Universal themes in literature are common ideas that appear in plays, poems and stories – even though they were written decades or even centuries apart. Plays written thousands of years ago by the Greek playwrights Aeschylus and Sophocles have themes that are virtually identical to themes that appear in literature from modern times, and just about every literary work includes some of these timeless ideas.Know More
One of the most common universal themes is the unavoidability of death. The fact that all people are mortal has always been an important idea. It appears in one of the very first works of literature, the epic poem "Gilgamesh," which comes from ancient Mesopotamia, but also in the late 20th century film "Death Becomes Her."
Marriage and love represent another universal theme, and the struggle that each person faces to find a place in society is also a common universal theme. The idea of the hero's quest is just as crucial in Homer's "Odyssey" as it is in the Coen Brothers' film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and the question of morality is important in works spanning from Sophocles' "Antigone" to Donna Tartt's debut novel, "The Secret History." Because all of these ideas are important to humanity, they continue to appear in works of literature.Learn more about Philosophy
Dualistic thinking, according to William Perry's model of intellectual development, is the intellectual ability to understand good and evil but not the nuances inbetween. He believed it was the base level of intellectual development that most college freshmen possessed.Full Answer >
William Shakespeare is known for writing plays and poems during his career. He wrote tragic, comedy, romantic and history plays among the 38 plays with which he is credited. His poems included long narratives and sonnets.Full Answer >
Some of the most important universal themes in literature are coming of age, a great adventure, loss of innocence, betrayal and the alienation or impotence of the modern human. Others are noble sacrifice, rebellion against social conformity, the fight between good and evil, and questing after truth or love.Full Answer >
The exact definition of literature varies from one reader or critic to the next, but most agree that it is any writing with some degree of merit and language that serves as a gateway to the literary world. The word "literature" comes from the Latin word "literatura," which means "writing formed with letters." Whether someone writes fiction or nonfiction, or prose or poetry, it is possible to write literature. In modern times, a series of genres has arisen to take on the question of defining the field of study.Full Answer >