The Unbearable Lightness of Being takes a look at power relationships in love, sex, and politics. The sexual and romantic battles of the novel's four main characters parallel the political and social tensions of the historical backdrop against which the story is set. In this novel, there is no equality in sex or in love – one person is always in control of the other. In the political realm, the novel takes a look at kitsch, which the narrator defines as the aesthetic ideal used by politicians of every kind to enforce their ideologies. The novel also explores weakness and strength as character traits, and asks what personal qualities contribute to each.
In this novel, sexual relationships are based on an inequality of power.
No matter how strong a character is in this novel, he or she is ultimately at the mercy of his or her own es muss sein.