What does the novel's bravest character suggest about the nature of bravery ?
Bravery means courageous behavior or character. In the novel, “The Hobbit” by J. R. R. Tolkien, Bilbo is by far the most important and bravest character. However, Bilbo is not portrayed as a brave hero in the beginning. Rather, he is a timid, comfortable, and complacent homebody like all the other hobbits. As Thorin’s group progresses in its quest for the treasure under the mountain, Bilbo also embarks on a journey of character development, growing in confidence and resourcefulness, which enables him to transform into a brave and self-assured hero at the end. Bilbo’s character suggests that bravery is not innate but can be learnt and developed. Further, he shows that true bravery should be resourceful, intelligent, selfless, just, loyal and humble.
Despite the fact that Bilbo shows all kinds of bravery throughout the quest, in the beginning Bilbo was like any other hobbit – timid, loves a comfortable life, hated adventure, and wanted nothing to do with anyone. In the beginning Bilbo claims that he was like no other, just “plain folk and have no use for adventures”. In fact, when Gandalf talks him into embarking on the quest with Thorin’s dwarves, Bilbo becomes so frightened that he faints. However Bilbo possesses hidden reserves of inner strength that even he himself cannot perceive. As their journey progresses, Bilbo develops confidence and resourcefulness and slowly emerges as a true hero.
Bilbo shows great courage rescuing himself and the group from the giant spider of Mirkwood. After defeating the spider, Bilbo feels like a “different person, and much fiercer and bolder”, a feeling he has not previously enjoyed. Right after he kills the spider, he names his sword “Sting”. This symbolizes his bravery and initiative and is an omen for his forthcoming transformation into a hero. While Bilbo shows great bravery in killing the spider, his courage is also...
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