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Free Study Guide-The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien-Free Online Book Notes
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CONFLICT

Protagonists

At the most obvious level, the protagonist of the main plot is Bilbo Baggins, who helps the dwarves recover their treasure and kingdom, aids the forces of good, and, in the process, faces his own fears and transforms himself from an ordinary hobbit into a true hero.

In the first sub-plot, the group of dwarves, who set out on a quest to the Lonely Mountain, is the protagonist. They are eager to recover the treasures of their ancestors.

In the second sub-plot, the protagonist is the force of good, represented by Bilbo, Gandalf, the dwarves, the elves, the Lake- town men, and all the other characters who stand with them.

Antagonists

In the main plot, Bilbo's antagonist is his fear and lack of confidence. In the beginning, he screams at the thought of a dragon and is fearful of making the journey with the dwarves. He must go through a series of adventures in order to become courageous and defeat his fear.

The antagonist of the dwarves is Smaug, the dragon who has stolen and hoarded the treasure that belonged to the ancestors of the dwarves. He must be defeated in order for the dwarves to regain possession of the gold and jewels that they believe are rightfully theirs.

The antagonist of the force of good is the cast of characters that are evil, including Smaug, the goblins, the wolves, and all the forces that battle and thwart those on the side of good.


Climax

In the main plot, the story of Bilbo Baggins' growth and maturity into a heroic figure, the climax occurs when the protagonist overcomes his fear. He is in the tunnel leading to the lair of the dragon and convinces himself that he is brave enough to go forward by himself and face Smaug alone. Though he has no idea what to expect, he steels himself and enters the dragon's stronghold, bravely stealing one of the treasures while Smaug sleeps. From this point forward in the novel, Bilbo proves that he has conquered his fear and has reached heroic status, bravely facing all that comes his way.

In the sub-plot, the story of the dwarves' quest to recover their ancestral treasure, the climax occurs when Smaug is killed. It then seems that the dwarves can freely claim what they believe is rightfully theirs. Unfortunately, greed sets in on most everyone in the book. Bard asks for a share of the treasure and, though he has a rightful claim, is turned away with harsh words by Thorin. Though Thorin repents his ill deed before he dies, his refusal nearly starts a war amongst the forces of good. This act, therefore, shows the corrupting influence of greed and the depths to which it can cause an otherwise good character to fall. When the antagonist of the dwarves is defeated, they, in turn, almost defeat themselves.

In the second sub-plot, the battle between good and evil, the climax occurs during the Battle of the Five Armies, where the evil goblins and wolves are defeated by the combined forces of good.

Outcome

All of the plots in the novel end as a comedy. Bilbo overcomes his fear and becomes a hero. Smaug is killed and the dwarves are able to seize the treasure; then they learn to share if fairly with others. Even Thorin repents his greed and apologizes for his harsh behavior before he dies. Finally, the forces of evil are destroyed by the combined forces of good. At the end of the book, everything has turned out happily and peace and prosperity has returned to the region around the Lonely Mountain.

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