Werther Syndrome

This syndrome has received its name from the novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe “The Sorrows of Young Werther” published in 1774. the main character of the novel, a young man named Werther falls in love with Charlotte, who is engaged to Albert. Albert is 11 years older than Charlotte and Werther understands that he has no chance to marry Charlotte. Finally he makes a decision to travel to Weimar. After Werther has returned to his native town he founds Charlotte married to Albert. Werther is aware of the fact that the future life is impossible and the one from them is to die. He can’t find enough courage to kill Albert or Charlotte and commits a suicide. He leaves the death note bu neither Albert no Charlotte attend his funeral.

Right after the publication this novel launched the succession of suicides committed by the young people between the age of 16 and 30. The similar imitating behavior has received the name of the Werther syndrome of effect.

It is known that the reason for creating such mournful novel was the unanswered feelings of Goethe towards Charlotte Buff who cast the writer away and married another man. Johann von Goethe went into e severe depression and was intending to commit a suicide. Only the writing managed to prevent the tragedy. He expressed his feelings using ink and paper. The young Werther spoke with the words of Goethe and was actually his alter-ego. Later Goethe claimed that he created Werther in order not to become Werther himself.

After describing his emotional sufferings Goethe felt much better and refused committing a suicide. But having escaped from the morass he forced his readers into it. Under the influence of this novel a lot of romantic young men all over Europe began reave themselves of their lives.

The novel was banned in some European countries to prevent the negative effects caused by its reading. Many analysts of that time disapproved of the novel as it was supposed to promote suicide as the solution of all the problems.

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