The Theme of The Vicar of Wakefield


The Theme The Vicar of Wakefield


The Theme of The Vicar of Wakefield

The Theme of The Vicar of Wakefield

The Theme The Vicar of Wakefield

‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ by Oliver Goldsmith is a popular novel. The main theme of the novel is disaster and patience. It deals with the family of Dr. Primrose, who along with his family suffers much at the hand of some evil adverse powers.

Dr. Primrose is a Vicar of the church at Wakefield. He lives near his church with his two daughters: Olivia and Sophia and two sons: George and Moses. They are all honest and social, but one by one some fatal disasters overtake the family but being honest and pious the Primrose family bears all the disasters with patience and at last, all the disasters that come upon them fly away.

The first disaster that overtakes the Primrose family is the financial loss, which disheartens the family in two ways. First, the Primrose had to live a miserable life and second George, the son of Dr. Primrose had to lose his beloved Miss Wilmot whom he wanted to marry, but the Primrose family endured this disaster with patience.

The second great disaster fell down on the Primrose family with the seduction of Olivia, the eldest daughter of Dr. Primrose in the hand of Squire Thornhill who was an adulterous villain. He pretended to fall in love with Olivia and at last, he allured her and took her to London where he seduced her violently but refused to marry. This disaster gave pain to Dr. Primrose’s mind but he took no action against the villain and endured the disaster with much patience.

The third disaster came to the Primrose family when they sold their horse at a marketplace. The rogue named Jenkinson cheated Moses and brought the horse without paying money. Yet Dr. Primrose took patience.

The fourth disaster that fell on the Primrose family is the missing of Olivia. In search of her, Primrose went away home and found her in an inn, being harassed by the landlady because she could not pay the bill. Dr. Primrose seeing her helpless condition became very sorry, but yet with honest patience, he placed her at the nearby inn and started to go back home.

The fifth disaster met by Dr. Primrose and his family is when Dr. Primrose comes back home and finds that his home is burning. In the nick of time, he saved the family but he got burnt.

Sixth, unbearable, and even more lamentable disaster is the arrest of Dr. Primrose because he was unable to pay the rent to the Squire’s agent. After this, he was taken to jail, and then George the eldest son was also sent to the same jail by the Squire because he attempted to fight a duel with him. In the prison, Dr. Primrose took to preaching sermons to the prisoners and felt relief from the pain of these misfortunes.

But honesty pays in the long run. The squire and Jenkinson who were the rogues had come under Mr. Burchell, the wealthy uncle of the squire Thornhill and confessed their guilt. George married Miss Wilmot, Thornhill agreed to marry Olivia, Mr. Burchell married Sophia and even Dr. Primrose got back his missing fortune of 1400.

The above analysis of the themes of the novel clearly shows that disaster and patience in the essence of the novel standing upon which the novel begins develops and ends.

The theme may be interpreted in another way also as the theme of the struggle between Good and Evil, the struggle between Angel or Devil, or the struggle between honesty and dishonesty. Dr. Primrose’s family is the symbol of Good or Angel or Honesty and the squire the merchant and Jenkinson are the symbols of Evil or Devil or dishonesty. 0 0 0

The Theme of The Vicar of Wakefield 

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The Theme of The Vicar of Wakefield

N. B. This article entitled ‘The Theme of The Vicar of Wakefield’ originally belongs to the book ‘World Novel Criticism‘ by Menonim Menonimus. The Theme of The Vicar of Wakefield

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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