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The Sensible Nature Of Bilbo And Hobbits

1656 words - 7 pages

One of the recurring themes throughout The Hobbit, is Tolkien’s manifestation of morality through his inherently good and evil characters. Although some characters narrowly balance the line of good and evil through portraying characteristics such as greed, the hobbits represent naturally altruistic and peaceful characters. The protagonist Bilbo’s rational nature and willingness to compromise through his selfless transfer of the Arkenstone to Bard and the Elvenking further highlights Tolkien’s portrayal of a simple twentieth century Englishmen in a fantastical setting. Even though he risks his promised sum of the treasures, Bilbo chooses to work as a peacekeeper to opt for a more sensible way of solving a problem. Therefore, the dialogue between Bilbo, Bard, and the Elevenking is a manifestation by Tolkien of the moral high ground of hobbits and their sensible nature, which impresses the men and elves to bestow their trust and honor.
Bilbo as the protagonist of the novel appears sensible partly from Tolkien’s underlying representation of a twentieth century English gentlemen. When Bilbo first arrives at the Gate with the Elvenking and Bard, his first speaking point is business. Tolkien describes Bilbo’s speech as a “business manner” where he mentions how he is “tired of the whole affair” and wishes he were “back in the West in my own home, where folk are more reasonable” (Tolkein 292). Bilbo clearly takes great pride in the business manner of hobbits, in which he is accustomed to fiscal matters through his previous occupation in the Shire. In addition, Bilbo clearly states his grievances through the stubborn nature of the dwarves and others he encountered along his travels through mentioning how hobbits are more agreeable creatures. Furthermore, Bilbo’s intentions become clear to Bard and the Elvenking through Bilbo’s being upfront about how he is tired of the whole affair and wants to return home. Tolkien’s use of the word “West” further points to the representation of Bilbo as an Englishmen, thus aligning Bilbo’s nature and intentions with the nature of Englishmen.
The matter of profits and monetary value remains a crucial focus of the interaction between Bilbo, Bard, and the Elvenking. Bilbo immediately identifies through pulling out the original letter Thorin left him his own one-fourteenth share in the profits. However, he clarifies “I am only too ready to consider all your claims carefully, and deduct what is right from the total before putting in my own claims” (293). Greed and concerns over monetary reward drove Bard and the Elvenking to camp out near the Lonely Mountain. Bilbo’s willingness to part with his own personal share of the treasure further alludes to his sensible and goodhearted nature. Part of what separates hobbits from the other species is the way they do not let greed overtake their notion of who deserves a proper reward. In this particular situation Bilbo understands the monetary distributions necessary for Bard and the...

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