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Theme

An underlying philosophical, social or spiritual message that gives the plot meaning and elevates the story to its essential, universal human ideas. three-act structure

In scriptwriting, a theme is a central topic a narrative treats. Themes can be divided into two categories: a work's thematic concept is what readers or viewers "think the work is about" and its thematic statement being "what the work says about the subject". Themes are often distinguished from premises.

The most common contemporary understanding of theme is an idea or point that is central to a story, which can often be summed in a single word (for example, love, death, betrayal). Typical examples of themes of this type are conflicts between the individual and society; coming of age; humans in conflict with technology; nostalgia; and the dangers of unchecked ambition. A theme may be exemplified by the actions, utterances, or thoughts of a character in a novel. An example of this would be the thematic idea of loneliness in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, wherein many of the characters seem to be lonely. It may differ from the thesis—the text's or author's implied worldview.

A story may have several themes. Themes often explore historically common or cross-culturally recognizable ideas, such as ethical questions, and are usually implied rather than stated explicitly. An example of this would be whether one should live a seemingly better life, at the price of giving up parts of one's humanity, which is a theme in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Along with plot, character, setting, and style, the theme is considered one of the components of fiction.

Key Terms

central topic
character
definition
example
scriptwriting
story
theme
themes
usage
work

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Theme
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Last modified on January 19 2020
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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