Themes In Siddhartha Essay, Research Paper
The major theme of Siddhartha is that happiness comes from
spiritual peace. Throughout the novel, the protagonist seeks such
peace, which is finally achieved through several different stages
of life. The first stage is that of an orthodox Brahmin’s son. In this
stage, he reads the scriptures and performs ritualistic sacrifice.
The second is an ascetic stage in which he practices the Samana
austerity of self-denial. In the third stage he is caught in the vortex
of the material desires of the world, Samsara. The final stage is
that of self-realization achieved in the presence of Vasudeva, the
ferryman. It is through this cycle that Siddhartha discovers the
path to salvation, but what is most important is that he undertakes
this path on his own. His inner, spiritual peace is singular in
A minor theme is that love, both parent/child and male/female, is
important. Parental love is treated in developing the relationship
between Siddhartha and his father and is later paralleled by the
relationship between Siddhartha and his son. The tension which
arises between these relations is also the cause of a deep, abiding
love between the parent and the child. In contrast, the relationship
between Siddhartha and Kamala, the courtesan, is limited by its
physical nature and is, therefore, unfulfilling, for it is not based on
love. Only when a man and woman base their relationship upon a
deep, abiding love does it become permanent and rewarding.
Another minor theme explored in the novel is that friendship is
very important. It is seen in the early part of the novel in the
friendship between Siddhartha and Govinda, his long-time friend.
In the second part of the novel this theme is developed in the
friendship between Siddhartha and Vasudeva, the ferryman, who
initiates him into the mysteries of spiritual life and whom
Siddhartha becomes one with in thoughts and goals.
The dominant mood in Siddhartha is that of joy arising out of
contemplation and fulfillment. It is a serene world that the author
creates, one of thought and discovery of the mysteries of life. It
also has an exalted feel to it, almost Biblical, in its tightly crafted
prose and sense of timelessness. Time in the novel is compressed
and extended; years may pass with no further development than
that it is passing and then a moment will be extended for pages.
Time in the novel does not parallel reality and contributes to the
mood of peacefulness.