How does Bilbo's character change over the course of The Hobbit?

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Scott David eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Tolkien, in The Hobbit, characterizes Hobbits as primarily concerned with respectability, and Bilbo is no different. However, even before he sets out on his adventures, there is an internal conflict within Bilbo, because while he endeavors to maintain that respectability, there remains an adventurous side to his personality. As far as the quest is concerned, we see that Bilbo simultaneously wants no part in this adventure, and yet, at the same time, another part of his personality very much wants to go on this journey, and see more of the world. He is in conflict with himself.

With this in mind,...

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thewanderlust878 | Student

The Hobbit is a wonderful story about an introverted, home-loving hobbit who goes on a fascinating adventure with dwarves whom he never would have previously met. 

At the beginning of the novel, Bilbo clearly is a simple, routine-loving hobbit who wants nothing more than to live his quiet life inside his home. He does not want to go on adventures or risk missing his next meal. 

Throughout the rest of the novel Bilbo realizes that there is more out in the world than just his hobbit hole. There are fascinating creatures to meet and new things to try. As Bilbo starts to realize this, he also begins to change. 

At the end of the novel Bilbo doesn't straightaway notice that he has changed. It takes him a good deal of time, and a bit of help from Gandalf, to realize that for the better, he has changed. He has become more adventurous and brave, but also through his new friends he has learned the value of kindness, friendship, and love. 

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jeoanna | Student

Throughout Bilbo's adventure he goes from being unheroic to couragous,fierce,confident and heroic, example when he fight off the Great Spider to save his friends (dwarfs) he names the sword he uses to fend off the Spider "Sting" and he says that he himself feels more confident and fierce, from there he just progress to become stronger and at the end Gandalf says to Bilbo,"Something is the matter with you! You are not the hobbit that you were." from that you can tell that Gandalf has seen the changes,most of the changes come from the ways he saves everyone and it also starts when he finds the ring because in in beggining he doesn't want to be an adventurer just to stay at home but at the end he's (Bilbo) glad he did stay and do this treasure hunting adventure.

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