Essay on Visconti's Interpretation of Mann's Death in Venice
Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice" is a very complex novella. To put it on screen, a director has to pick the most important (or easiest to portray) elements from the mythological, psychological and philosophical lines of the story. The plot would remain largely intact. I am most interested in the story of Aschenbach's homosexuality, so I would be concerned with the strange-looking men, Aschenbach's dreams, and the parallel between the denial of the sickness in Venice and his own denials about Tadzio.
Throughout the novel, Ashenbach notices strange-looking men. The same language is used to describe the features they share. The first is the catalyst for his adventure. The traveler is …show more content…
Twice (that I can find) Aschenbach has strange dreams that reek of sexual longing. Mann uses sexy words to describe the vision Aschenbach gets from seeing the traveler. The landscape is "moist," a "primitive wilderness" with hairy palm trees and exotic birds with weirdly shaped bills (5). The second dream is much more complex. It comes in the last chapter, after the Englishman tells Aschenbach the truth about the epidemic. This dream, or nightmare, depicts an ancient orgy offered to "the stranger god." Aschenbach is "overcome by a numbing lust." After that night "he no longer cared about being a target of [other's] suspicions," (57). The tourists were fleeing because of the disease, congruently, Aschenbach is overwhelmed by his affliction (love for Tadzio). Both of these dreams illustrate critical changes in Aschenbach. After the first, he acts on his desires and even falls in