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Free Study Guide-The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien-Free Online Book Notes
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The group of dwarves is the protagonist in the first sub-plot of the book. Their antagonist is Smaug, the dragon who has stolen and hoarded the treasure belonging to the ancestors of the dwarves. The goal of the dwarves' quest is to defeat the dragon and regain the treasure. In this sub-plot, which works hand-in-hand with the story of Bilbo's growth, the climax occurs when Smaug is killed. Ironically, it is neither Bilbo nor the dwarves who defeat Smaug; instead, it is Bard, a man from Lake-town, who accomplishes the feat.

Because the tale is an adventure story, the forces of good are pitted against the forces of evil throughout the plot. Time after time, the dwarves (forces of good) must overcome enemies, such as the spiders and the wolves (forces of evil). At the end of the novel, however, greed begins to negatively color the forces of good, for the dwarves, the elves, and the Lake-town men all want the treasure for themselves, and it seems they will fight one another to win what they want. Then the true forces of evil, represented by the goblins and the wolves, approach Lonely Mountain to seize the treasure for themselves. As a result, the forces of good join together to defeat these new, evil enemies. When the good side is victorious in the Battle of Five Armies, the climax of this sub-plot occurs. In the end, the evil forces are driven away from the mountain, allowing the forces of good to become truly good. They peacefully share in the treasure and re-establish peace in the region of Lonely Mountain.


The falling action in all three plots occurs after the climax. With Bilbo's plot, the falling action is the longest, for he must prove that he has truly become a fearless leader. The falling action of the dwarves' sub-plot reveals how they become even more greedy and illogical after they learn Smaug has been killed. In the battle of good vs. evil, there is little falling action, for the climax occurs late in the novel, when the goblins and wolves are defeated and driven away from Lonely Mountain. The conclusion comes for Bilbo when he returns to Hobbiton and lives a long and happy life, writing his memoirs and poetry. For the dwarves, the conclusion comes when they share the treasure and live in peace with the elves. In the battle of good vs. evil, the conclusion comes when peace and prosperity comes to the whole region due to the wise guidance of a new King under the Mountain. In all three cases, the plot ends as a comedy, with the protagonist defeating the antagonist.

The circular structure of The Hobbit is indicated in the secondary title of the book -- "There and Back Again." The tale begins in Bilbo's home where Gandalf persuades him to go with the dwarves on their adventure. The plot then progresses through wild and dangerous lands to the Lonely Mountain, where a battle is fought and won. Eventually the novel comes back full circle, ending at Bilbo's house, where it began. At the end Gandalf and Balin, one of the dwarves, pay a visit to Bilbo many years later. They bring news about the prosperity and peace that has come to the region of the Lonely Mountain.

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Free Study Guide-The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien-Free Online Plot Synopsis
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