Free Siddhartha Essays: Themes in Siddhartha

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Themes in Siddhartha

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse tells of a man, Siddhartha, and his search for peace. Siddhartha leaves the Brahmins to become a holy Samamna. He finds no satisfaction in the deprivation, which the Samanas practice, so he leaves their way of life to find the Buddha. The Buddha's teachings fail to satisfy his desire to find a path to peace, also. He then travels to a town but finds no answers there either. Finally, beside the river, Siddhartha finds peace. There are two main themes in Siddhartha; the father/son theme and the theme of peace and totality.

The theme of father and own can be found at the beginning and end of the novel. Siddhartha leaves his father at the very beginning of the book in order to find the peace he feels he has not achieved by being a Brahmin, and Siddhartha never sees his father again. Siddhartha has a son with a courtesan in the town and has responsibility for him after his mother dies; the boy does not like staying by the river with Siddhartha and runs away, causing Siddhartha the same grief that Siddhartha had caused his own father years ago. These losses suffered by the by both Siddhartha and his father are all a part of Siddhartha's journey to achieve inner peace.

The theme of peace and totality appears throughout the Siddhartha. Siddhartha's father performs ablutions in the river and offers sacrifices to the gods in a never ending attempt to achieve peace within himself. The Samanas practice deprivation and attempt to escape the Self through meditation, only to realize that they only achieve totality for a short time. The Buddha has found peace and vainly attempts to explain to others how they, too, might achieve peace.

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