Many literary critics believe that Tom Bombadil is a symbolic character; what do you think Tom Bombadil is a symbol of?

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According to Tolkien himself, Bombadil was a representation of the landscapes of his native Oxfordshire, a sort of country spirit who represented the very idyllic existence which Sauron threatened. More broadly, Bombadil could be equated with the woodland spirits of English legend, such as Jack in the Green or the...

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According to Tolkien himself, Bombadil was a representation of the landscapes of his native Oxfordshire, a sort of country spirit who represented the very idyllic existence which Sauron threatened. More broadly, Bombadil could be equated with the woodland spirits of English legend, such as Jack in the Green or the Green Man. Green Man figures typically symbolize the cycle of life and, particularly, pastoral or rural life. If we understand the Shire to be a partial representation of England before the First World War, Tom Bombadil is an archetype who is part of this way of life which, if the dark forces are allowed to enter the Shire, will no longer be free to exist. Bombadil is part of the "good," one of the spirits which, although not a significant part of people's daily existence, sustains the world as it should be and has long been. He opposes the darkness. He is equated with forests and trees: symbolically, when the hobbits return to the Shire, they find that the Party Tree has been cut down. Evil in these stories involves attacks on the landscape because that landscape forms a key, symbolic part of the fabric of the world before the war.

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