20+ Difference between plot and theme

The art of storytelling contains specific components, much like all other kinds of art. Characters, themes, settings, plots, dialogues, climax, etc., are some of these components. Regarding this post, plot, and theme are the components we are most prone to mix up.

A theme and a plot are pretty distinct from each other. So let’s look at how.

Comparison Between Plot And Theme

Meaning It is the sequence of events and incidents that make up a story.A theme is a message or moral of the story.
EtymologyIt is sometimes believed to be derived from the Greek term “plan.”The word “theme” has been derived from the Greek(via Latin and French) word thema.
OriginIt was first recorded before 1100.It was first recorded between 1250 and 1300.
PartsA plot has 9 integral elements.A theme has no elements.
ConveyanceA plot directly conveys the story.A theme emerges through the portrayal of the characters, their dialogues, thoughts, and feelings.
UsageThere can be more than one plot in a story.There is usually one central theme.
StructureIt starts with the beginning of the story and ends with its end.It is the whole concept of the story. Hence, it is abstract.
ApproachIt follows a linear approach.It doesn’t follow a linear approach.

The Major Difference Between plot And Theme

What is plot?

 A plot is a sequence of events that make up a tale or story. It is a series of interconnected events that bind and shape the story.

A plot is something that is built from the ground. It links one incident to the other, giving it a maze-like structure.

Key difference: Plot:

  • It is the series of incidents and occurrences that make up a tale.
  • The term “plot” solely exists in English.
  • There can be many plots in a story.
  • It was first recorded before 1100.
  • It explains the main events in the story.

What is theme? 

A theme is the main idea or the underlying message of the story. It exemplifies the virtues that a story is built upon.

It is an essential element of fiction and can increase the appeal and importance of a story. A theme depicts the central idea of a story.

Key difference: Theme:

  • The central message or insight is conveyed through a piece of writing.
  • The term “theme” is derived from the Greek(via Latin and French)word thema. 
  • There is mainly one theme in a story.
  • It was first recorded between 1250 and 1300.
  • It is a lesson that the author wants to convey through the story.

The Contrast Between plot And Theme:


  • Plot- The word “plot” has no origin and solely exists in English. However, it is sometimes believed to be derived from the Greek term “plan.” It was first recorded before 1100.
  • Theme- The word “theme” has been derived from the Greek(via Latin and French) word thema. It was first recorded between 1250 and 1300.


  • Plot-It’s the overarching notion of what the viewers should anticipate in the story. It refers to a sequence of actions and occurrences connected to or related.

    The plot elements are exposition, foreshadowing, initial force, conflict, rising action, crisis, climax, falling action, and resolution.
  • Theme- It’s the essence of a story. If the story is a sundae, the theme is chocolate chips. A theme portrays the main idea behind a story.

    It depicts the virtues on which a story is based. It is a crucial component of fiction and can enhance the enjoyment and significance of a narrative. A theme can be divided into a thematic concept and a thematic statement.


  • Plot- A plot directly conveys the storyline. It must be built from scratch until it molds into a great shape. There are generally no hidden or deep thoughts and feelings.
  • Theme– A theme is conveyed indirectly through the characters’ actions, dialogues, settings, thoughts, and feelings. Generally, the whole idea of a theme is revealed at the end of the story. 


  • Plot- Types of plots include tragedy, comedy, rags to riches, rebirth, return, overcoming the monster, quest, voyage, mystery, and rebellion. 
  • Theme- Types of themes include good vs. evil, love, redemption, courage, perseverance, coming of age, and revenge.


  • Plot- A plot has a structured form of component.
  • Theme- A theme has no structure. It is generally a one-liner.


  • Plot- It follows a linear approach. 
  • Theme- It doesn’t follow a linear approach.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How does a theme contribute to a story?

A theme is significant to a story because it is the central idea that binds the story. An author chooses to compose a story because he wants to convey a message through it.

2. What Makes a good plot?

The three components-challenge, conflict, and character make a good plot. An author must brainstorm to pay equal attention to these elements and give rise to a great piece of writing.

3. What’s the main difference between a plot and a theme?

A plot is a series that form a story, whereas a theme is a story’s main idea, message, or moral. 

4. What’s the difference between a thematic concept and a thematic statement?

The thematic concept is the theme that the reader wants to grasp via the story, whereas the thematic statement refers to the theme that the writer intends to express through t

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