Tom Jones Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 58 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Tom Jones.
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Virtue and Vice

The overarching theme of Tom Jones is virtue and vice. The highlighted virtue is prudence, and the featured vices are hypocrisy and vanity.

Prudence, one of the time-honored cardinal virtues of Western culture, essentially means thinking ahead, considering the likely consequences of one's actions, and acting accordingly. The failure to do this is Tom's downfall over and over, until the very end of the story. Although Tom has many virtues—he is kind, good-hearted, generous, brave, loyal, and forgiving—his lack of prudence gives his adversaries opportunities to harm him and drives away his beloved Sophia, nearly for good.

Tom's imprudence often manifests in his behavior with women. In spite of his love for Sophia, he falls into one dalliance after another with unsavory women. He continues this pattern of behavior even though he knows that it is hurtful to Sophia and counterproductive to...

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This section contains 619 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Tom Jones Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Tom Jones from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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