Bilbo must accept that he has left his world and entered a new one full of adventure. (Warren)The Dwarves do not allow him to do so and hand him a piece of one of their shirts to use as a makeshift...

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