Study Guide

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Principles

By C.S. Lewis

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In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader there is an understood ethical code governing the behavior of the protagonists. The narrator draws our attention to this code of behavior by leaving one character (Eustace) outside of it, contrasting his egotism and supposedly progressive views with the established and wholesome values that everyone else lives by. Some of the principles most relevant to the book's plot include courage, loyalty to one's friends, and individual liberty. Although there are no explicit references to Christianity, the symbolism used in the book and our knowledge of the author's background strongly suggest that the principles in the story are meant to be similar or identical to Christian ideals.

Questions About Principles

  1. What are some features of the code of behavior that Caspian and the Narnians follow? List as many as you can think of and support them with references to moments in the book when they describe or act on their principles.
  2. How do Narnian ideas of ethical behavior relate to C.S. Lewis's own Christian values?
  3. Does The Voyage of the Dawn Treader suggest that some principles and chivalric ideals can be taken too far? Consider some of Reepicheep's actions. Is it always smart for him to behave in the most honorable fashion possible? Does the text seem to suggest that he should moderate his behavior in some way? If so, how?

Chew on This

Although Reepicheep is the most honorable character in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, he is also the most reckless.

The code of behavior that Caspian and the Narnians follow is much like the medieval code of chivalry.

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