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Archives > Q4 What is the role of fate in this novella? Does Mann's repetition of certain details (name them) indicate that von Aschenbach's death is inevitable?

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message 1: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 1818 comments Mod
What is the role of fate in this novella? Does Mann's repetition of certain details (name them) indicate that von Aschenbach's death is inevitable? If not, how might von Aschenbach have avoided death?

message 2: by Eadie (new)

Eadie (eadieburke) There is constant reference to the fact that people have been dying from an outbreak of cholera but Aschenbach questions but decides to ignore the fact that he needs to leave Venice. We know that his fate is death, if he does not leave Venice soon.

message 3: by Anna (new)

Anna Fennell | 107 comments The obsession was so complete that even though there was an imminent threat on his life (the cholera) he could not leave his beloved. This kept him exposed to the possibility of becoming ill longer so it is no surprise that he dies at the end.

message 4: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 1818 comments Mod
I agree with Anna

message 5: by Sushicat (new)

Sushicat | 292 comments I think he was doomed from the start, to either die through the death of his creativity or going up in flames of passion.

message 6: by Jan (last edited Mar 13, 2016 03:53PM) (new)

Jan (mrsicks) | 66 comments Aschenbach feels that going to Venice is meant to be, when he doesn't feel comfortable at his original resort. This despite his previous experience of illness in Venice's oppressive summer climate around the Lido.

Death follows him from the start, in the form of the monumental mason's yard, the mortuary chapel, the old man on the boat trying to deny his mortality by dressing youthfully and surrounding himself with young friends.

Tadzio is sickly and weak. His sisters are described as having red rimmed eyes. There is a sense of illness throughout Aschenbach's stay in Venice. As Eadie says, Aschenbach acknowledges this by trying to leave but fate holds him there through the misdirection of his luggage.

message 7: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
I agree with Jan. Recurrent symbolism related to death and illness from the start of the novel

message 8: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3828 comments Mod
I agree that from the beginning there is the sense of death. What I noticed first is the funny man that Aschenbach despised because he was old and trying to look young and then we find Aschenback who is old, wanting the young lad and finally dressing much like the man that Aschenbach had disposed.

There is the urgency to leave because he felt it was unhealthy, the gondolas like coffin, the cemeteries, the island cemetery. Lots of death. The thoughts of the young lad being frail and dying young.

message 9: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1304 comments Although the whole novella is laced with images of death,(the cemetary, monumental mason's place, gondolas as coffins) I don't agree that Aschenbach's death was inevitable. I interpreted the story that the tension between his hitherto rational and disciplined self and his magnificent obsession could have been resolved either way. It was only when he allowed the barber to make him look younger and he began to openly follow the family that his obsession won.

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