The Sorrows of Young Werther


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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The Sorrows of Young Werther Characters


Werther, the protagonist and primary narrator of The Sorrows of Young Werther, is an amiable young man known for wearing a blue frock coat, buff waistcoat, and boots. He falls in love with Lotteread analysis of Werther

Lotte (Charlotte S.)

Lotte is Werther’s love interest, though she is engaged (and later married) to Albert. Lotte comes across as nearly flawless and angelic. After her own mother dies, she gladly accepts the burdens of… read analysis of Lotte (Charlotte S.)


Fiancé then husband to Lotte, and erstwhile friend to Werther. Albert is an amiable young man who likes Werther despite Werther’s obvious affection for Lotte. The two engage in hearty conversations often, but… read analysis of Albert


Wilhelm is Werther’s close friend. As Wilhelm lives far from Werther, their friendship occurs through letters—in fact, Werther’s letters to Wilhelm constitute the bulk of the book. Wilhelm never appears bodily in the text… read analysis of Wilhelm


The editor, a fictitious publishing supervisor responsible for compiling Werther’s correspondence with Wilhelm, is one of the book’s narrators (alongside Werther himself). The editor, who first appears in a short foreword introducing the… read analysis of Editor
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Werther’s Mother

While Werther’s mother is an important character in Werther’s life, she never makes a direct appearance in the book. Readers only understand her importance through Werther’s mentions of her in his letters to Wilhelmread analysis of Werther’s Mother

Count C.

A friend of Werther’s at court. The Count is an aristocrat who, despite his higher social stauts, befriends Werther. He often has Werther over to his house for dinner and he speaks freely with… read analysis of Count C.


Werther meets Heinrich one day while Heinrich is foolishly attempting to gather wildflowers for his “sweetheart” in the winter. Coming upon Werther and Heinrich, the Old Woman on the Path informs Werther that Heinrich has… read analysis of Heinrich

Farmer Lad

The Farmer Lad is the Widow’s servant, and he falls desperately in love with her. When she releases him from her employ, he murders his replacement to prevent any rivals from winning her heart… read analysis of Farmer Lad

Mr. Schmidt

Sweetheart to Friederike. Mr. Schmidt is intensely jealous of Friederike’s time and dislikes others, especially Werther, talking to her. His ill-humor is the cause of a lengthy conversation between Lotte, Werther, and the… read analysis of Mr. Schmidt
Minor Characters
Miss von B.
An aristocratic young woman with whom Werther entertains a fledgling courtship. Miss von B.’s social status (which is higher than Werther’s), however, prevents her from continuing the romance, as she faces increasing pressure from both her mother and others in her social circle.
Louis, Malchen, Marianne, Sophie
Lotte’s younger siblings, to whom Lotte becomes a mother after their mother dies. Werther is especially fond of the children and they of him.
Werther’s employer following his departure from Wahlheim. The ambassador is said to be a morose and difficult man, which makes working for him neigh on impossible.
A court official to whom the ambassador complains about Werther’s style of work. The minister admonishes Werther publicly, but sends him a private letter saying that he only sought to bend Werther’s useful enthusiasm to a more productive end.
Vicar of S.
The Vicar of S. is an elderly religious official who lives about an hour away from Lotte. He especially enjoys telling stories from the past. Werther and Lotte visit him one day and speak pleasantly about the walnut trees at the vicarage.
Vicar’s Wife
The wife of the Vicar of S. is an outspoken woman and mother to Friederike. The Vicar’s Wife cuts down the walnut trees of which Werther is so fond, an act which Werther believes paves the way for her downfall in the eyes of the local townsfolk.
A co-worker of Werther’s.
Mr. Audran, N.N.
Attendees of the party where Werther and Lotte first meet.
Colonel B., Baron F., J., Mr. von R., Lady von S., Lady von T.
Guests at the aristocratic soiree of Count C. who are outraged by Werther’s presence there.
Miss von B.’s Mother
The aristocratic mother of Miss von B. who prevents her from seeing Werther.
Count von M.
The now-deceased aristocrat who initiated the gardening at Werther’s country home.
Daughter of the Vicar and his Wife and sweetheart to Mr. Schmidt.
Hans, Philipps
Children of the Woman with Basket.
A young woman with whom Werther entertained a youthful romance prior to arriving at Wahlheim.
Lotte’s Aunt
Lotte’s Aunt accompanies Lotte and Werther to the dance where they first meet. She warns Werther not to fall in love with Lotte.
Lotte’s Mother
The death of Lotte’s mother leaves Lotte in charge of her siblings. She is remembered as an angelic woman and a near-perfect mother.
Mrs. M.
An old woman who requests Lotte’s bedside presence as she prepares to die.
Old M.
Husband to Mrs. M. Werther recalls him as a hard man.
Old Woman on the Path
Mother to Heinrich.
Prince of —
Werther’s patron following his departure from court.
A young academic with whom Werther remembers having an invigorating conversation.
An otherwise unnamed woman who employs the Farmer Lad.
Woman with Basket
A young peasant woman, mother to Philipps and Hans. Werther views her as the epitome of idyllic country life.