In The Adventures of Pinocchio, perhaps the most overt theme in entire text is that of lying. That is what most children remember or learn from having read The Adventures of Pinocchio. That being said, there are themes that are present in the text that are more important. Those themes are identity and unconditional love, and these are recurring throughout the text.
Identity is very multidimensional in this text, because Pinocchio goes through physical transformations throughout. In the very beginning, he was already talking when he was just a piece of wood with which Mastro Cherry was going to carve into a leg of a table. That’s when Pinocchio showed his first sign of ‘existence’ and this caused Mastro Cherry to give the piece of wood to his friend Geppetto, who becomes Pinocchio’s “father” because he decides to make a puppet out of the wood, thus animating and anthropomorphizing Pinocchio. This is essentially, the genesis of Pinocchio, and therefore the beginning of his quest to find his identity. Throughout the text, Pinocchio goes through arduous tasks and encounters many characters who use his foolishness and naivety to their advantage. An instance of this takes place when the Fox and the Cat trick him into planting his gold pieces into the ground to produce a money tree. He believes them, but for good reason because he was planning on helping out Geppetto with the reward, yet he is fooled and robbed of his money. He then is placed into jail because his stupidity made him complicit with the crime. Through every task he endures, he learns something more about himself and his desire to be a good boy deepens. He feels regretful for his past actions and ignorance. It is only after he completes the very selfless act of filling up hundreds and hundreds of water buckets in exchange for milk to aid his father in recovery that Pinocchio transforms into an actual boy, which was a great wish of his. This human-like metamorphosis solidifies Pinocchio’s journey for his identity.
Unconditional love plays as great a role as does identity for the major themes of this text. Geppetto, while not biologically Pinocchio’s father, has a paternal type of unconditional love for Pinocchio. In the beginning of the text, Geppetto sells his coat for an alphabet book for Pinocchio to be able to go to school, even when the weather was very bad and he was cold. When Pinocchio asks Geppetto why he sold his coat, Geppetto replies, “It was too warm.” Geppetto is the embodiment of selflessness, and that eventually rubs off on Pinocchio. The Fairy provides Pinocchio with unconditional love because she acts as his Guardian Angel throughout the course of the text. She never berates Pinocchio for his shortcomings, yet she always encourages. She makes promises that she never breaks and strives to bring to fruition. She offers forgiveness for his old mischief, and rewards him with human life because he took care of his ill father, thus granting him with his greatest desire.