Both themes and motif are similar and closely related. Therefore, people often find it difficult to distinguish them easily. This article will try to bring out the difference between theme and motif.
A theme is the main idea or ideas explored in the story. Themes are used to convey a thought process, an idea or a concept. Themes can be love, death, loneliness, honour, friendship, the emancipation of women etc. On the other hand, a motif is a recurrent pattern in a story that helps to strengthen a theme.
While a theme is the underlying central idea in a written piece, a motif is a repetition of some patterns, images or ideas to reinforce the main theme. A motif is narrower than a theme. For example, if the underlying theme of a story is love, motifs may be a vulnerable heroine, a good looking hero, the chemistry between them etc.
Writers who take revenge as their theme highlight it by using motifs, like someone being killed, crime being committed, police getting involved, people going through agony, and planning to revenge etc. All these motifs point to the main theme of writing.
In conclusion, a theme of a piece of writing is like a beautiful fabric and the motifs are designs interspersed along the fabric and in line with the main theme.
References
https://www.thebalance.com/what-theme-means-in-literature-1277140
http://www.differencebetween.net/language/the-difference-between-motif-and-theme/

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