Lenz, by Georg Buchner

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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 in his narrative style, the use of realisation and the use of nature. Moreover, one can evaluate their effectiveness in portraying 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
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However, the narrative style is not Buchner’s only method for deconstructing the stability of Lenz. Through a series of religious realisations, Lenz comes to question the power of God. When delivering the sermon Lenz initially feels improved however ‘it seemed to him that the universe was full of wounds; this caused him deep unspeakable pain.’ One can infer that Lenz has realised the suffering of those around him that questions his own reliance on religion as crutch. Moreover, it could imply a lack of faith in God. It is after these religious realisations that Lenz has episodes of madness.

He was alone, alone! The brook murmured, streams poured from his eyes, he hunched himself together, his limbs quivered and he felt he must disintegrate, so endless was the voluptuous pleasure of it. At last it dawned upon him: he felt a deep pity for himself, he wept for himself; his head sank upon his breast and he fell asleep.

In this instance, ‘hunched’ ‘quivered’ and ‘disintegrate’ connote unnatural movement that could infer Lenz’s mental state. Moreover, with the use of ‘voluptuous pleasure one could allude that Lenz was enjoying his suffering, as if he deserved it. Due to these attacks occurring after religious realisations, one could imply that religion has a deep effect on Lenz’s Psyche. It seems that as Lenz becomes more

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