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Archives > Q1 What is the significance of Venice in the novella?

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message 1: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 1989 comments Mod
What is the significance of Venice in the novella?


message 2: by Eadie (new)

Eadie (eadieburke) Venice is where Aschenbach goes for the opportunity to release his desires which he had previously repressed, and marks his loss of dignity and descent to dissolution and death. Also in Venice, the gondolas are shaped to look like coffins and they are painted black which definitely is significant of why the setting is in Venice.


message 3: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 1989 comments Mod
Venice is a place away from home where Aschenbach goes for inspiration to write and while he doesn't get any writing done he does find personal inspiration.


message 4: by Sushicat (new)

Sushicat | 292 comments A place to find inspiration, to rekindle passion and creativity. But ultimately a place of poisoned beauty and decay.


message 5: by Jan (new)

Jan (mrsicks) Venice is also a place he has been before and suffered ill health while there. So despite his prior knowledge, he decides his destiny is to return there. I wonder whether Venice represents his writer's block. His experiences there in the heat feel suffocating, perhaps symbolic of the suffocation not being able to write brings to him.

Venice is also a place unlike anywhere else in the world, and perhaps Aschenbach is seeking new inspiration in a place which seems a normal city on the surface, but which is floating and precarious at its roots. He has romantic ideals about the place, but at almost every turn rude reality shakes him out of his reverie, from the rogue gondolier to the misdirection of his luggage.

I agree with Eadie about Venice being symbolic of death, which fits with Aschenbach's initial stroll past a monumental mason's yard and a mortuary chapel. The description of the gondoliers as coffins continues our exposure to the inevitability of death.


message 6: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Robitaille | 933 comments Sushicat has taken the words out of my mouth (or my fingers?).


message 7: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
You all raise some good points (thus the danger of going last is that I have nothing more to add. I really like Sushicat's answer that encapsulates my thinking about it.


message 8: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4116 comments Mod
I think Venice represented romantic opportunity for inspiration but then he remembers that it is not a healthy place for him. He almost leaves but then doesn't. I think Jan has described the setting very well and like Jen, I have. Nothing I can add.


message 9: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1410 comments I agree with all the good points raised (memo to self: try to read at least a few books on time so I am not repeating what has been said already). Venice is beautiful, but decaying. Aschenbach is searching for the ideal of beauty in his writing but feels he has been too rigid and disciplined in his work and the beautiful Venice may be a solution, despite his previous visit having been unsuccessful.


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