Bilbo Baggins - “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Psychology of Great Characters: A Comprehensive Analysis of Literary Icons - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Bilbo Baggins - “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien

Background and Motivations

The main character of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy book "The Hobbit" is Bilbo Baggins. He is a hobbit, a little, peaceful animal from the Shire, an area distinguished by its undulating hills, hobbit burrows, and easygoing, countryside way of life.


One of the most prestigious families in the Shire, the Baggins family, is where Bilbo was born. His mother, Belladonna Took, was a Took, a family renowned for their spirit of adventure, and his father, Bungo Baggins, was a wealthy hobbit who relished the comforts of home. Bilbo had the latent spirit of adventure from his Tookish ancestry, even if he inherited his father's love of home and comfort.

Up until the advent of Gandalf the wizard and a group of thirteen dwarves, Bilbo's life was peaceful and uneventful. In order to retrieve their lost treasure from the dragon Smaug, who had taken up residence in their ancestral mountain home, the Lonely Mountain, they turned to Bilbo for help as a thief.

Reasons for

The dwarves' suggestion sparked Bilbo's adventurous spirit despite his first resistance. The idea of venturing outside his comfort zone and seeing the outside world piqued his interest. He was also driven by a sense of duty and a desire to support his new friends.

The reasons behind Bilbo's participation in the quest are intricate and varied. He is motivated, on the one hand, by a deep-seated thirst for excitement and adventure. He's always wanted to see new places and go to far-off places, and the dwarves' quest gives him the chance to fulfill this ambition.

However, Bilbo is also driven by a feeling of obligation and accountability. In addition to being concerned about the fate of the dragon Smaug, who has been terrorizing the area for years, he feels compelled to assist the dwarves in recovering their lost riches.

In the end, Bilbo's choice to embark on the quest stems from a mix of moral obligation and personal desire. Though he is drawn to the adventure, he also knows that he must act morally. This mix of impulses contributes to Bilbo's complexity and relatability, which is one of the reasons he has endured as a fantasy literature symbol for so long.

Personality Traits and Development

In J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," Bilbo Baggins experiences a dramatic metamorphosis during his voyage, changing from a shy homebody into a resourceful and fearless adventurer. His character growth and qualities are subtly incorporated into the story, emphasizing the themes of bravery, friendship, and self-discovery.

First Characteristics

Bilbo is introduced as a normal hobbit at the start of the tale, appreciating familiarity, comfort, and the small things in life. Considered "a hobbit of comfortable hobbit-hole habits," he is happy living a tidy life in the Shire. But beyond this surface of domesticity is a hidden spirit of adventure that he carries along from his Tookish heritage.

Flexibility and Ingenuity

Bilbo's tranquil existence is upended when Gandalf and the dwarves show up out of the blue, dragging him into a dangerous and unsettling world. After feeling overpowered and out of his element at first, Bilbo gradually adjusts to his new situation, displaying incredible resourcefulness and flexibility.

He gains skills in navigating dangerous terrain, outwitting crafty animals, and even using a sword in combat. The One Ring, a seemingly small item that will significantly affect both his life and the fate of Middle-earth, is his most noteworthy acquisition.

Gaining bravery and self-assurance

Bilbo's initial hesitation and hesitancy gradually give way to a renewed bravery and self-assurance. He confronts his concerns head-on, conquering barriers and growing from every ordeal. His bravery is especially demonstrated by the way he faced the monster Smaug, goblins, and enormous spiders.

Fidelity and empathy

Bilbo never loses his hobbit-like loyalty and compassion, even as his confidence grows. He still has a strong bond with his house and his Shire friends, and he frequently prioritizes the needs of others over his own. His sense of humor and capacity for happiness in the little things bring much-needed lightness to the dangerous voyage.

Self-Revelation and Development

In addition to being a voyage of discovery, Bilbo's journey is a voyage of self-discovery. He discovers that bravery and ingenuity have always been a part of him and learns to embrace his underlying heroism. His dwarven allies see him as a capable and well-respected leader after he overcomes his shyness.

The One Ring's Effect

The revelation of the One Ring gives Bilbo's persona more nuance. His moral compass is put to the test by the Ring's corrupting influence, which forces him to face the darker sides of himself. But in the end, Bilbo rejects the Ring's attraction, proving his moral rectitude and fortitude.

Durable Heritage

The metamorphosis of Bilbo Baggins from a shy hobbit into a fearless explorer is proof of the potential for personal development and self-awareness. His story touches readers all throughout the world and serves as a reminder that even the most regular people are capable of amazing things.

