Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 175

The Unfortunate Traveller by Thomas Nashe has a few recurring themes throughout the various adventures of Jack, the main character of the novel. However, the most prominent theme is perhaps the constant experiences of misfortune that actually turn out to be examples of good luck. The unfortunate traveler, Jack, is fortunate to have witnessed historical events and lived to tell about them.

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For instance, Jack's existence is threatened almost in every story vignette, or adventure, but he always comes out alive. He even witnesses the massacre of Baptists for refusing to carry weapons. Death is both lightheartedly and intensely examined throughout the book.

It gives the readers a wide perspective on the precariousness of mortality. There is also a theme of mischief in the stories and, in this regard, the character of Jack is reminiscent of Casanova or Huckleberry Finn. Another theme touched upon is the thirst for power and wealth. Greed seems to be a driving force for many of the characters in the stories, and they wind up in trouble because of it.

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