Comparison of The Misanthrope and The Sorrows of Young Werther The play, The Misanthrope, starts with Alceste, the misanthrope, speaking with Philinte. Alceste is explaining to Philinte his hatred for the human race. He hates how there is not a single man out there who can tell the truth openly. Philinte however believes that it is okay for people to tell "white lies" and not always speak the truth, he believes in man's shortcomings. While Alceste and Philinte are having this debate over mankind, Oronte, a play writer, appears and asks Alceste to read his play and give him an honest opinion. Alceste does this, and tells Oronte that his play is horrible, and he should just give up writing poetry all together. Oronte leaves very upset. Alceste later sees 1Celimene, the woman he loves, and begins to argue with her
about how she treats everyone with the same charm and behavior. During the argument 1Acaste and Clitandre arrive, followed by Philinte and Eliante.
Acaste and Clitandre begin gossiping and Celimene joins in. This of course goes against everything Alceste believes in. Shortly after, 1an officer arrives with a summons for Alceste, having to
do with 1his comments about Oronte's poem. Later at Celimene's house, Acaste and Clitandre talk about her, but cease when she appears. Then, a servant announces Arsinoe's arrival. Celimene and Arsinoe
talk about what they have heard of one another, Alceste then arrives. Celimene leaves the two alone and Arsinoe tells Alcesthow Celimene is not so faithful 1to him. In the following scene Philinte speaks with Eliante about Alceste.
Eliante tells Philinte that she admires a man like Alceste, it is then when Philinte confesses his love for Eliante. Later when Alceste re appears, he is upset with Celimene being unfaithful to him. Arsinoe has given him a love letter that shows Celimene liking another man. Celimene denies the letter, and accusing Alceste of not caring for her. While they are arguing Alceste is reminded of his lawsuit and immediately leaves. Alceste ends up losing the lawsuit and begins 1complaining to Philinte the injustice in human society.
Alceste then decides that he should just live his life in solitude, then put up with the evils of man. Later Celimene comes in with Oronte, and 1both men insist she picks one of them. She avoids making a decision, and1Clitandre and Acaste appear with more letters Celimene has written.
All the suitors leave except for Alceste. Alceste asks Celimene to go and live with him in solitude, but Celimene, being a lady of society refuses. It is the when Alceste realizes he does not love her, and leaves to live his life in solitude. The Sorrow's of Young Werther, is a series of diaries from the main character Werther. Werther is a romantic and very sensitive man. Through his diaries we see him meet and fall in love with Lotte. Ever since Lotte's mother's death, Lotte has been taking care of her younger siblings. We learn that Lotte has been engaged to Albert for four years. Albert is a nice and good-hearted man but becomes Werther's antagonist. Werther soon 2leaves his home to regulate some issues about a family estate for his mother. But soon after he neglects his tasks and spends most of his time enjoying
himself. Werther gets 5invited to a dance by his new acquaintances and that is where he meets Lotte.
He immediately 2falls in love with her, knowing she is engaged.
They then realize that there affection towards one another is mutual and Werther begins to visit Lotte. Albert returns form being away and it is then when Werther realizes that Lotte will never be able to be with him. Throughout Werther's letters it becomes more clear the rival ship between him and Albert. Werther realizes through his letters how strong his feelings are for Lotte, and how his love is one-sided. He then decides it is best for him to leave. 2A duke later offers him a job and Werther hopes
this will free him of Lotte's influence over him. However his efforts 2are crushed by the circumstances of a society determined by class. Werther later returns back home and back to
Lotte. Werther than learns that 2in the time he has been away, Lotte has married Albert. Werther
becomes unstable and upset by this. So, 2one night Werther visits Lotte while Albert is away. He
confesses his love for her and begins to kiss her. Lotte throws him off of her and locks herself in another room. Later Werther borrows pistols from Albert, and shoots himself. The obvious difference between The Misanthrope and The Sorrow ' s of Young Werther is one is a romantic piece of literature and one is a Neoclassical style of literature. Romanticism 3is an artistic and intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 18 th Century and characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions. Werther, the main character in
The Sorrow's of Young Werther, is an example of a romantic. He expresses his feelings for Lotte throughout his letters and we can feel his emotions and what he is thinking about. We can feel his sorrow and the agony he goes through. Alceste, the main character in, The Misanthrope, has a different way at looking at life. He is cynical and the only emotion he shows is his hatred for mankind. He is not dramatic and emotional at all throughout the play. He tells everyone how it is, and is honest with them. Alceste would never commit suicide over a woman, as shown in the play. This is because Alceste is written in a Neoclassical style. Neclassicism is 4a revival in literature in the late 17 th and 18 th centuries, characterized by a regard for the classical ideals of reason, form, and restraint.
Alceste and Werther both engage in some extreme behavior. Alceste vows to live his life in solitude, white Werther commits suicide. Both characters are ending in extremes and not thinking rational, however Werther is extreme in a romantic sense and Alceste is extreme in a neoclassical sense. They both have unhappy love affairs and rivals as well. Alceste however does not give up his life because he cannot be with the one he loves. Alceste simply leaves her behind and realizes that she is not worth it. Werther on the other hand believes that he cannot live without Lotte and kills himself. That is a difference between romantic literature and neoclassical literature. Neoclassic style is more realistic, while romantic is more fantasy. Alceste treats Celimene differently than Werther treats Lotte. Alceste criticizes and gets mad at Celimene and the way she acts. Werther on the other hand would do anything for Lotte. He worshiped Lotte and loved her dearly. Werther also treated Albert, his rival with respect. He was never rude or made Lotte choose between the two of them with force. Alceste was not understanding of Celimene's feelings for other suitors. He did not understand how she could do such a thing to him. The romantic style of writing is about dreams and fantasy. It displays emotions and feelings. This was evident in, The Sorrows of Young Werther. Werther, the main character lived off his feelings and they eventually took over his life, ending in death. Alceste however followed the Neoclassical style and believed in reason and was not so dramatic. Both styles have very different characteristics, which make for very different effects on the reader. I I I I