What are the major themes in Jude the Obscure?

4 Answers

ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Hardy's "Jude The Obscure" has several themes, but the most evident is one that recurs in several of Hardy's writings.  The morality issue is large.  Jude does what he can do the best he can do it.  He tries to remain a moral man and he makes the best decisions he knows how to make after looking closely at whatever situation he finds himself in.  He tries to follow an ethical and moral path.  They may not seem to be ethical and moral to the surrounding community but he is true to his values and when he sees that he has been wrong in his thinking or made a wrong choice, he accepts responsibility for his actions.

This novel is also about the freedom of choice for women.  Sue is considered to be a "new woman" who acts on her impulses and does not try to live her life by Victorian standards.

amanda62's profile pic

amanda62 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Hardy touches on several themes in the novel, typical of the age during which it was written:

  • Immorality (divorce, children out of wedlock and suicide)
  • Fatalism & Pessimism (your destiny is written in stone, why try changing what cannot be changed)
  • Victorian values (marriage as the only salvation for women, social rigidity)

the fact that Jude and Sue attempt to rebel against society and it's rules and acceptable behaviour, reflect Hardy's disastifaction with his own times, but their failure to do so also reiterates the author's innate pessimism.


zahraamousawe's profile pic

zahraamousawe | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

I think Jude te Obscure is one of the novels that convey a powerful theme. the novel strikes with its realistic viewpoint. and I think that Hardy is presenting without embellishment the hunches which controll people's minds and souls when they proceed to have relationships with others. Understanding life and being able to cope with what you have in hamd is really difficult for some people and the experiences of the past really influence the future possible experiences.

the institution of marriage is so sacred that any mistake in it would lead to the heinous end we saw with Jude's children.