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Central Theme / Theatre

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Remember, a Central Theme is not the same as An Aesop; a theme is a question, idea, topic or concept that the text explores, while an Aesop is a conclusion the author reaches about the theme or a lesson they wish to impart to the reader. As such, you should avoid phrasing your examples as conclusions.

  • 12 Angry Men: How personal issues and hangups can cloud one's judgment.
  • 1776: The American Revolution was started by flawed humans, not creatures of enlightened perfection, and it was not a Foregone Conclusion in the slightest.
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  • Assassins: The American Dream and how it can be warped to suit an agenda.
  • Cabaret: Hiding away from the world.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2013 musical): The transformative power of imagination.
  • Chicago: The fleeting nature of fame.
    • Alternatively, the criminal as celebrity.
  • A Chorus Line: Musical theater, and what it means to pursue your passion.
  • The Crucible:
    • Religion can destroy people. Religion can turn someone to the side of the Devil. But it can also find the true goodness of a person that has been hidden.
    • Also, people are bound and driven to find a scapegoat to avoid facing their own problems.
  • Dear Evan Hansen: Having personal problems is no excuse to treat your loved ones badly. You are always responsible for your actions.
  • Death of a Salesman: Is being ordinary a bad thing? Is success the only measure of a man?
  • Evita: The one thing showbusiness and politics have in common: showmanship.
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  • A Few Good Men: Avoiding responsibility.
  • The Flies: One's true freedom starts at the absolution of guilt.
  • Glen Garry Glen Ross:
    • Persuasion.
    • No one stays on top forever.
    • What it takes to make it in modern business, even if this means losing your soul in the process.
  • Hamilton: Ambition, impulsiveness, and legacy.
  • Heathers: High school, and on a larger scale the world, is a cruel place, but it can get better if people just stopped making fun of each other's insecurities.
  • Henrik Ibsen's plays:
    • A Doll's House: The inequalities and delusions between a man and a woman within marriage, and what effect these can have on the relationship between them.
    • Ghosts: The ideals of the old will come to haunt to new. Also, the sins of the father haunt the sons.
    • Hedda Gabler: Freedom from societal and moral constraints.
    • The Wild Duck: Some people live a lie but sometimes the lie is all they have.
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  • Inherit the Wind: The dangers of letting you religious beliefs cloud your judgement, and that you should open your mind to new ideas even if you don't agree with them.
  • Into the Woods: "Wishes come true, not free."
  • The Last Five Years: Dishonesty, personal flaws, and miscommunication can tear apart relationships if left unchecked, no matter how strong the relationship may seem
  • Little Shop of Horrors: The consequences of giving in to temptation and letting others dominate you.
  • The Man Who Had All The Luck: Luck's guilt.
  • Medea: A Woman Scorned with nowhere to seek justice will turn to revenge.
  • Merrily We Roll Along: Friendship and how relationships with others change depending on your life choices.
  • Oedipus Rex: Should we pursue the truth even if it leads to our doom?
    • Antigone: What is more important: your duty to the state, or familial bonds? And how far will people go for each?
  • The Oresteia: The Cycle of Revenge, to what extent Revenge is justified and how does one break out of the cycle.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: People cannot be controlled.
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - Is man just a victim of his fate?
  • Shrek: The Musical: How stories interact with real life.
  • The Sound of Music: What problems you have to face (romantic crap) and what problems you can only run away from (Those Wacky Nazis).
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Love, and the (sometimes horrible) lengths people will go to because of it.
  • Tennessee Williams' plays:
  • Timon of Athens: It is much better to be a misanthrope; you won't be hurt in the end.
  • Wicked: Good intentions can still have terrible ramifications, and true friendship can be found in the most unlikely of places.
  • William Shakespeare's plays:
    • All's Well That Ends Well: The role women play in young mens' transition to adulthood.
    • Antony and Cleopatra: Every great man dies twice.
    • As You Like It: "All the world's a stage, and we are merely players."
    • Coriolanus:
      • Democracy can be corrupted by any asshole who chooses to do so.
      • When Society Marches On, it leaves behind some truly amazing people.
    • Hamlet: The clash of thought and action. A complex mind finds simple actions such as Revenge hard to appreciate whereas more pragmatic simple people can live with themselves by easy justifications.
    • Henry IV: The relationships between fathers and sons. The clash between frivolous youth and responsible adulthood.
    • Julius Caesar: The conflict between personal honor and the greater good. Whether a honorable man can retain honor after committing betrayal and in the face of defeat.
    • King Lear: How madness can corrupt and give wisdom.
    • Macbeth: The cost of the pursuit of power.
    • The Merchant of Venice - The price one must pay for one's deeds.
    • A Midsummer Night's Dream: Love can be difficult, but also magical and beautiful.
    • Othello: Jealousy.
    • Richard II - Do the ends justify the means?
    • Romeo and Juliet: The price of young and reckless love.
    • The Taming of the Shrew: What is the real role of women in marriage?
    • Titus Andronicus: When a man acts upon revenge, and become part of its vicious cycle.

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