Relationships and Interactions

The relationships and exchanges that Bilbo Baggins has with other characters are vital to the development of his personality and the plot of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit." The themes of friendship, loyalty, and the transformational power of human connection are all highlighted in these partnerships.

The Gandalf

Bilbo is mentored and guided by the wizard Gandalf, who sees his potential and pushes him to venture beyond his comfort zone and take on the difficulties that lie ahead. He sets the scene for Bilbo's transformative adventure by introducing him to the dwarves and convincing him to join them on their quest.

Throughout the narrative, Gandalf gives Bilbo vital counsel and encouragement that enables him to avoid dangerous circumstances and face his anxieties. Respect and adoration are shared between them; Gandalf acknowledges Bilbo's development and fortitude, while Bilbo appreciates Gandalf's insight and leadership.

The Dwarves and Thorin Oakenshield

The bond between Bilbo and the thirteen dwarves is intricate and dynamic. Bilbo is cautious and nervous at first, but he soon warms up to his buddies and they develop close ties of devotion and friendship. They revere his bravery and ingenuity as he gains an appreciation for their unique customs and traditions.

Relationships between Bilbo and the dwarves demonstrate the transformational potential of friendship. He has the ability to rely on and trust other people, and their encouragement fosters his confidence and self-assurance. Their same struggles and experiences create a strong bond that lasts beyond the journey and influences Bilbo's views on friendship and camaraderie.


A significant turning point in Bilbo's adventure is his encounter with the twisted beast Gollum, who resides in the Misty Mountains. Their encounter puts Bilbo's morality to the test as he must choose between taking advantage of the creature's frailty and showing sympathy for it.

Because of his compassion, Bilbo decides to spare Gollum's life, which has unintended repercussions. Throughout the narrative, Gollum's pursuit of Bilbo and the One Ring emerges as a recurrent menace, heightening the tension and highlighting the connections between Bilbo's deeds.

Smaug and the Lonely Mountain

The dragon Smaug now rules over the Lonely Mountain, which was formerly the dwarves' ancestral home. The main goals of the dwarves' journey are to vanquish Smaug and retrieve their riches.

Through his encounters with Smaug and the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo confronts his own fears and insecurities in a metaphorical way. The dragon's menacing presence and the mountain's majesty function as outward symbols of Bilbo's internal struggles.

The Global Community

Bilbo meets a wide variety of animals on his travels, including elves, woodmen, goblins, and enormous spiders. His awareness of the world outside the Shire is expanded by these encounters, which expose him to many languages, cultures, and customs.

Bilbo's interactions with these varied personalities serve as a reminder of the value of tolerance, adaptability, and an open mind. He gains an appreciation for the diversity and depth of the world, and his interactions with other people help him grow as a person.

Relationship Legacy

Connections and relationships that Bilbo has with others shape both his persona and the story of "The Hobbit." His interactions with different animals broaden his perspective of the world and his place in it, and his friendships with Gandalf and the dwarves show the transformational potential of human connection.

Beyond his own adventure, Bilbo's influence has shaped Middle-earth's destiny. His finding of the One Ring and his choice to spare Gollum's life initiated a series of events that will have a significant impact on the destiny of the region.

Role in the Narrative

The protagonist and agent of change in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," Bilbo Baggins, is a crucial character in the story. The narrative progresses through his transformation from a shy hobbit to a fearless explorer, emphasizing themes of bravery, camaraderie, and self-realization.

The protagonist and change-catalyst

Bilbo is the main character and the focal point around whom the story is told. His encounters with the dragon Smaug and subsequent actions that he takes lead the dwarves on their journey and ultimately influence the plot. The general theme of development and change that runs through the narrative is mirrored in Bilbo's transformation from a reluctant participant to a self-assured leader.

Connectivity of the Shire to the Global Community

Between the safe and comfortable Shire and the wide and perilous lands beyond, Bilbo acts as a link. His voyage symbolizes the change from a comfortable, predictable life to one that is full of challenges and opportunities for amazing encounters.

Symbolic Expression of Bravery and Self-Revelation

The narrative's two main themes—courage and self-discovery—are personified in Bilbo's persona. His hesitancy and commitment to his affluent life are shown in his first hesitation to accompany the dwarves on their quest. But as he rises to the occasion and gets above his difficulties, he finds a secret source of bravery and ingenuity within himself.

A Spark for Disagreement and Settlement

Due to his inexperience and lack of acquaintance with the outside world, Bilbo's involvement on the quest creates fresh difficulties and tensions that frequently result in unanticipated circumstances. But he also shows growth and development as a character by using his adaptability and quick thinking to help resolve these difficulties.

