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How Aschenbach and Meursault in Death in Venice and The Stranger respectively, are driven by mind initially then change to being driven by the heart as the result of a key event.

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Introduction

How Aschenbach and Meursault in Death in Venice and The Stranger respectively, are driven by mind initially then change to being driven by the heart as the result of a key event In both The Stranger and Death in Venice, the characters change as the book progresses. There is mainly one action that sparks this drastic change. In The Stranger, this action is the murder of Raymond's mistress' brother, and in Death in Venice this critical moment occurs when Aschenbach has the sudden urge to travel. Aschenbach and Meursault are both characters that move from one extreme to the other. They begin as characters who make decisions based solely on what their mind tells them. As the novel develops, these characters move to the other extreme, which is making decisions based solely on what their heart tells them. This transition from extreme logical thinking to extreme emotional thinking is what leads to the downfall of both Aschenbach and Meursault. As the novel begins, Thomas Mann introduces Aschenbach as a fairly likable German writer. ...read more.

Middle

was of such unique personal charm that the onlooker thought he had never come across anything so felicitous either in nature or in art" (pg 20, Mann). Once Aschenbach begins to follow Tadzio's every step, the reader notices that Aschenbach is becoming more and more indulged in Tadzio's life rather than his own. "His head and his heart were drunk, and his steps followed the dictates of that dark god whose pleasure it is to trample man's reason and dignity underfoot". Even when Aschenbach learns of an epidemic, he realizes that if he dies along with Tadzio, they will be able to meet in heaven. Aschenbach loses total control of his mind and gives in to Venice, a "city, half fairy tale and half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism." Even when given the opportunity to leave Venice and escape cholera, his love for Tadzio weighs him down. Aschenbach then has fantasies about everyone else dying, and him being left alone with Tadzio. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also claims to the Magistrate that he has no faith in god whatsoever. Meursault's actions disgust those around him, as well as the reader. As human beings we are instilled with many emotions and it is hard for us to digest the idea of not being disturbed by the death of a parent. Meursault's spark of emotion comes at the very end of the novel after he has shouted at the chaplain. It is not until now that Meursault realizes the "indifference of the world" (pg 122, Camus). He accepts that life lacks meaning and order, and also accepts the inevitability of his death. Another big change in Meursault's character is his longing for companionship on the day of his execution. This revelation is what moves Meursault from one extreme, driven by the mind, to the other extreme, driven by the heart. In conclusion, Aschenbach and Meursault were both characters that initially lived their lives based on what their minds told them. As the novels progressed, there were specific events that changed the way these characters behaved in society. Such events dragged both Aschenbach and Meursault from one extreme to the other extreme, which lead to their downfall. ...read more.

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