What is the conflict in Siddhartha?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the basic conflict is to discover the meaning of existence in the world.  Siddhartha is shown to be an individual who wishes to find the meaning of life and the essence of what defines existence.  In this, there is the basic study of human consciousness is present.  This becomes the conflict that is sought throughout the work.  Siddhartha wishes to find the meaning of life, what is existence, and how one can avoid suffering.  For so many, this becomes the central conflict in being and certainly Siddharta's question beings this out.  This is where the work pits the protagonist, seeking to find clarification over that which confounds.  The goal of this quest is to "have no goal," and this is where the driving force behind the narrative lies.  The conflict in the work is the basic meaning of life for all individuals, where human consciousness is centered.  It is one in which there is not a direct or absolute answer, for those approaches have been shown to fail Siddhartha.  It is for this reason that a new quest is justified and a new understanding is sought to emerge.