The style in which Lieutenant Gustl is written in is very interesting for a variety of reasons, but I think the most fascinating thing that Schnitzler does by getting into Gustl’s mind is exploring how the character perceives himself through the gaze of others. As we discussed in class, there are many instances of Gustl commenting on others looking at him, and by doing this, Schnitzler develops a very unique connection between the character and the audience.
I think we’ve all had moments, whether it be eating at a restaurant or riding a bus, where we’ve looked at someone or caught them looking at us and wondered what they think, if anything, about us. Just as we might have a certain opinion of someone we happen to focus on for a few moments, others obviously have the same of us in the reversed situation. I think this is one of the reasons why we can relate strongly to Gustl, because when the character thinks about how others may be perceiving him, regardless of the validity or rationality of these thoughts, we can see how we sometimes do the same thing. Despite what we may or may not believe, most of us do care, or are at least curious, about what others think of us. While it’s probably not on the same level as Gustl himself (unless you would consider killing yourself if a baker embarrassed you), I would guess that it is still there. This, in my opinion, largely accounts for why so many of us can empathize with Gustl, even though as whole, he’s not a very likable character.