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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Ion is a Greek play written around 400 B.C. Like many Greek plays, it tells a mythological story in order to make a broader point about morality, human nature, or ethics. Some of the themes of Ion is trials and tribulations, family and origins, and overcoming obstacles.

Trials and Tribulations

Ion is abandoned by his parents and raised in the temple in Delphi, although he must work as a slave or servant. Eventually he is rescued, but he still lives a tough life. He faces many trials and tribulations throughout the play.

Family and Origins

Most of the play centers around Ion working to find out more about his parents and his familial origins. We see this repeatedly in other Greek plays, and it is still a theme in many writings to this day (think of Harry Potter, for example). Ion spends most of the play trying to find out more about his parents and why they abandoned him. His journey and character growth is informed by his desire to discover where he came from.

Overcoming Obstacles

We see the theme of overcoming trials and tribulations when Ion ends up reunited with his family and ends up having Ion named for him. This shows that someone's beginnings in life do not necessarily determine how their life will end. The play has a happy ending despite its unhappy beginning. Ion is reunited with his family and is able to overcome the tough life he had at the beginning of the play, when he was abandoned as a child.

Other Themes

Throughout the play, we see other themes and motifs presented. These themes include jealousy, betrayal, and greed. However, the key themes in this play are the themes of facing trials and tribulations, families and origins, and finally, overcoming those problems. These themes were common throughout much of Greek mythology—for example, in Hercules—and we still see these themes still presented today in many writings.

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