What is the difference between motif and motive?
The terms "motif" and "motive" mean very different things in English although they both derive from the Latin verb "movere" (to move).
Motif comes into English via French and means a theme or recurring idea in a literary work. It is normally an idea which recurs and has some sort of symbolic significance for the story. In music, a motif is a recurring musical idea or melodic fragment.
Motive arrives in English via the late Latin "motivus" and means motivation or something that impels one to act a certain way. In analysing plot in narratives, one often analyses what motives caused characters to act a certain way.
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