Death and its Significance
Death, a very dominant theme in literature, but what significance do references to death provide in a story. Why is death used in so many of the pieces of literature we read? The Answer; references to death play a very important part in a story, they can help advance the plot, they provide an atmosphere they contribute to the setting of the story, and many times they help readers predict what is going to happen in the story. Foreshadowing, something that is almost always related to a reference to death. Foreshadowing can be a very useful device as we will see in this essay. The two stories that will be analyzed in this essay are; Death in Venice and Mario and the Magician both of which are written by Thomas Mann. This essay will attempt to analyze how death is presented in both these stories, what role does death play, and how death plays a major role in the development of the story.
Death in Venice, a novella written by Mann in 1912; a story which was largely inspired by Mann’s own personal experiences, the story is basically about a writer named Aschenbach who has always held his passions in check, never allowing them expression either in his life or in his work. He was what many will call “repre
The first thing to note when the story starts is the first reference to a dark dull setting "When our continent lay under such a threatening weather for whole months" . Imagery of death can be seen again here, the driver driving out towards the sea could represent a journey towards the afterlife, towards an underworld of some sort. The next thing we know is that Aschenbach is dead. This is a point where we can see Aschenbach has let his feelings and emotions out, he has lost his sense of mentality, and he remains in Venice even though he knows his health is in danger. Ten days after that he decided to head to Venice, Aschenbach finds the sky over Venice to be heavy with clouds, making it appear to him as a "Different Venice". The last scene where Tadzio is seen pointing towards the sea represents a transferring to the afterlife. In Death in Venice, death as I have shown plays a very important role in plot advancement and in the development of the main character, as readers we should be able to pick up all the imagery and foreshowing. These two novellas by Thomas Mann are great examples of how a writer can associate the theme of death with whatever they theme choose. Eventually Cipolla gets to a man named Mario, Cipolla tries to make him do things which he does not want to do. Cipolla in this story represents the fascism of the time, the authoritarian movement system that was taking over Italy"tms Liberal views. The dark skies of Venice are a foreshadowing of what is to come. Cipolla takes great enjoyment in what he is doing and believes he is providing great entertainment, while some people in the audience believe that he is forcing people to do things. With the stormy conditions around and the graveyard, the mans red hair and long white teeth resemble a sort of skull a devil with red hair. The graveyard of stonemasons, where the dead of our world live, he is passing by them entering the afterlife. Finally towards the end of the story, Aschenbach is out for a walk and loses his way in the alleyways and canals of Venice; he is seen to be exhibiting signs of fever, and he eventually comes to an area where he had made his decision to leave Venice.