Adultery in literature

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The theme of adultery has been used in a wide range of literature through the ages, and has served as a theme for some notable works such as Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary. As a theme it brings intense emotions into the foreground, and has consequences for all concerned. It also automatically brings its own conflict, between the people concerned and between sexual desires and a sense of loyalty.

As marriage and family are often regarded as basis of society a story of adultery often shows the conflict between social pressure and individual struggle for happiness.

In the Bible, incidents of adultery are present almost from the start. The story of Abraham contains several incidents and serve as warnings or stories of sin and forgiveness. Abraham attempts to continue his blood line through his wife's maidservant, with consequences that continue through history. Jacob's family life is complicated with similar incidents.

The following works of literature have adultery and its consequences as one of their major themes. (M) and (F) stand for adulterer and adulteress respectively.

Drama[edit]

Fiction[edit]

References[edit]

  • "Farewell, King John of Suburbia", New Statesman, 29 January 2009