In a larger sense, the theme is the major message or moral lesson that a literary work (such as a tale, poem, novel, or drama) offers about a topic (for example, love, injustice, or maturity) and that many readers may relate to their own or all people's lives. The main idea for each section of a poem, essay, or article also serves as an introduction for that piece.
A story's theme can be anything discussed or presented in the narrative: conflicts between good and evil, love and hate, life and death. The theme also can be something not mentioned in the story but implied by it through character development or setting. For example, "Happiness" is the theme of Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol because it shows that even though people do bad things, they can still come out okay on the other side. The theme of Dostoyevsky's 1866 novel Crime and Punishment is justice versus mercy, with crime being punished and merit being rewarded. The theme of Shakespeare's 1599-1613 play Hamlet is revenge, which leads to a more general theme of indecision over whether to act or not act. In modern literature, the theme often appears in titles or abstracts written by authors who write in response to a specific stimulus such as a news event or current issue.
A theme is a literary work's fundamental concept, concern, or aim. A tale, play, or poem's topic might be its point about life—an understanding the writer wishes to impart to the reader. The concept is usually presented indirectly rather than explicitly in most stories, poems, or plays. Rather than telling readers or audiences exactly what they should think or feel, writers often leave that up to them to determine for themselves. Authors often express their ideas about society, humanity, and the like through the use of symbols and metaphors.
The main theme of a story or poem can be anything that the writer wants it to be. Some common themes in literature are love, hate, death, life, freedom, loyalty, betrayal, hope, despair, redemption, and justice. An author can expand on these topics in any way he or she chooses; there are no limits to what can be written about them. The only requirement is that the writer keep the audience interested throughout the piece.
Some authors may want to explore several different themes within one work. For example, Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray deals with both love and evil, while Shakespeare's plays are full of themes such as jealousy, revenge, and tragedy.
An author can also develop a theme by exploring it from different angles. For example, Thomas Hardy wrote several novels about love lost and found over time, but each one presents the theme from a new perspective.
A theme is the main or central concept in a piece of literature. It is a story's uniting factor. The theme of a work of fiction can be a person, place, thing, idea, or principle that ties its various elements together.
Examples: war is hell; all good things must come to an end; people are basically kindhearted. The themes in these stories are misery, transition, and hope, respectively.
The theme can also be the answer to the question "what is this story about?" For example, the theme of Shakespeare's Hamlet might be "to act or not to act". Or it could be "vengeance is sweet", as in Thomas Hardy's poem "Jude the Obscure".
Some stories have more than one theme. For example, "War is hell" and "Transition (or change) is inevitable but difficult" are both themes that appear in Homer's Iliad. War and destruction seem to be eternal constants, while love and friendship endure even during fierce battles- concepts that run counter to each other but both can be true at the same time.