Descriptive Essay Venice
This is similar to the fact that Mann wanted to expose the idealism of the Ancient Greek culture to show that it can be hiding some fairly sinister things.
The use of pederasty in “Death in Venice” is also an excellent use of contextual symbolism.
Symbolism can be found across cultures and geographical areas, and has been shown to be part of human history since time immemorial.
That being said, we can importantly change the meaning of a symbol just by using it in context, as many authors do.
Symbolism itself is important in the cultural sense because it allows us, as humans, to attach meaning to things that were once devoid of meaning.The ideas presented in “Death in Venice” were controversial to the original audience, which often gives symbolism an additional use within the text.In terms of literature, this can be termed as a contextual symbol which means that the idea only has symbolism in its current context, something that Mann illustrates beautifully.Another symbolism that Mann uses throughout “Death in Venice” is the persistent use of Greek mythology.This is linked to the concepts that Mann wanted to explore in the story, of idealism and fate, but also illustrates how we can change the meanings of symbols based on their context.Nabokov uses the symbol of clothing to show his affection for Lolita, which in a way mirrors the use of external Greek allegory as a symbol in “Death in Venice”.For Humbert Humbert, clothing symbolizes how he feels about Lolita, but also serves from her perspective as a bribe.Lolita once idealized and idolized pieces of clothing, which is why they are such an easy tool for Humbert to use when bribing her to keep quiet about his crimes.The reason that this is relevant is because it is contextually symbolic and works as a method for Nabokov to show the idealism that Humbert has.The sea here is a symbol for the unconscious, but also for unconscious desires which may be deep and dark in their very nature.The sea is something that can help Aschenbach to explore his own desires whilst he is in Venice, something which has actually been the source of a huge amount of emotional turmoil for the man since falling in lust with a teenage boy.