Death in Venice
What is the significance of Venice in the novella?
What are some of the polarities established in the novella, and what is their importance?
How are Italians portrayed in the novella, and to what effect?
Why do you think Mann made Tadzio a boy? Why is Aschenbach's love a homoerotic one?
Trace a few of the motifs in the story (the color red, the strange unnamed figures Aschenbach encounters, death references, mythical references, or one of your own discovery) and explain how they work together to build toward a larger idea or theme.
Why does Thomas Mann make Aschenbach an older writer, as opposed to a younger one?
What is the significance of Tadzio's Polish ethnicity? Why isn't he an Italian? How would the story be different if he were German like Aschenbach, if he spoke Aschenbach's language?
Clearly not all artists meet fourteen-year-old Polish boys at Venetian hotels and fall obsessively in love with them. How does Aschenbach's tragedy serve as a universal warning to artists about the corrupting powers of beauty and art?
How does Mann make it clear to the reader that Aschenbach's experience has universal ramifications?
What is the effect of Thomas Mann's narrative style, free indirect discourse (see Commentary for Chapter 4)? What does the story gain from the ambiguities inherent in this method?
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