The Lower Depths Themes

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The main philosophical issue in The Lower Depths is the central theme of the work, the merits of the truth versus the consoling lie. Luka, the pilgrim, embodies the philosophy that people need lies as buffers against the hardships of life. The first instance in which he demonstrates this conviction is when he soothes the dying Anna with promise of peace after death. His conversation later with Bubnoff and Pepel indicates that he may not believe in such an afterlife, but, rather, is committed to consoling one who suffers. Through Acts II and III Luka bolsters the hopes of characters who are downtrodden and suffering, by kindling hope with potentially insubstantial information. For example, he is quick to assure Nastiah that he believes her love story although it is clearly not true, in the interest of protecting her feelings. Similarly, he tells the...

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This section contains 992 words
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The Lower Depths from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.