MTI’s Masterpiece Literature Presents: Hamlet vs The Hobbit

The Hobbit takes place in Middle-earth, an imaginary made up continent. The story is about a young hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who decides to take part in an adventure. Hobbits are a race of people, about half the size of a human, who enjoy food, song, and living quiet peaceful lives. Yet outside Bag End (home village of the hobbits) is a wizard by the name of Gandalf, who is in search of someone to share an adventure with. He visits Bag End and meets with Bilbo Baggins for the first time. Gandalf has an interest towards Bilbo, but his mention of an adventure scares Bilbo away, however Gandalf remains persistent.

Despite Bilbo wanting to keep away, Gandalf puts a mark on Bilbo’s door, allowing a company of dwarves to find the place and thus allowing them to later appear at Bilbo’s door. Bilbo was successfully able to be convinced by both Gandalf and the company of the dwarves to help the dwarves reclaim their stolen treasure from Smaug, a fire breathing dragon that has invaded their home. Gandalf convinces everyone that there is more to a hobbit that meets the eye, allowing Bilbo to serve as the company’s burglar.

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In Hamlet, the story is all about getting even, seeking revenge for his father’s death. Claudius has killed Hamlet’s father the king, and has become king himself. The story mainly revolves around Hamlet, as the entire story is mainly about what had happens to him. In The Hobbit, instead of the main character Bilbo Baggins seeking revenge, the minor main characters (the dwarves) seek their own revenge against their antagonist, the dragon. And instead of the entire story mainly being the result of what had happened to Hamlet, there are many scenarios that have happened to each character in The Hobbit that strengthens character progression and story development.

There are many characters involved in these stories. Hamlet is a prince. He is both smart and cunning. He’s very outgoing thus allowing him to plot his revenge. He has an urging desire to murder someone in order to seek their revenge. In The Hobbit there is the main character, Bilbo Baggins. Unlike Hamlet, he lives a quiet life in Bag End. He doesn’t seek revenge like Hamlet does, but instead seeks to take part in an adventure in order to help his friends reclaim their lost home.

Hamlet’s closest friend is Horatio who is very helpful to him during the play but yet it doesn’t feel like he has a very meaningful role until the play actually ends. During the beginning of The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins meets with Gandalf, who is looking for someone to share an adventure with. As the story continues, Bilbo’s and Gandalf’s friendship strengthens as time goes on, and they both serve as crucial characters throughout the entire story.

The antagonists in each story both have similar themes. Hamlet is seeking revenge towards the king Claudius, since Claudius did kill the previous king who was Hamlet’s father. In The Hobbit, the dwarves have had their home stolen by Smaug (the dragon). The Dwarves are on a quest in order to reclaim both their home and stolen treasure. In both stories, the antagonists decide to take something away from the main characters, causing both groups of main characters from each story to seek revenge.
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Quotes from Hamlet, “To be, or not to be, that is the question”. Hamlet is considering different paths to take in his approach towards revenge. He has been delaying his motives, which causes him to suffer. “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” Hamlet isn’t acting crazy because he’s crazy. He’s acting crazy in order to get closer to achieving his goal of revenge against Claudius.

Quotes from The Hobbit, “It’s a dangerous business, walking out one’s front door “. Gandalf’s words reminds us of the dangerous scenarios that could possibly occur out in the real world, such as Hamlet’s desire for revenge. “There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” This quote from the leader of the dwarves Thorin, compliments the life style of hobbits, mentioning how there is evil in the world, and how hobbits like Bilbo are able to counter it.

Both Hamlet and The Hobbit have important meanings and life lessons. The impact that these stories have had on people will cause them to be remembered. They both have meaningful quotes allowing people to use them elsewhere. Hamlet has inspired many other stories (such as The Lion King) which have a similar theme, allowing them to come into existence. The Hobbit has transferred over to music, card games, video games, calendars/misc., and toys such as Legos.

— Sean McAtee

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2 thoughts on “MTI’s Masterpiece Literature Presents: Hamlet vs The Hobbit

  1. I agree with this article. Revenge is a very strong theme in both The Hobbit and in Hamlet. Although the main character in Hamlet is the one seeking revenge, revenge is still very strong in The Hobbit, Your connections between the two stories was great, and i completely agree.

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  2. I completly agree with you, i can see how both stories seek revenge in a way. With the hobbits seeking revenge for their home to hamlet wanting revenge for his fathers death. Both stories have a main target as i can tell. In the hobit, their target is the red dragon and in Hamlet, it is his uncle. Both very great stories.

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