Transference of Young Werther’s Fragmented Sorrows
Johann Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther is an exemplary example of classic poetic, epistolary romanticism mixed with naturalism and realism. This novel is of a beautiful yet tragic obsessive love, in which shows a character’s ultimate path of self-destruction. Within this novel the reader sees how Werther’s idea of love evolves, and how he deals with the turmoil one goes through when in love. Especially for someone whom is young, intelligent yet very naïve to things such as love and lets his emotions consume him until his idea of “love” is transformed into obsession which leads him to suicide. The reader sees this rapid ...view middle of the document...
The first example of Lacan’s theory that the reader sees is, how Werther’s idea of love causes him to reflect and transfer his past emotions is in his letter on July 1st to those around him. This letter is of Werther’s recount of Charlotte’s affectionate, charismatic and sympathetic qualities towards the Vicar of S--, which opens Werther’s mind to reflect on his past. Especially when in conversation at the Vicar of S—‘s dinner table,
"Woe unto those," I said, "who use their power
over a human heart to destroy the simple pleasures it would naturally
enjoy! All the favours, all the attentions, in the world cannot
compensate for the loss of that happiness which a cruel tyranny has
destroyed." My heart was full as I spoke. A recollection of many things
which had happened pressed upon my mind, and filled my eyes with tears.
"We should daily repeat to ourselves," I exclaimed, "that we should not
interfere with our friends, unless to leave them in possession of their
own joys, and increase their happiness by sharing it with them! But when
their souls are tormented by a violent passion, or their hearts
rent with grief, is it in your power to afford them the slightest
"And when the last fatal malady seizes the being whose untimely grave
you have prepared, when she lies languid and exhausted before you, her
dim eyes raised to heaven, and the damp of death upon her pallid brow,
there you stand at her bedside like a condemned criminal, with the
bitter feeling that your whole fortune could not save her; and the
agonising thought wrings you, that all your efforts are powerless to
impart even a moment's strength to the departing soul, or quicken her
with a transitory consolation."
At these words the remembrance of a similar scene at which I had been
once present fell with full force upon my heart. I buried my face in my
handkerchief, and hastened from the room, and was only recalled to my
recollection by Charlotte's voice, who reminded me that it was time to
return home. With what tenderness she chid me on the way for the too
eager interest I took in everything! She declared it would do me injury,
and that I ought to spare myself. Yes, my angel! I will do so for your
In this see we see how Werther’s speech brought on emotions of a past relationship that his transfers to the present...