The Sorrows of Young Werther

Werther's Plunge; A Path of Self-Destruction and Nature's Contribution

"What wastes my heart away is the corrosive power that lies concealed in the natural universe - in Nature, which has brought forth nothing that does not destroy both its neighbor and itself." (Goethe, 66)

In Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe's novella, The Sorrows of Young Werther, a romanticized concept of nature is used to illustrate the internal state of the protagonist, Werther. When the story begins, Werther is a young, optimistic artist who finds beauty and awe in all of nature. By the end, however, Werther is distressed and suicidal; he comes to see nature as a wild and destructive force. As he transforms from buoyant to deeply depressed, and his perception of nature as the tangible manifestation of God is destroyed and replaced by the dark view that nature is merely a sadistic monster. In his recognition of nature as a "corrosive power", as declared in the above quotation, Werther throws himself onto a path of self- destruction that eventually leads to his death. Werther's artistic nature, his devotion to nature, and his passion are the self- destructive qualities that provoke his suicide.

Werther's artistic nature causes him to look at the world in terms of art and provides him with a...

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