Essay title: The Realtionship Between Death and Freedom in Sorrows of a Young Werther and Crime and Punishment
In Sorrows of a Young Werther, Werther views suicide as a human right and the ultimate expression of one’s power. Death representing freedom is evident in Weather’s suicide because he feels that he cannot go on living in such torment. The only way to free him from this torment is to kill himself.
In Crime and Punishment death representing freedom is evident in Raskolnikov’s justification for the pawnbroker’s murder. He justifies the murder first through it’s circumstances. When Raskolnikov discovers that Lizaveta will be out of the house at seven, he views this information as a sign that the murder must be committed, “all liberty of action and free-will were gone.” Next Raskolnikov claims that the pawnbroker deserved to die and it was his duty to rid society of “the wretched little creature”. This mind set shows how murder is an expression of freedom for Raskolnikov because the murder is Raskolnikov’s way of showing his superiority to society. Both Raskolnikov and Werther view themselves as superior to society. Raskolnikov views himself as the Napoleonic great man and Werther views himself as the romantic egoistic.
Raskolnikov believes that laws, restrictions, and a moral code only apply to the ignorant and naïve common man. Raskolnikov is very confident that the police will never be able to convict him of murder because he can outwit the common policeman. Raskolnikov also thinks that he will feel no guilt in committing the murder because he is so powerful and so important that he has the right to decide who is worthy of life. Due to these beliefs he feels that murdering the pawnbroker will confirm his power. Not only will the murder confirm his power but Raskolnikov thinks that if he murders her and feels no guilt, then he will prove that he is truly free from morals. Werther represents the romantic egoists because he thinks that love can conquer all.
The fact that Werther is romantic egoist causes him to become obsessed with Lotte. This obsession causes sever suffering because his love is not a returned. It is not the fact that Werther cannot be with Lotte, but the fact that she does not love him and refuses to see him, that causes Werther to feel like he has no freedom.
Werther views himself as a God like person and it is Lotte’s rejection that kills him. Weather’s suicide represents the ultimate expression of freedom because it takes death out of the hands of God or nature and puts it into the hands of Werther. In his final letter to Lotte, Werther expresses the notion that death is his only means for his salvation.
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