Death in Venice: Timeless Psychoanalysis through Greek Allusions Essay

:: 4 Works Cited
Length: 1739 words (5 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

With the advent of film and the ability to produce visual representation of fictional (or non-fictional) characters, situations, and settings, one of the natural courses has been to adapt literary works to the new medium. Throughout time we have seen this occur endlessly, with subjectively varying results. Literature has been adapted to forms such as staged plays, live readings, as well as other visual forms, such as painting, sculpture, or photography, and in each adaption to a new medium, aspects of the tangible essence of the fiction are translated to fit its new form of expression. In Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, the struggle of the novels protagonist Gustave Aschenbach reaches back to Greek Mythology via contemplations of emotion versus reason. In the novel, this is done using internal dialogues to vividly express the conflict that resides in humanity between instinctual and conditioned thought regarding beauty in the world, in Aschenbach’s own internal debates. However, in the translation to film, many of the internal dialogues must be represented visually, with different forms of symbolism that, while easily conveyed in text, are more difficult to embody in such an external and demonstrative medium. In this paper, I look to explore the references Thomas Mann made to Greek Mythology and their meanings, and how both are interpreted and in some cases changed in the translation to film.
To begin, we first must start with one of the concepts that often frame Death in Venice, the conflict between reason and emotion expressed in terms of two Greek gods, Apollo and Dionysus. In the novel, these gods are referenced symbolically throughout via the use of first person description, through subtle leads alluding to the mythology of ...

... middle of paper ...

...ed into returning by eating food within Hades. In Aschenbach’s case, after he had made up his mind to leave earlier, he ran into Tadzio after breakfast (54), causing him to second guess his decision and returning. His drinking of the pomegranate juice later on in the book, after his failed “escape” seems to signify that he is partaking in the food of his own “Hades”, headed to death, tricked by the rules just as Persephone.

Works Cited

Mann, Thomas. Death In Venice. Ed. Naomi Ritter. Boston: Bedford Books, 1998. Print.
Neginsky, Rosina. “Lecture: Thomas Mann”. European Cinema.UIS, N.d. Web. 11 November 2011.
Neginsky, Rosina. “The Origin of Dionysus”. European Cinema.UIS, N.d. Web. 11 November 2011.
Smith, Herbert O. “Prologue to the Great War: Encounters with Apollo and Dionysus in Death in Venice”. Robert Graves, N.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2011.

Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Greek Mythology in Thomas Mann's Death in Venice Essay example - Thomas Mann alludes to Greek mythology throughout his novella Death in Venice. One of the Greek mythological themes alluded to in Death in Venice is the struggle known as Apollonian vs. Dionysion. Thomas Mann was strongly influenced by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and his teachings on the Apollonian vs. Dionysion struggle. According to Nietzsche’s teachings every individual contains characteristics from both Greek gods and the two are forever in an internal struggle to dominate said individual’s personality....   [tags: Death in Venice 2014]
:: 4 Works Cited
1330 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Friedrich Durrenmatt’s Use of Allusions to Enhance the Plays Plot Essay - In The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt, the use of allusions is very prevalent helping to compare the extent to what Durrenmatt is describing to its allusions. Durrenmatt’s implementation of allusions is used to offer a deeper understanding of the characterization, to compare the current town of Guellen to what it once was in order to explain why the town needs Claire’s money, and to show the irony of biblical ideas in order to show how Claire’s doings are as far from morally right as could be. Friedrich Durrenmatt's use of allusions in order to enhance and describe the characters include the famous Romeo and Juliet, Lais, and Lord Alfred Tennyson....   [tags: the visit, friedrich durrenmatt, allusions]
:: 1 Works Cited
1038 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Greek Mythology in Death in Venice by Thomas Mann Essay - In this paper I will look to discuss Greek myths and how they are significant to Death in Venice and how these myths are used as metaphors within the novella. Myths and legends act as a form of moral regulation within society (Morford et al. 2013). They pose an extreme situation followed by what is deemed the “wrong choice” that is followed by extreme consequences to the character’s choice. Within Mann’s Death in Venice there are several instances of Greek mythology being used as metaphors that foreshadow various aspects in the book, such as Aschenbach’s impending death....   [tags: metaphors, charon, gods] 1953 words
(5.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Merchant of Venice Essay examples - The Merchant of Venice is shows the dynamics of love and to what extent humans will go to show love, they will use their wealth and even be prepared to give up their life for the people they love. Both Antonio and Portia love Bassanio differently. Portia perceives Antonio’s phileo in competition with her eros, (both forms of love will be defined later) and throughout the play she is seen trying to defeat Antonio’s phileo and she does this by subjugating Antonio, firstly with her wealth, she offers to pay of his debt to Shylock three times more the amount he had bound himself, then she saves his life and finally teaching Bassanio that she can use her womanly powers to refuse him the consummat...   [tags: Merchant of Venice Essays] 2962 words
(8.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Venice: A Lagoon City Essay - Venice – a lagoon city. There is hardly any city characterised by such opposing attributes as Venice. Many may consider Venice to be the city of love and a senic gem on the water, novels and films usually paint a different picture. The city frequently appears morbid, mysterious and dark. During winter and autumn fog occupies the whole city. Venice is used by many authors as a backdrop to create an environment of suspense and death. Venice is an allegory of death, decay and rot. The city itself represents the literary synonym of the deterioration of the architectural wonder....   [tags: geography, death in venice]
:: 1 Works Cited
1216 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Story telling through Greek Art Essay examples - Story telling through Greek Art Greek art was seen as more than a means to decorate with its more popular use was that of storytelling and recording historical events. Greek art dates from the seventh to the second century. The eras included in historical Greek art are: Geometric, Archaic, Classical, and the Hellenistic (Sowerby150). All of the eras are similar in that they build on the previous era and lead to more detailed and dramatic artwork. The use of human actions as subjects gained intensity with each new era....   [tags: Greek History] 738 words
(2.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Poetic Verse and Rhyme in The Merchant of Venice Essay - William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, is a comedy play about the love exploits of several Italian characters, told in an objective third-person point of view. The play is set in Venice, Italy during the Renaissance. The protagonist, Antonio, is a merchant of Venice who is affluent, well-respected, and sociable. The title supports the supposition that Antonio is the protagonist because it is termed The Merchant of Venice, indicating the story of the merchant. Antonio's best friend, Bassanio, is an impecunious romantic who borrows money on Antonio's credit to court the woman he loves....   [tags: Merchant Venice Essays] 1822 words
(5.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Allusions and References in Walden to the Greek God Antaeus - Allusions and References in Walden to the Greek God Antaeus Like many great authors, both past and present, Henry David Thoreau uses literary techniques not limited to Greek mythological allusions. Throughout his masterpiece, Walden, mythological allusions are made from his ideas of life and his thoughts about his present state of the environment. Thoreau uses a mythological allusion when he states that, “They [the beans] attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Antaeus.” (Thoreau, 1849) Although Thoreau wrote Walden many centuries after the Greek civilization had been wiped out, the historical use of strength as exemplified in the myth of Antaeus drives many themes througho...   [tags: Papers] 635 words
(1.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Tragic Merchant of Venice Essay - The Tragic Merchant of Venice In my opinion the play The Merchant of Venice is a tragic one which is discised as being comic. Many factors of this play are derived from the current voice of situation. The Merchant of Venice could be looked at as more tragic because of the negative intents from some of the characters in the play. Greed and deception are just a couple of the main features from where many of the decisions are derived. For example, revenge was an intent that Sylock had against for Antonio, only to say the least for, greed......   [tags: Free Merchant of Venice Essays] 818 words
(2.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Death In Venice Essay - Death In Venice      To have an understanding of the use of disease as a metaphor in Thomas Mann’s novella Death In Venice, it is useful to understand the concept of disease itself. According to Webster’s Dictionary, 1913 edition, disease is defined as the “lack of ease; uneasiness; trouble; vexation; disquiet.” These words do embody the struggles of the great author, and main character of the novella, Gustav Aschenbach, but it is the description of disease as “an alteration in the state of the body or of some of its organs, interrupting or disturbing the performance of the vital functions, and causing or threatening pain and weakness; malady; affection; illness; sickness; disorder; -- ap...   [tags: Thomas Mann Death Venice Metaphor Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
2095 words
(6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]