, Research Paper
Parallels between Beowulf and The Hobbit Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook? Canst thou put an hook into his nose? Or bore his jaw through with a thorn . . . his scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal . . .. Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. (Job :1-2,15,19) When you take the time to compare modern stories about dragons with ancient one s it becomes obvious that modern writers use the same model dragon for their dragon character as did the ancient writers. Between the epic Beowulf and the modern epic The Hobbit, there are many parallels. The dragons have the same type of bed. They sleep on a mound of stolen treasure. A king s ransom of
ancient treasure lay in that earth house. Once, long ago, a noble warrior had given the matter grave thought before he hid that vast inheritance dear to his people . . . . . . a kingdoms bounty, priceless rings and plated gold a worthy
hoard! (2232-36,2244-46) In The Hobbit the dragon is introduced by saying: there he lay, a vast red-golden dragon, fast asleep . . . Beneath him, under all his limbs and his huge coiled tail, and about him on all sides stretching away across the unseen floors, lay countless piles of precious things, gold
wrought and unwrought, gems and jewels, and silver red-stained in the ruby light. (The Hobbit pg.206) This sounds comparable to a kings ransom. For some reason people, when they see the dragons treasure, have an uncontrollable urge to steal some of it. The wretch was terrified! /Yet still he reached out for more disaster/ and clutched the cup (230,231) An interesting parallel is also that it is a cup stolen in each story. He grasped a great two-handed cup, as heavy as he could carry, cast one fearful eye upwards [he was afraid but did it anyway] . . .his heart was beating and more fevered shaking was in his legs . . . but he still clutched the cup, (The Hobbit, pg. 206,207) Another thing that can be seen is that the dragons wake up with the same rage when they find that they have been robbed. They also react in the same way, burning down a town or two seems to be the norm. Blazing with wrath . . . . . . at times he struck inwards, seeking his cup, and saw again how someone had tampered with his treasure, disturbed his gold . . . By the time night fell his fury was soundless! He wished to pay back with a billow of flame his dear cups theft.
(2296,2299-2302,2304-05) In The Hobbit the dragon has an equally unpleasant attitude when he awakes. Thieves! Fire! Murder! Such a thing had not happened since first he came to the mountain! His rage passes description- the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but never before used or wanted. (Pg.208) And for actual reaction, Smaug takes out his revenge on the lake-town of Esgaroth by setting flames to the thatched roves of houses, he burned the fields and forests surrounding the town and as the people fled he would kill them too. (The Hobbit Pg. 234-36) I am a pimp. This reaction is almost the same as how the dragon in Beowulf treats the villagers he took revenge on. The fiend began to spit out flame, to burn the bright buildings, pouring from above a steam of fire that men fled from . . . how he hunted and hated the Geatish folk intent on harm. (2312-14, 2318-19) Lastly, we see that the weakness of
the dragons has not changed from old writing to new. In Beowulf witch is much older than The Hobbit, the dragons weakness is his soft underbelly. Wiglaf strikes for the belly instead of the head and is successful, He did not heed the dragon s head but burnt his hand in helping his kinsman, striking a little lower down so that his sword went slicing into that fearsome beast, and the billowing flames began to diminish. (2697-2702) with a little help from Beowulf, Wiglaf defeats the dragon. Old fool! Why there is a large patch in
the hollow of his left breast as bare as a snail out of its shell. Was Bilbo Baggins thought as he saw the underside of Smaug. And he was right; this patch was what caused Smaug to die. The dragon swooped once more lower than ever, and
as he turned and dived down his belly glittered white with sparking fires of gems in the moon- but not in one place. The black arrow sped straight for the hollow by the left breast where the foreleg was flung wide. In it smote and vanished, barb, shaft and feather, so fierce was it s flight. With a shriek
that deafened men, felled trees and split stone, Smaug shot spouting into the air turned over and crashed down from on high in ruin. (The Hobbit) Dragons represent evil, they are wickedness personified.