Thomas Mann Writing Styles in Death in Venice

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Mythology

Myths are anonymous and traditional stories that cultures tell to explain natural phenomena. Mann makes broad use of Greek mythology to structure his story and to emphasize the timelessness of his tale. At various points von Aschenbach compares Tadzio with Cupid, Hyacinthus, Narcissus, and Phaedrus, all Greek characters and gods. He describes the sunrise in terms of Greek mythology, and laces his story with references to figures such as Kleitos, Kephalos, Semele, Zeus, Orion, and others. Episodes such as when von Aschenbach rides in the coffin-like gondola with an unlicensed gondolier are used to evoke motifs in Greek literature such as heroes' journey to the Underworld on Charon's boat across the River Styx. Such allusions help to characterize von Aschenbach as a learned man of refined sensibilities and to link von Aschenbach's fate with that of mythological characters.

By liberally dosing his story with implicit and explicit allusions...

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This section contains 543 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Death in Venice Study Guide
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Death in Venice from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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