The Sorrows of Young Werther is an epistolary novel said to be semi-autobiographical that earned Johann Wolfgang van Goethe great success.
The main theme is love. Young Werther can’t help falling in love with Lotte. The story itself was simple but the pangs of unrequited love came in varying degrees and was expressed well. Loving someone but knowing that you have to keep it to yourself and pull away from that person was just unbearable for Werther. Many people say that a person’s heart has more control over someone than their mind and this book is just the perfect example for that. And that is what probably made this book popular, important and admired by many.
Apart from love, mental health or depression is also a theme to consider from this novel. There was probably a deeper issue with Werther aside from the pain his suffering from unrequited love. Bipolar depression maybe wasn’t known then but Werther spends his days feeling everything in extremes. Charlotte was the core of his happiness and sorrows. Every encounter with her is damaging his fragile mind until he finally reached his limits.
To be quite honest, I personally find this overly dramatic but then, I guess we can’t help it sometimes specially when it comes to our heart’s strongest desires.
“I have so much in me, and the feeling for her absorbs it all; I have so much, and without her it all comes to nothing.”
“It’s true that nothing in this world makes us so necessary to others as the affection we have for them.”
“I treat my heart like a sick child and gratify its every fancy.”
“He values my understanding and talents more highly than my heart, but I am proud of the latter only. It is the sole source of everything of our strength, happiness, and misery. All the knowledge I possess every one else can acquire, but my heart is exclusively my own.”
“I examine my own being, and find there a world, but a world rather of imagination and dim desires, than of distinctness and living power. Then everything swims before my senses, and I smile and dream while pursuing my way through the world.”
Rating: 3.5/5 stars