The Sufferings of Young Werther by Goethe Essay

The Sufferings of Young Werther by Goethe Essay

Length: 1269 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Discuss the relationship between individual and society in Goethe’s The Sufferings of Young Werther. What features of Werther’s individuality make him incapable of taking up a “normal” position within society?

It is accurate to suggest that an interdependent relationship exists between the individual and society. It is also accurate to state that in order for both the individual and society to flourish, the two entities must complement one another in values, beliefs and needs. It may be perceived that through carefully constructed characterisation throughout his eighteenth century novel ‘The Sufferings of Young Werther’, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe holistically depicts the way in which the relationship between society and the individual can shape the individual, how the individual, having been rejected from society, can become a body of self destruction and the way in which relationships throughout society can be shaped in response to conflicting perspectives of the individual and society as a whole.
Due to the interdependent relationship between the individual and society, societal values can greatly influence the individual. It can be said that Goethe’s characterisation of Lotte and Werther clearly depict this notion in varying outcomes. Lotte is depicted as a compassionate and loyal character whose relationship with Werther depicts her as somewhat naive. Despite having convinced herself for the majority of the novel that her feelings for Werther are due to a brother-like connection, Lotte acknowledges her individual desires of wanting to, “keep [Werther] for herself.” (82) Throughout the novel, the heart and soul are symbolic of passionate love. With, “her heart squeezed tight, and a dark cloud [hanging] over her eyes,” Lotte ...

... middle of paper ...

... but comes back and everything is diseased/dying, recurring plot reflective of his addictive attitude
 Re: ants -> see as destruction of society
• Re: Prince about creativity? Perhaps.
 Re: death scene
• Horse (free from self)
• The drawn out death sequence (punishment for turning back on society perhaps)
• Imperfection... world order... pg 138
 Loses self in romantic dreams - Goethe pg 129 re: intertextuality, becomes Ossian
o Madman
 Loved Lotte
 Suggesting that freedom from society equates to happiness, but has completely lost self because they’re crazy, really.
o The murder
 Obsessive over lover
 If I can’t have her no one can, reflective of Werther’s idea of Lotte
 Both seem to see their actions (murder and suicide) as tribute of their love
• Lotte touched the gun, ergo sanctioned the suicide
o Could go into religious blood sacrifice if time allows

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Poems ' The Sufferings Of Young Werther ' Essay

- “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....   [tags: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Romanticism]

Better Essays
1673 words (4.8 pages)

The Sufferings of Young Werther: a Middle-class Novel? Essay

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's novel, The Sufferings of Young Werther portrays a young man coming to terms with his position in society, his views on life, and more importantly, his affections for Lötte. In reading the novel, and trying to reach a greater understanding of its meanings, it is important to distinguish that this is a middle-class novel, dealing with a young middle-class man in late eighteenth century Germany. Though the novel is middle-class in substance, it should be noted that it did enjoy a wide readership, which included the aristocracy....   [tags: European Literature]

Better Essays
1415 words (4 pages)

A Young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Essay

- ... Harry Steinhauer believes that a modern reading of the novel depict Werther as a man who cannot, “...find a place for himself in society.” However, if we are to believe that Werther is aware of the difference in values between society and the individual, we too can see that he consciously elects to alienate himself from society by following his own desires as opposed to those structured to complement society. It can be said that while Lotte accepts the values of society and Werther opposes them, both of these actions come as a direct result of the interdependent relationship between the individual and society....   [tags: notorius German writer and statesman]

Better Essays
1359 words (3.9 pages)

Goethe's Sentimentalism Essay

- From the first storytellers to the most recent Poet Laureate, inner emotion has always fueled the creators of language art. Without inner conflict, and emotion stemming from that conflict, there is no wood to make the fire burn, no motivation behind the words. While all artistic authors have emotion as an inspiration for their works, and all poets use emotion as the stimulus for or subject of their writings, the sentimentalists took the most intense standpoint on the emotional spectrum in artistic writing....   [tags: Emotion, Writing]

Better Essays
779 words (2.2 pages)

Death and Freedom in Sorrows of a Young Werther and Crime and Punishment

- Death and Freedom in Sorrows of a Young Werther and Crime and Punishment The relationship between death and freedom is a common thread throughout Sorrows of a Young Werther by Goethe and Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. The relationship illustrated in both works is that one cannot achieve true freedom until they are dead. Until death, Werther and Raskolnikov will always feel the restrictions that society places upon them. Werther feels restricted due to the unrequited love of Lotte and Raskolnikov feels restricted by the moral code that society establishes....   [tags: Goethe Dostoevsky Death Freedom Literature Essays]

Better Essays
884 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

- Shelley in Frankenstein and Goethe in The Sorrows of Young Werther wrap their stories around two characters whose mental torment and physical actions are similar to one another. Both the stories deal with characters who are struggling to find happiness in their lives in the world they live in, but they could not because of rejection. Werther was seeking to be loved and have a family with the girl she loved whereas, the creature was seeking for a companion and people to relate with and call family because he was all alone....   [tags: Sorrows of Young Werther, Victor]

Better Essays
1177 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Sorrow Of Young Werther by Goethe

- Death has been the consequent for the main characters in each of the first four novels read for the course. The protagonist in each of the first four novels; Werther, Rafael, Ivan Ilyich, and K., respectively; met their demise on the final page of their respective novels. All four directly or indirectly were the cause of their painful demise. Werther chose suicide over conforming to the ways of adulthood, and moving further away from nature. Rafael chose to live a life of possessions, and in turn, his inner-self dwindled....   [tags: Goethe Sorrow Young Werther]

Better Essays
1648 words (4.7 pages)

Myth of the 'Noble Savage' Illustrated in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther

- Political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau is often attributed to the discussion of the “noble savage,” and the existence of natural man. Throughout numerous works of literature, the theme of the “noble savage” is prevalent and enduring, providing indirect authors’ commentary through the actions and development of various characters. Two such novels are Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther. In both novels, Shelly and Goethe demonstrate strong Romantic ideals, while developing various characters using Rousseau’s myth....   [tags: The Sorrows of Young Werther, frankenstein]

Better Essays
1379 words (3.9 pages)

The Sorrows of Young Werther Essay

- Goethe’s first and most famous narrative work, The Sorrows of Young Werther, beautifully captures the spirit of the birth of romanticism in Germany. Beauty being essential to the romantics, Kant defined it as “purposefulness without purpose”. Goethe had this same idea when writing, in that aesthetic judgment is different than subjective or cognitive judgment. These aesthetic judgments are concerned with experiencing an object as designed for the emotion they can invoke, not for any particular intention....   [tags: Goethe]

Better Essays
2076 words (5.9 pages)

Werther as the Prototypical Romantic in Sorrows of Young Werther Essay

- Werther as the Prototypical Romantic in Sorrows of Young Werther 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.  He rejects rationality and complexity with the sentiment that life is an adventure to be guided by intuition.  Werther's longing for his love, Lotte, is a paradigm of the Romantic concept of sehnsucht, one's constant yearning for something that they will never possess or know.  Werther find...   [tags: Sorrows Young Werther Essays]

Better Essays
1342 words (3.8 pages)