Lenz, by Georg Buchner Essay

Lenz, by Georg Buchner Essay

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In Buchner’s ‘Lenz’, the protagonist is portrayed as a fallen man, disjointed from society and mentally unstable. Buchner’s portrays Lenz’s fall into madness can be seen strongly in his narrative style but also the use of realisation and nature. From this one can evaluate whether the narrative is the most effective technique in illustrating Lenz’s descent into madness

By examining Buchner’s narrative style, one can see that it is dissimilar to other German Romantics. Where Von Kleist seems journalistic in ‘The Marchioness of O..’ the narrative in ‘Lenz’ appears as if it has been disrupted by the protagonist. For example when the narrator states ‘but at this time he found it annoying that he could not walk on his head’ , one can allude that this is Lenz distorting the narrative with his madness. Helmut argues that ‘Madness cannot be contained within the straitjacket of traditional narration’ and believes that ‘to represent in its full fury means to displace the fundamental criteria of realistic representation.’ This suggests that Buchner disregarded the classical narrative style to make the madness of Lenz more believable. Helmut sees this as the ‘effacement of all differences between the narrators and protagonists perspective’ Therefore, one can infer that the protagonist and narrator have blurred which makes the narration more ambiguous. This makes the reader consider the reliability of the narrator but also makes Lenz seem realistically troubled. Helmut continues stating that Buchner has a ‘disregard for the linearity of time and for the three dimensionality of space.’ One can see this in the fragmented style of narration, which highlights Lenz’s experiences as spots of time. Moreover one can also see Lenz’s inabili...


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...tive method in portrying the madness of Lenz is his unique and distorted narrative. By using un-traditional techniques that include fading the line between narrator and protagonist, Buchner is able to create a character is unconventional clearly mad within the opening of the story and is maintained throughout. His use of religious realisation is not as effective because we are unsure of Buchners own religious motives. However, this technique does allow us to analyse the behaviour of Lenz against social norms thus allowing us to see his behaviours that allude to his madness. Lastly, the use of nature is quite effective as the pathetic fallacy allows the audience to analyse Lenz’s emotions through figurative language. Therefore, it is a collaboration of these three techniques, narrative being the most effective, which allows one to see Lenz’s descent into madness.

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