Thomas Mann's A Death in Venice
Mann's A Death in Venice is the story of a respectable writer, Gustav von Aschenbach, and the slow self-degradation which led to the ending of his life. Beginning in early childhood, Aschenbach had based every action and thought he ever had on self-discipline and reason. He avoided thoughts of a carefree and disruptive nature, anything that took him away from his beloved routine. The story leads to his break from the 'normal' of society and his own standards, as he joins a class of people that he was previously disgusted by.
The purpose of the story seems to have been aimed at proving what mishaps occur when a person looses track of reason and instead chooses to follow his or her desires. A Death in Venice delivers a warning to all those who secretly want to follow in Aschenbach's footsteps: it is a fatal decision that can cost a person everything.
Restrained passion, such as in Aschenbach's case, can eventually lead to discord; therefore, do not completely restrict yourself, but do not completely give in to it, either.
ANALYSIS- Kerrin Ross Monahan
Although there are several different interpretations of A Death in Venice, the one that I agreed with the most was the online criticism of Kerrin Ross Monahan. She believes that Mann's story has to do mainly with death, and mortality. Monahan makes several points, of which seven stood out particularly. First, she notes that Aschenbach, without dreams and ambition, has been already dead for a long time. Second, that Tadzio is a link to decay, and that the minor characters who are described throughout the story represent death and the devils of underground Greek mythology. Third, that death can also be shown in the cycle of time--the story begins in...