by C.S. Lewis
Prince Caspian Theme of Memory and the Past
Nostalgia is a lot like viewing the past through rose-tinted glasses. In which case, Lewis's writing glasses must have been rose-tinted because Prince Caspian doesn't just envy the past through nostalgia—it straight-up worships it. Everything about Old Narnia is seen as a type of golden age for Caspian and his people, and their entire war is an attempt to make Narnia more like the Narnia of the past. They even receive help from the Pevensie children (ye kings and queens of yore). The characters who don't desire this past or who desire a different type of past are written as ignorant at best, or more commonly, as villains.
Questions About Memory and the Past
- Why do you think Prince Caspian finds its answer for the best future in the past?
- What character promotes the best parts of the past? What character embodies the worst parts of the present? Comparing these characters, what can you say about this theme in the novel?
- Let's consider our own world here. Do you think Prince Caspian's notion of an idyllic past works outside the novel? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Even if he doesn't realize it, Miraz honors the past by his acknowledgment of Peter's legal power to challenge him to a duel.
The use of elements of our own world's past, such as the gods and creatures of Greek myth, helps connect the importance of the past in Narnia to the importance of the past in our world.