Demian Themes

Demian Themes

Good and evil

The protagonist of the story suffers from an unsolved problem, which causes him a great physical and emotional discomfort. He strives to be good, just like his parents, who fully belong to the world of light, guided by their unquestionable faith, but he also opposes to his parents’ way of life. Emil Sinclair can’t get rid of self-doubt, for he feels that he is different from the rest, that he doesn’t belong to “the world of light”. From early childhood, he is taught what is good and what is evil, but still he can’t find a satisfactory answer for himself. This inner conflict becomes the main theme of the book and makes him take a long road to himself in order to learn what is good and evil for him.

A new world

It is a commonly known fact that great historical events are preceded with growth of philosophic arguments. The world usually is divided into two sides, one of which consists of those who dare, while the other one consists of those who don’t. When World War I begins, Max says that “the new world has begun and the new world will be terrible for those clinging to the old”. The theme reveals that thrre always are and will be romantics and dreamers, who believe and will believe in the new world through a war or any other disaster.


Emil’s parents are devoted Christians, people, who are guided by their faith and find needed answers in the Bible or through a prayer. Unfortunately, they often forget that it is highly important to not only find a way to God, but also to himself/herself. Their own flawlessness prevents them from seeing that their son is not a type of person, who can be satisfied with the only one book. This inability to accept that all human beings differ widens a gap between them and their son.


Max Demian often speaks about people who “bear a mark”, those who dare and those who are not cowards. His justification for Cain as a man of will and power often reminds of Nietzsche’s concept of a superman. In spite of the fact that his and Nietzsche’s ideas are extremely tempting and fascinating, they might be easily used for wrong purposes. As soon as one person starts regarding himself/herself as a superman, he/she starts forgetting about importance and a value of other’s people’s lives.

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