This is around the time, coming off last week’s events, when the decision to die got more and more concrete in Werther’s mind. Since he’d come back to Lotte, he’d always seen it as his ultimate way out, but he’d always told himself it shouldn’t be a rushed, impulsive act; he wanted to take this step with total certainty, with as calm a resolve as he could.
His doubt and his internal struggle stand out in one fragment in particular, which is probably the beginning of a letter to Will and which I found in his drafts folder.
“Just seeing her, what she’s going through, her sympathy with what I’m going through — it squeezes the last tears out of my dried-out skull. Lifting the curtain and stepping behind it! That’s all! And why all this shaking and uncertainty?! Because we don’t know what it looks like back there? And you can’t come back? And that it’s pretty much the nature of our spirit to project confusion and shadows onto things we don’t know anything defined about”
In the end, he got more and more alienated and attached to this sad idea, and his decision became more and more irrevocable, as another letter he wrote to his best friend testifies. I’ll post that tomorrow.