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by Herman Hesse

Love Theme

Love is tricky in Siddhartha. On one hand, Siddhartha’s worldly love for his son presents the most formidable challenge to his spiritual progression in the novel, so love is bad. On the other hand, it is only when Siddhartha is able to appreciate his love-pains as love for the entire world that he reaches enlightenment. Furthermore, once he reaches enlightenment, Siddhartha is best able to describe the experience as a profound feeling of love for everything around him. OK, we think we get it now – universal love is the end goal, while narrow, individualistic love is an obstacle to true enlightenment.

Questions About Love

  1. Who does Siddhartha love? Who loves Siddhartha?
  2. What is the relationship between love and enlightenment? Is love a necessary component of enlightenment?
  3. Why does Siddhartha say that he and Kamala are incapable of love? Are they truly incapable of love, or was Siddhartha just saying that?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Siddhartha’s increasing ability to love over the course of the novel parallels and informs his growing spiritual awakening.

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