Summary of “The Sorrows of a Young Werther” by Goethe

Summary of “The Sorrows of a Young Werther” by Goethe

A small German town in the 18th century. The basis of Goethe’s novel is Werther’s letters to his friend Wilhelm and additions to the letters “From the publisher to the reader”. The letters describe the events of Werther’s life, a young intelligent and modest man, who is fond of art. Settling in this town, he draws, reads poetry, gets to know people. Having met Charlotte S. at a country ball, he falls in love. The eldest daughter of prince Amtman Lott, grew up without a mother and was engaged in the upbringing of her eight brothers and sisters, attractive appearance and an extraordinary mind. Werther spends a lot of time with Lotta: together they go to the sick pastor and take care of the sick lady. But the girl was engaged to the young Albert, who at that moment

was absent, and Werther was doomed to suffer.

Albert returns, and the enamored young man is forced to meet with Lotta in his presence. Despite the fact that Albert tried not to show his feelings openly to his bride, Werther behaved unreasonably and was constantly jealous. One day, when going for a ride, Werther asked Albert for the pistols. Albert gives not loaded pistols, but the young man puts one to his forehead. The boys argued because of this Werther trick. Werther’s story about a girl who rushed into the river, because of the betrayal of her lover seemed Albert “stupid.” He believed that the mind must always prevail over the senses. Having received a birthday from Albert’s bow from the dress of his beloved, the young man decides to leave to end his suffering. Before leaving, he meets with a girl who anticipates separation and begins to talk about death, about the late mother, but still, suffering, the young man leaves her. In another city, Werther works as an official with the envoy, who constantly finds fault with him. The young man gets acquainted with Count von KE and from time to time communicates with him. But his origin of the low estate does not give him a living.

Werther was introduced to the girl B. reminding him of his Lotte, but his relations with the surrounding people are deteriorating,

the envoy writes a complaint against him. And during the next visit to Count K. the young man was carried away by conversation with the girl B. that was not allowed to the man of his estate. Recovering himself, he leaves the count’s house, and then the town. The home for a time distracted poor Werther, but withstood the parting, she goes to Charlotte, who is happy in marriage with Albert. Lotta pities the young man and this brings contention into her family. Werther realizes that his suffering will not end, he meets the lover in Lott Henry, scribe of the father of Lotta, who went mad with love and collected flowers for her. And already from the author we learn that the youth does not abandon the thought of suicide. Arriving on the eve of Christmas to Lotte and hearing a request not to come to her more because of the fact, that he no longer controlled himself and approached the girl, Werther decided to commit suicide. At midnight he shot himself with Albert’s pistol, leaving a farewell letter. Lotta and Albert buried him where he himself indicated in the letter.


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Summary of “The Sorrows of a Young Werther” by Goethe