Sorrow of Young Werther

Topics: Life, Death, Sociology Pages: 4 (1684 words) Published: November 9, 2005
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. Ivan Ilyich alienated himself from those around him, and hid behind the aristocratic social mask. Finally, Joseph K. causes his won demise by being a puppet of society, conforming to all rules, and to his own sense of guilt. Ivan Ilyich was the only character to somewhat remedy the situation before slipping into the darkness of death. In all cases, the actions of the lives of all four protagonists very clearly displayed their weaknesses as characters. In Goethe's novel, Werther died a very slow, excruciatingly painful death. He refused to conform to life as it was; refused to move further away from the nature he so cherished. By doing so, Werther was in denial of adulthood. Werther saw suicide as the only escape from adulthood, and his only chance at eternal happiness. Anything was worth happiness, "certainly, whoever is sick…will not refuse the bitterest medicines, in order to restore the health he longs for."(July 1) Werther uses this analogy to prove his point that a person will go far to rid themselves of unpleasantness. Werther's source of unpleasantness is Lotte, for he cannot have a claim to her. To be an adult is to be able to say no to oneself. Werther was incapable coming to an understanding that Lotte will never be his. Feeling closer to adulthood, Werther begins to sense himself being torn from nature, and losing part of himself. "I have no feeling for nature…when we have lost ourselves, we have lost everything."(Aug. 22) To keep...

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