Tolkien's "The Hobbit" compared to Homer's "The Odyssey"

Essay by MichaelZhaoHigh School, 10th gradeA, April 2004

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The Odyssey is an epic poem written by Homer and passed down the centuries by the oral tradition. The Hobbit is a fantasy novel authored by J.R.R. Tolkien introducing the world-renowned Lord of the Rings series. At first glance, the similarities might seem vague, but the veil opens when examined closely. There are many similarities between The Odyssey and The Hobbit.

The basis of The Odyssey and The Hobbit is the heroic journey. The Odyssey is told in the tradition of an epic journey while The Hobbit is told as a fantastic journey. The journeys themselves have many similarities. One similarity in particular is the impediments of the journey. The impediments of both journeys have monsters they have to defeat, people they must trick, and the environment they must tame. The main impediment of the journey in The Odyssey is the sea. Because they do not travel through water (except for a short barrel ride) in The Hobbit, the land is the main impediment.

The rolling seas and high storms Odysseus faced are similar to the lofty mountains and dark forests Bilbo faced. Neither character could control their situation, but gods did not force the situation upon Bilbo. Another close similarity between The Hobbit and The Odyssey is the use of wine as a sedative. Wine might not seem to belong in an essay comparing two journeys, however, wine plays an integral part in the journeys of the two books. Most importantly, wine helps the heroes escape from their captors. An example can be found in Book 9 of The Odyssey. Polyphemus traps Odysseus and his crew in a cave and is about to devour them. However, Odysseus lulls Polyphemus to sleep using wine and blinds him. He then escapes by hiding under his bushy rams (888-942). There is a...