Social Problems in Lenz by Georg Büchner: The Reflection of an Age


Georg Büchner’s Lenz portrays part of the life of a great writer during the rein of Jacob Michael Reinhold Lenz (1751-1792) when Germany was in turmoil and disruption. Being lonely and depressed, Büchner decided to leave home and his country. After being exiled from Weimar and losing touch with Goethe, he found refuge in Rev. Oberlin and asked him to save his life. Büchner wrote at a time when a great number of intellectuals were lonesome, passive, and severely depressed due to the oppressive government of the aristocrats. A detailed study of the protagonist in the story reflects the destructive effects of such depression and social despair that led to madness and suicide of individuals such as Lenz. Accordingly, this literary work serves as a critique of the chaotic social and political conditions of the writer and people like Lenz who suffered from hopelessness and sterility of spirit during the rein of Bider Meyer. Büchner did not aim at writing about the somber story of an individual. Rather, Lenz represents a society in crisis that cannot find a way out. As the two historical periods had a lot in common, Büchner is, therefore, offering an account of his own life as well as the social problems prevalent during the first half of the 19th century.