Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice

4 April 2015
A literary review of Thomas Mann’s `Death in Venice`.

This paper analyzes `Death in Venice` by Thomas Mann’s with an emphasis of how the book and characters parallel the writer’s own life experience.
`This second critic notes Mann’s use of this method he called myth plus psychology which plots Aschenbach’s descent into a chaotic heap where both myth and psychology play equally important roles. (SparkNotes) He describes the idolized Tadzio mythically in the same level and manner as Greek sculpture, the god of love, Hyacint and Narcissus and Plato’s character Phaedrus. He also likens Aschenbach’s cruise into a lagoon in Venice to that across the River Styx in the Underworld, where strange red-haired figures appear and reappear to Aschenbach to symbolize demons, probably also the furies of his moral conscience. As to the psychology part, Aschenbach always has a firm control and repression of his libido through the years of maturity.

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But this undue control and denial of something vibrant and powerful underneath merely leads such force to show up in other and indirect ways, per Freudian explanations. These indirect expressions include intense dreams and visions and the worship of a strange god. (SparkNotes) Moreover, this `orgiastic worship` of the strange god (SparkNotes) is likely an epitomizing of the Freudian desire to ultimately abandon oneself to such longing in and through death.`

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