Moral Guidance and Ethical Conundrums

The story is made more nuanced and intricate by Bilbo's moral compass and moral quandaries. His choices, like saving Gollum's life, have far-reaching effects that demonstrate how interrelated things are and how they affect the world around us.

Symbol of Change and Hope

Bilbo's metamorphosis from a shy hobbit to a fearless explorer represents optimism and the capacity for personal growth present in every person. His story encourages readers to tackle their own obstacles and find their inner power because it shows that even the most ordinary people can achieve great heights.

Durable Heritage

The character of Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit" plays a significant role not just in his personal journey but also in the greater Middle-earth mythology. His deeds initiated events that will have far-reaching effects on the future of the nation, and his legacy inspires readers and spectators everywhere.

Symbolism and Representation

The main character of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," Bilbo Baggins, is a figure full with representation and symbolism. His transformation from a shy hobbit to a fearless explorer is a potent allegory for maturation, self-awareness, and the transforming influence of experience.

Emblem of the common hero

Bilbo is a metaphor for the common hero—the unusual protagonist with latent powers and unrealized potential. His early hesitancy and inexperience serve as a powerful example of how genius can exist in the most unlikely places and how even the most average people can achieve incredible things.

Personification of Bravery and Ingenuity

The transformation of Bilbo from fearful to brave is proof of the human spirit's capacity to triumph over hardship and fear. In the face of peril, he confronts his concerns head-on and exhibits incredible flexibility and inventiveness. His metamorphosis from a hobbit happy with his cozy life to an explorer fit to face dragons and cross dangerous terrain represents the capacity for personal development and self-discovery that each of us possesses.

Connecting the Unknown with the Familiar

The voyage of Bilbo symbolizes the change from the known and cozy to the unfamiliar and difficult. He leaves the tranquil Shire behind and ventures into the wide and frequently perilous world beyond, stepping beyond of his comfort zone. This shift reflects the common human experience of facing uncertainty and broadening our perspectives.

Symbol of Adaptation and Change

Bilbo's development is largely attributed to his flexibility and openness to change. He gains the ability to move through unfamiliar spaces, engage with people from different backgrounds, and overcome challenges that would have intimidated his old self. His path represents our capacity to evolve with the times and develop as people.

Symbol of Faith and Companionship

The foundation of Bilbo's metamorphosis is the loyalty and camaraderie he develops with his buddies. In order to achieve a common goal, he learns to rely on others, trust their judgment, and cooperate with them. These connections give him encouragement, support, and a feeling of community, all of which help him develop as a person.

A Sign of Ethics

Bilbo's moral compass and moral conundrums give his persona nuance and complexity. He must make decisions that put his morals to the test and make him face the fallout from his choices. Despite the possible risk, his choice to spare Gollum's life demonstrates his compassion and willingness to follow his conscience.

Durable Significance and Illustration

The representation and significance of Bilbo Baggins go well beyond his own travels. He has evolved into a timeless representation of the common man, the underdog who rises to the occasion, and the person who realizes their own potential and hidden talents. His narrative never stops inspiring readers and viewers around the globe, serving as a powerful reminder of the value of bravery, friendship, and self-discovery.

Additional Considerations

Apart from the previously examined facets of Bilbo's persona, function, and symbolism, there exist a few supplementary factors that also enhance his depiction in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit":

The Value of Comfort and Home

Even with his spirit of adventure, Bilbo still has a strong attachment to his Shire home and all of its comforts. His passion for familiarity and his love of home act as a counterbalance to his thirst for adventure, illustrating the need that people have for both security and excitement.

The Significance of Minor Choices

The decision made by Bilbo to spare Gollum's life may appear small, yet it has far-reaching effects that will influence Middle-earth's destiny. This highlights how decisions we make, no matter how minor, may have a rippling effect on the world around us.

The Part Chance and Fate Play

Along the way, Bilbo makes both intentional decisions and random meetings. While his choice to join the dwarves is a deliberate one that puts him on a path of self-knowledge, his encounter with Gollum and his discovery of the One Ring are coincidental events that advance the story.

The Development of Bilbo's Understanding

Bilbo's understanding of the world and his role in it evolves as he travels outside of the Shire. He gains a greater awareness of his place in the larger world and learns to value the diversity of people and animals he meets.

The Importance of Compassion and Humor

Throughout his metamorphosis, Bilbo never loses his compassion or sense of humor. In spite of the risks on his travels, he never loses his positive attitude and ability to make others laugh.

The Legacy of Bilbo

Beyond his own adventures, Bilbo leaves behind a lasting legacy. He rises to prominence among the dwarves and is essential to recovering their stolen wealth. His deeds also significantly influence the One Ring's destiny, laying the groundwork for later Middle-earth events.