The Problem of Greed in JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

Christopher Larimore


Throughout what is referred to as the legendarium of JRR Tolkien, the underlying value of objects and deeds is a prominent motif. Beginning with The Hobbit in 1937 and continuing through The Lord of the Rings (1954-55), Tolkien constructs a narrative that builds on the struggles of class warfare and the problems wealth brings, both intellectual and financial, with a key focus on the problems of greed. In this paper, I aim to outline Tolkien’s philosophy on how greed corrupts many of the protagonists in the Middle-earth he created, as well as highlight his insertion of the problems of the real world.


Tolkien; Greed; Lord of the Rings; Hobbit; Bilbo; Gollum; Thorin

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