Evil Within the World, Depicted in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

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Since the dawn of time, mankind has been plagued with the ever existing evils of the world. From the first murder by Cain to the opening of Pandora’s Box, the concept of evil has permeated itself into the societies and cultures of the world throughout time. However, in a world of darkness we stand not alone. For wherever evil dwells, the forces of good are always likewise present to maintain the balance: right? In today’s western world we often take this widely accepted belief for granted. After all, for every super villain there is always a hero, and for every damsel in distress there is always a happy ending, or at least that is what the media would have you believe. What I begin to see as I delve further in to the concept of good and evil is that the perceptions of the masses are often not their own. They are merely influenced by what they see laid before them. Why contemplate a problem that’s already been answered? The problem in this case would be, what is the true status of good and evil within the world, and the answer being presented to them as the Manichaean view in which the two equal and opposite forces of good and evil both play roles in the influencing of the world. However, what if the answer was wrong? Could a society be lead astray? For this reason I look for myself to find the answers I seek. For if truth is to be found in the world, it should never be delivered on the silver platter of others work, but rather by the fruits of ones own labor. So, as to properly examine the notion of evil within the world, I look to a piece of literature often seen in the light of innocence: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Within this piece we see the pure untainted character of Bilbo thrust into a world of adventure, danger, greed, ...

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... previous two philosophies to classify The Hobbit then lead me to one final conclusion: the conclusion that Bilbo’s state of innocence, or Tabula Rasa, was not a state of good at all, but rather simply a state of the absence of evil. For when Bilbo enters the world, evil is seen to be the only influencing factor. For this reason I have concluded that there is truly no form of good within the world as grounded within The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien


1. Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. Translated by David R. Slavitt. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2008. Print.

2. Jones, Leslie. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing, 2003. Print

3. Shippey, Tom. J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000. Print.

4. Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. New York: Houghton Miffin Company, 1966. Print.
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