"The Sorrows of Young Werther" Analytical Essay by VA gal

"The Sorrows of Young Werther"
A discussion of why the main character, Werther, in the novel, "The Sorrows of Young Werther", by Goethe, is well-suited to the single-voiced, epistolary form.
# 50416 | 1,763 words | 0 sources | 2004 | US
Published on Apr 13, 2004 in English (Analysis) , Literature (German)

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This paper examines Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther". It looks at how the main character, Werther, has the raving, emotional lunacy and foolish-but-guiltily-enthralling confessionalism that can hold readers' attention, although the novel is low on plot and driven almost entirely by one man's series of egocentric letters. It also analyzes how Werther's intensely unstable and emotional personality, as well the voyeuristic feel of his ultra-personal letters, makes him just the kind of character that can enamor or disgust, but nonetheless hold the attention of readers through the first 124 pages of long-winded, epistolary inaction, and how the success of Werther's story within the epistolary form would not be possible in other forms of narration.

From the Paper:

"The excessive emotions that these very mundane events trigger in him would seem ridiculous in a form that does not consist of very intimate personal letters that border on diary entries. In the epistolary form, Werther's constantly oscillating feelings are able to hold the readers' attention because of their passionate, in-the-moment quality and voyeuristic appeal. Although Werther is ostensibly writing to his friend Wilhelm, he may as well be writing to himself in a diary. We are never shown any letters of Wilhelm's in response, and Werther vehemently rejects much of Wilhelm's advice, even bordering on cruelty at times."

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