Death in Venice

A Deleuzian Pondering: Dionysian impulse within Death in Venice and The Birth of Tragedy College

Thomas Mann in Death in Venice, published in 1912, engages in a disquisition regarding art and life. The story set in Germany revolves around Gustav Aschenbach and his necessity to liberate from the restraints of mind and follow his passions, resulting in emerging complications among concepts of love, life, death, and art. A creation of a complex space of love emerges when Aschenbach falls in love with a young Polish boy named Tadzio, which leads to a problematization of ideas like desire and sexuality. Thomas Mann’s novella remains a text pondering over contradictory elements of life and death, security and passion, love and restrain, and finally desire and norms.

[T]he idea that nature trembles with rapture when the intellect bows in homage to beauty (Mann 37).

Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy written in 1872 engages in elaboration of Nietzsche’s earliest pondering over philosophy of tragedy as a platform for enunciation of both desires/passions and reality/beauty. He uses the trope of Dionysus and Apollo to discuss this intense interaction between two differing aspects of life and how tragedy resulting from this space of interaction not only helps us experience reality at a deeper, passionate level, but the...

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