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Sorrows of Young Werther Essay

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Updated: Sep 25th, 2021

First of all it is necessary to emphasize, that the novel is written in the epistolary genre, and it is aimed to highlight the protagonist’s sorrows. The fact is that a letter is regarded to be something personal and intimate, as it is sent to the only person who is trusted. Werther shares his feelings and thoughts with his friend Wilhelm: “How Happy

I am that I am gone! My dear friend, what a thing is the heart of man! To leave you, from whom I have been inseparable, whom I love so dearly, and yet to feel happy! ” (p. 1)

It means that the feelings are so powerful, that it is impossible to keep them inside, and he also can not share with someone else. This characterizes Werther as a sensitive and refined boy, who instantly fell in love, but, unfortunately he can not confess end express his feelings, which he describes the following: “A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents.” (p. 3)

Actually, these feelings were one-sided, and Werther was self-deceived, as Lotte would never respond for his feelings, and everyone, who knew about Werther’s feelings, clearly realized it. The only fact that Lotte did not come to his funeral under the linden tree signifies that she felt nothing towards him and even the fact of her forced marriage to Albert in no way changes the situation.

It is confirmed once more, that love blinds anyone, as a healthy, energetic young man would not commit himself to suicide, if in healthy mind. But insane because of love is capable for any foolishness. He is calm and ready to leave this world: “See, Charlotte, I do not shudder to take the cold and fatal cup, from which I shall drink the draught of death. Your hand presents it to me, and I do not tremble. All, all is now concluded: the wishes and the hopes of my existence are fulfilled.” (p.104) “Past eleven o’clock! All is silent around me, and my soul is calm. I thank thee, O God, that thou bestowest strength and courage upon me in these last moments!” (p.103)


Yong Werther is regarded to be a character of enlightenment, where protagonist is obliged to be sensitive and weak, faint away after every confusion, commit to suicide if his o her honor had been violated, or if the subject of is or her love can not be achieved. People of enlightenment stated, that the human life is the highest value, but absolutely forgot to keep their own lives, and were ready to commit to suicide for every reason they regarded worthy of. From the contemporary point of view, Young Werther is just a foolish fallen in love, who could not take strong decision and find something, that would draw his attention of the initially unrequited feelings.


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Penguin Classics publishing, 1989.

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