Common Themes in Literature

Common Themes in Literature

The Most Common Theme: Love

Throughout the various texts we read, the theme of love seemed to show itself the most.


In the Odyssey, Book V, Penelope is longing for her husband and asks a glimmering phantom if he is alive or dead. "If you are truly a god and have heard a god's voice, tell me also of that man of many sorrows, Whether he still lives and sees the light of the sun, or whether he is dead and in Hades' dark world"(384). A world away from her, Odysseus is feeling the same loneliness. "She found him sitting where the breakers rolled in. His eyes were perpetually wet with tears now, his life draining away in homesickness" (388).


Love was also an underlining theme in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Towards the end, Gilgamesh is explaining his love for his lost friend to the tavern keeper, "my friend whom I so loved, who went with me through every hardship, Enkidu, whom I so loved, who went with me through every hardship, the fate of mankind has overtaken him" (138).


We see this theme again in the story of Hamlet. Ophelia, one of the local lord's daughter, explains to her father the love Hamlet has shown towards her. "My lord, he hath importuned me with love in honorable fashion" (670). Hamlet portrays his love for his father later on when he is accusing his mother of not having love for him. "Good night: but go not to my uncle's bed; assume a virtue, if you have it not" (716).

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