Writing Theme Statements

Taylor Frick and Nicole Flores

What is a theme?

A theme is the message in a piece of work. It implies something about humans or life itself. Different pieces of a work will contribute to the theme and prove it.

A theme includes...

  • A Message
  • Observations
  • Something intriguing
  • Generalizations
  • Something believable
  • Different pieces of the text

What are the steps to complete a theme statement?

  1. Choose theme subject
  2. Choose two characters that share a common message
  3. Fill in known information that includes a title of the work, a theme subject, and the two characters
  4. Next, determine what is true for the characters and the theme subject
  5. Finally, explain what you put for step 4

A theme does not include...

  • Any general statement
  • Any moral in the text
  • A general topic alone
  • Something said a lot by the public
  • Specifics (names, etc.)
  • Encompassing words (all, everything, always, never, etc.)

Example one Act 1 Scene 1

"Fear is displayed in the play, The Merchant of Venice, (by both characters Salerio and Salanio) to show that people have fear of the unknown, and the uncertainties that lie beyond our control of the situation."

Example two... Act 1 Scene 2

"Act 1-Scene 2 of Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare is about bitterness/ sarcasm (towards Portia’s and Shylock's situation) through the tone and choice of words, it shows that people are harsh without understanding what the story behind the problem or situation is."

Example three... Act 1 Scene 3

"Prejudice is displayed in The Merchant of Venice (by both Shylock and Antonio) showing that prejudice based on religious beliefs lead to how negatively others treated others and reveals how people can so easily judge people because of these differences without knowing who they truly are outside of their religious beliefs."