Sorrows of Young Werther

1394 WordsNov 28, 20056 Pages
WERTHER AND SELF DECEPTION Romanticism was deeply interested in creating art and literature of suffering, pain and self-pity. With poets pining for a love long gone and dead and authors falling for unavailable people, it appears that romantics in literature were primarily concerned with self-injury and delusion. In Goethe's novel "The Sorrows of Young Werther", we find another romantic character fulfilling his tragic destiny by falling victim to extreme self-deception. Werther's story may appear simple and even trite to some- a young man falls in love with a woman he can never be with and deludes himself into believing that she loves him too only to be severely disappointed in the end. When nothing is left to look forward to,…show more content…
In his delusional quest to consider himself unique and then prove it, he had only used Lotte as an excuse. When it is clear that Lotte is not interested in him, Werther still keeps on deceiving himself by decoding her words and actions. In one scene, after his frustrated explosion, Lotte sternly tells him off: "I was, please, to think of myself," Werther then tries to decode her words as "Angel! For you I have to live!" (48). At the very first perceived sign of her interest, Werther declares: "[She] loves me….and how precious I have become to myself, how I--I can say this to you, who have understanding for such emotions--how I worship at my own altar since I know that she loves me!" (50-51). Romantics viewed genius as some kind of tragedy in itself. For some odd reasons greater intellectual power was seen as a magnet for chaos and suffering. Werther seems to understand this better than anyone else around him and thus predicts and almost expects a tragic ending for himself. Werther becomes fatalistic in his views since he subscribes to romantic views on genius and its connection with fatality. He writes to William: "why genius so rarely breaks its bonds, why it so seldom bursts upon us like a raging torrent to shatter our astounded souls? My friend, it is because of the sober gentlemen who reside on either side of the river, whose precious little summerhouses,
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