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Downton Abbey Theme Paper

1110 words - 5 pages

Downton Abbey: Series 2 Episode 1

Downton Abbey is a British period drama set in the late 1910s and early 1920s. It tells the story of the aristocratic Crawley family and the people who serve them in their palatial country estate and how the events that occurred throughout history affect their lives. A trademark of the series has always been its’ relatively sympathetic view of aristocratic and wealthy families and the class system during 20th century. The first episode in the second season of Downton Abbey eludes to that theme by presenting a storyline that features the effects that World War I has on everyone who lives and works at Downton. Also, as with most period pieces, romance ...view middle of the document...

He is horrified when he is given a white feather and called a coward in front of a room full of people. Sybil, the youngest of the Crawley girls, feels useless and she decides to help those in need by joining a nurses program. Later in the episode, Matthew discovers that he is fighting in the same trenches as Thomas, a former footman at Downton. They end up having tea together in their downtime and Thomas brings up the irony that a footman is sharing tea with the Lord he once served. Matthew says, “War has a way of distinguishing the things that matter and the things that don’t.”
All of the above examples not only illustrate a theme of the episode, war and its effect on everyone, no matter what class, but it also points to a larger theme in the entire series. The prevailing theme throughout Downton’s time on television has been the sympathetic focus it places on aristocratic families and the class system that was still very prevalent in early 20th century England. The Crawley’s treat their house staff with respect and kindness and they often do all they can to help them when they need it. They are mostly treated as equals and this episode supports the overall theme of the series by illustrating that both the Crawley’s and those who work for them are affected pretty equally by the events of the war. Both groups have members fighting on the front lines and both have people who feel they should be doing more to aid in the war efforts. In enforces the fact that although these two groups of people live very different lives, but at the end of the day we all are affected either physically or emotionally by the powers of war.
Downton Abbey is a period drama and along with that comes themes of romance and the struggles that come along with falling in and out of love. The show often uses the familiar formula of two people destined to be together but nothing ever seems to work out at the right time. This episode features two storylines that strongly depict this theme.
Featured heavily in the first half of the episode is the relationship between...

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