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The Sorrows of Young Werther - Essay Example

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In Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther, the protagonist's characteristics and ideas define him as the prototypical romantic personality. The Romantic Movement emphasizes emotion over reason, an idea that Werther emulates throughout his life. Werther loves pastoral settings; in nature, he feels most in touch with his emotions…
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The Sorrows of Young Werther
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Download file to see previous pages Werther finds Lotte to be the object of his hopeless desire, but social conventions of a world based on reason keep her just out of his reach. His unrequited passion for Lotte ultimately destroys him as his frustrated melancholy drowns every other aspect of his personality.
Werther too can be defined by one key trait: his inner sensitivity. His sensitivity enables him to be acutely aware of his emotions and the beauty around, which makes him attractive to others. Sensations can be intensified to such an extent that he is often entranced to a blissful state.
The introduction, as written by the fictional editor, establishes Werther as worthy of admiration: "You cannot withhold your admiration and love for his character, any more than your tears for his fate... take comfort in his suffering" (Introduction, l. 3-6).
However, the same trait cultivates Werther's flaws: self-absorbed, egotistic, and hypersensitivity. Werther, has little internal struggle and is usually forthright about his emotions. Werther's defining trait also acts as the central cause of his actions: "my heart, which is the fountainhead of all-all strength, happiness and misery my heart alone is my own." (p. 97)
Werther often complains about the hardships of living, and yet he proclaims: "We human beings often complain that there are so few good days and so many bad ones; but I think we are generally wrong. If our hearts were always open to enjoy the good, which God gives us every day, then we should also have enough strength to bear the evil" (p. 38).
As The Sorrows of Young Werther's end approaches, Werther is in a deep depression and is allowed to fall deeper in love despite recognized consequences: "Dear God! Am I culpable that I even now feel a supreme happiness in again living through those glowing moments of joy in all their intensity Lotte! Lotte! - And this is the end!" (p. 135). Suicide is an unnatural act, fundamentally contradicting the central action of life: living. Death renders beings ultimately desensitized, the complete opposite of Werther's trait.
Concluding, the story is not just about a young man who is obsessed with a young woman and kills himself because he cannot have her. The main theme is more about passion which completely drives the story. Werther is passionate about practically anything. He clearly values nature, youthfulness, society and the love for Lotte. He is totally dominated by his hopeless passion for all things in life. From the beginning of the story, Werther takes particular pleasure in nature.
He tells William "I feel content herethe abundance of this youthful season gives warmth to a heartevery tree, every hedgerow is a bouquet" (p. 24). Werther is devoted to nature; his "whole being is filled with a marvelous gaiety, like the sweet spring morning" (p. 24). When his mother first sends him on the journey, he says he is "alone and glad to be alive" (p. 24).
He talks about a spring he is mysteriously drawn to: the natural beauty that surrounds him enchants him. He goes on to talk about the "footpath that leads to the villageoverlooking the entire valley" (p. 30).
He puts so much emotion into his letters to William about the "most marvellous sunrisethe trees, wet, the fields refreshedblustering wind stormsrush of a forest" (p. 92). And from this, we can see exactly why he has ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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