The Poems ' The Sufferings Of Young Werther ' Essay

The Poems ' The Sufferings Of Young Werther ' Essay

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“The period from 1700 to 1840 produced some highly sophisticated psychological theorizing that became central to German intellectual and cultural life, well in advance of similar developments in the English-speaking world” (Bell i). Some of the psychologists that have helped German literature, advanced are Sigmund Freud, Karen Horney, and Carl Rodgers. Originally, Sigmund Freud studied personality and developed a theory of neurosis and later, Karen Horney built upon his theory, changing some ideas, making her own theory of neurosis. Using Horney’s newer concepts of neurosis, and additional psychological notions from other psychologists, one can apply these to the German literary work, “The Sufferings of Young Werther.”
In the German literature, “The Sufferings of Young Werther,” there are two characters that represent two of the main eras that were happening in the late 1700s and early 1800s. These two characters are Albert and Werther. Werther represents the Storm and Urge era, while Albert represents the Enlightenment era. “The roots of German Romanticism can be traced back to an experimental literary movement entitled the “Sturm und Drang‟ or “Storm and Stress‟ which placed value in the subjective emotions of individuals and repudiated the dominant ideals of Enlightenment; a period of thinking which stressed that all things knowable could be deduced through reason or understood through empirical methods” (Zafiropoulos 1). Also, unlike the Storm and Urge generation, the Enlightenment era believed that the artist served society and that art, like nature, has a set of rules to be followed. Naturally, these two generations collided and we see that being represented in Albert and Werther.
We see these two themes represented in th...


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... and project them onto others (489). Next is sublimation which is when one would express a socially unacceptable impulse in a socially acceptable way (489). Lastly, reaction formation occurs when unpleasant idea, feeling or impulse is turned into its opposite feeling (489).
For example, in, “The Sufferings of Young Werther,” Werther projects his feelings upon Lotte because he could not accept the fact that she was not interested in him as much as he was interested in her. “No, I am not deceiving myself! I read in her black eyes genuine concern for me and that may befall me! Yes, I feel and in this I know I may trust my heart, that she—oh may I, can I express heaven in these words—that she loves me! Loves me! —and how I can begin to value myself, how I—I can certainly tell you, you understand such things—how I worship myself ever since she has come to love me” (54).

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