Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: Siddhartha
- When Written: 1919-1921
- Where Written: Switzerland
- When Published: 1922
- Genre: Spiritual, Bildungsroman
- Setting: India, in the time of the Buddha
- Climax: Siddhartha reaches enlightenment by listening to the river and understanding the oneness of the world
- Antagonist: The illusions of the material world and the search for enlightenment antagonize the characters but in the end, Siddhartha realizes that he must love everything, even those things that seem like illusion and suffering
- Point of View: Third person narrator, omniscient, but usually following Siddhartha’s thoughts
What’s in the name: In Sanskrit, the name Siddhartha means ‘one who has accomplished a goal’, combining ‘siddha’ which means “accomplished” and ‘artha’ which means “goal”. Gotama means ‘best cow’, and Kamala means ‘pale red’.
Siddhartha reincarnated: The film Zachariah is based on Siddhartha, but reworks the action of Hesse’s novel into a surreal Western. The characters provide the message of spiritualism and pacifism in the guise of inept criminals and musicians.