The Development of Characters in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha Essay

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The characters in a novel can make or break a story. In fact, some of the plot details, symbols, or themes will appear confusing or thoughtless solely if the characters are not properly worked into the novel. However, characters, when well thought-out, can also enhance a work of literature, pushing it beyond the realm of generic plots and simple, noncomplex themes and symbols. In the novel Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, the development of Characters such as Siddhartha, Govinda, and Vasudeva help the reader to better understand the central message that the author is trying to portray. At the beginning of the story, two major characters are introduced: Siddhartha and Govinda. Govinda constantly follows Siddhartha and …show more content…
This situation enhances the theme of light and darkness present in the novel. As Govinda is portrayed as a shadow, at this point in the story he is only a by-product of the “light” of enlightenment that Siddhartha is metaphorically facing. This theme is communicated largely through these two characters. If it was communicated in any other way, as through imagery, for example, the story would not have been as complex.
Another theme in the novel that is communicated through the use of characterization is the theme of sleep and meditation. The protagonist Siddhartha often uses either sleep or deep thought to forget something that has happened in his pas life. Siddhartha is an extremely dynamic character. Throughout the novel he moves form a rich lifestyle to a poor deeply religious one, back to a rich one, and finally he pursues a poor lifestyle once again at the end of the book. Siddhartha is indecisive in this whole process and in order to forget each one of his past “lives” he either uses sleep or deep meditation. When he leaves his wife and child, he walks to a river and falls into a deep sleep. “He had dies and a new Siddhartha had awakened from his sleep” (Hesse 100). In Siddhartha, sleep and mediation even has the power to transform someone. The fact that this is illustrated through the character of Siddhartha sperarates this novel from other works of literature.
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