the sorrows of young werther by johann wolfgang von goethe

The Sorrows of Young Werther by  Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

                        The text was simple, clear and easy to understand. I liked the text as it was clearly visible and large enough to read comfortably. The front cover of the book is well fitted and accommodates the story. The cover page seems suitable to the story but looks like the picture is overlapped on the text though.

            The new translation by Burton pike throws a light on the character of Goethe in his on words and his own style which is as simple as the words of Goethe himself in his book. In his introduction to the new translation Burton says that “Werther is a sensitive person and is governed by his feelings”1.

                        The book was quite famous among the young generation after its first publication and also had a deep impact on their lives 2.The book describes the life of young Werther, who falls in love with Charlotte who takes care of her sibling’s children after their mother’s death and is already engaged with Albert. He writes letters to his friend Wilhelm and describes the beauty of the place during the spring, the people he meets and the bond and attachment to those people. One day he meets Charlotte  and falls in love immediately, even knowing that she is engaged he is surrendered for her charm and grace .He also describes the pain that he is going through  as he cannot convey his emotions towards Charlotte and neither can he conceal them to Charlotte herself or anybody else. The beauty and ecstasy of loving emotions is finely penned down by the author here. He also admires the beauty of nature and writes about it to his friend about it.

            When he gets to understand Albert and that he is well suited to her he leaves the place with a pang in his heart. Busy with his duties in the new town he tries to forget his love towards Charlotte but yet his fate brings back him to the same place and people again. And now the situation is worse, Charlotte and Albert are now married. He behaves friendly with Albert and Charlotte but could not resist his love towards her and he admires Albert for his personality and hence could not stand their humility.

            Werther lends Albert’s pistol saying that he is on his journey and requires pistol. Albert gives him pistol unconditionally. All the night Werther spends on sorting his letters and disposing some of them to Wilhelm  and burning most of the papers he wrote. He writes a suicide note which he makes sure that is reached by others after his death.

             Werther commits suicide with that pistol, but dies after 12 hours of suffering. He does it  knowing that there is no other option for him as he cannot live with the pain he carry s in his heart and one should die among the three so that the other two can live happily and as he cannot seriously murder anyone he kills himself.

            The above is my understanding of the story .This is a story with sad ending and yet is remarkable in its work of poetic letters from Werther to his friend Wilhelm. Translating such a nice book again is a good deed and is successfully done by Mr. Burton pike.


1.Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, The sorrows of young Werther, Translation and introduction by Brunt pike, the modern library, New York, 2005.

2. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, The sorrows of young Werther, Translation and introduction by Brunt pike, the modern library, New York, 2005

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