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The first artistic decision that Goethe made in the writing of The Sorrows of Young Werther was certainly the choice to write the story as a series of letters. An author makes a very deliberate choice to write an epistolary novel. Writing in the form of personal letters from the voice of the main character provides an avenue for the reader’s understanding that is sometimes unavailable in other ways of writing. It is very realistic and is also sometimes more personal than writing in the third-person-omniscient point-of-view as the reader feels closer and more conversational with the narrator and there is thus a deeper understanding of his feelings and the tension in the story.

This story also provides a different perspective on the “love story”  than stories we have previously read. Although I am sure that most of us were ready to shoot Werther in the head ourselves after listening to him whine for a hundred pages, we still learned a different perspective on the love story, one that is, I think, very often avoided today. By this I mean that there were many different endings that could have come from this story, but Goethe chose the one he did to tell a love story in a sad, surprising, and desperately interesting way.

Another decision that Goethe made was to increase the drama of the subject matter. An entire story of a man pining over a woman is bound to have an excess of drama. By increasing the drama of the story by giving us a close relationship with Werther, we have a different perspective of the story. The extreme romanticism of the novel affects the readers vision and opinion of the story. We are either annoyed or feel pity for the character. In this sense, the author has a power over the emotions of the reader by manipulating the dramatic tone in which the story is written.

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