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The Life of the Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings

Updated on April 23, 2012


The character of the Hobbits is very important to the course of events in The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbits are stubborn, strong-willed, and can put up with a lot when they have to. Bilbo is extremely strong, as he is able to give up the Ring willingly after having it for fifty years, although it is still difficult for him to do. Sam is also extremely strong, physically in that he is able to carry Frodo, but also spiritually in that he is able to put aside his own wants and needs to help Frodo on the journey to Mount Doom. Frodo, while not always extremely strong morally, as he is corrupted by the Ring in the end, is still strong in his willingness to undertake the journey, and keep going despite injuries and chances to turn back or abandon the quest.

Hobbits are very down-to-Earth, but somewhat lazy. This makes them very different from Men, Elves, and Dwarves. Men, as they are portrayed in The Lord of the Rings are power-hungry. They are easily tricked and led by the Ring. As is obvious from the fact that the Ring Wraiths were once Men, they fall easily to evil. The Elves are the opposites of Men. While they don’t seem to crave power, they also don’t seem very interested in the rest of the world. They are lofty idealists who prefer to stay in their own neck of the woods. Dwarves are the worker drones. They are separatists who prefer their own kind, and like to stay in the dark mines, working and creating things. To parallel the three groups to humans: the Hobbits would be the hippies, living in communes peacefully; the Elves would be the so-called “beautiful people” like Athina Onassis Roussel; the Dwarves would be the ideal Communist society; and the Men would be the politicians.

Hobbits are, perhaps, the only group that could have successfully completed the quest. The Men would have fallen to the power of the Ring, and the Dwarves would probably have not wanted to be involved. The Elves may have been able to complete the quest, but they would have refused to undertake it, as they were able to recognize the power of the Ring and did not want to take a chance of being corrupted by it.

Bilbo and Frodo were different from the other Hobbits because they wanted to travel and see the world. They didn’t feel the same need to stay locked up at home, ignoring everything outside of the Shire. They were the most open and friendly to outsiders, which is shown in the fact that they openly welcomed Gandalf while other Hobbits were either in awe of him or did not like him. They were definitely strong-willed, keeping the house from the Sackville-Bagginses, but they were not as petty as some other Hobbits.

Merry, Pippin, and Sam were the other Hobbits that had a chance of completing the journey, but they did not take the quest as seriously as they could have. While they were very helpful, and understood the peril they were in after the quest began, they had a tendency to treat it as a grand adventure. The actions of Merry and Pippin in battle show that they are made of strong stuff, and that they can fight and risk their lives for what they believe in, but that is something that had to come to them throughout the journey. At the beginning of the tale, they did not have the resolve that Frodo already seemed to possess. Sam also had a good chance of completing the quest, but the power of the Ring was too strong for him. He was not as strong-willed as Frodo, although he was willing to try whenever he had to because he understood the seriousness of the task. Unlike Frodo, however, he seemed to have a problem thinking too far ahead – he wanted to kill Golem at the beginning of the quest and he didn’t fully realize that they wouldn’t be going home again until after Frodo explained it. After the scourge of the shire, there was another Hobbit who showed himself to have a great strength. That Hobbit is Farmer Cotton. He is the most willing of all the downtrodden Hobbits to rise up and fight against the oppression. He has been paying careful attention to everything that has been going on, and can provide the most helpful information when the Fellowship Hobbits return from their quest. The Took family is also quite strong-willed, fighting and shooting the “ruffians” until they learn to leave the Tooks alone. Neither of these options, however, would prove strong enough to stand up to the Ring. They are willing to defend their Shire, but don’t seem to want to leave the Shire to do it.

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