Essay on Death In Venice

1006 Words Mar 20th, 2015 5 Pages
Emma Fisher
Brother Williams
English 251
Transformation from Apollonian to Dionysian
Writers often bring mythology into their writing to give the storyline and characters more depth and complexity. In Death in Venice by Thomas Mann, Mann uses the gods Apollo and Dionysus and the struggle between opposites to demonstrate the ultimate downfall of the novella’s main character, Aschenbach. Often times, a writer creates a character as a representation of the Apollonian character and another separate character representing the Dionysian character of the novel. Thomas Mann chose to have the same character, Aschenbach, demonstrate the extremes of both ends of the spectrum, beginning as overly Apollonian and slowly becoming overly Dionysian which
…show more content…
Up until this point, Aschenbach had lived his life as an Apollonian in extremity and laments of the monotony and mundanity of his life thus far. He feels a sense of “wanderlust, pure and simple, yet it had come upon him like a seizure and grown into a passion” (3). Aschenbach, still highly Apollonian in nature, then corrects himself saying that his wish of spontaneity is not a passion but rather “no more than a hallucination” (4). He reaches an internal crisis with his celibate, stringent life and seeks respite from the exhaustion of the pressures that come with his particular lifestyle. Aschenbach wishes to find a better balance of pleasure and rationality in his life and makes the first impulsive decision of his life to take a vacation. With this decision, Aschenbach begins his journey to Venice seeking equilibrium between the Apollonian and the Dionysian. When beginning his voyage to Venice he comes across a Dionysian character who is loud and lascivious in nature. Aschenbach is immediately taken aback at his “grotesquely easy-going” (12) and suggestive antics but later in the novella, becomes this man whom he despises (13). From when he was first introduced, Tadzio is a symbol of artistic beauty of which Aschenbach is deeply intrigued. Aschenbach originally attempts to convince himself that his fixation with the young boy is purely aesthetic admiration, however it is apparent