In section one I have shown that both Aestheticism and Nietzsche promote skill for art's sake and think that art work justifies itself and does not need to truly have a purpose since art is purpose in itself, the purpose of life. Nietzsche urges painters to look inside themselves and give importance to both Apollonian, that is, the rational and the Dionysian, that is, the excited side of the personality. Corresponding to him, only by achieving equilibrium between both of these opposite and, for the time being, complementary forces will artists be able to create authentic artwork. This chapter centers around the analysis of this Picture of Dorian Grey and Death in Venice from the Aesthetic and Nietzschean perspective. In both books, the protagonists are painters that cultivate beauty in their works and lives which oscillate between the Apollonian and Dionysian. Since Nietzsche highlights that both Apollonian and the Dionysian govern the individual existence, I'll show how these two forces be competitive in each persona in their search for beauty.
Both Oscar Wilde and Thomas Mann struggled against that which was prevalent and that which was expected associated with an designer in their eras. They fought against becoming what Lord Henry criticises in The Picture of Dorian Gray: "Modern morality consists in accepting the typical of one's age. I consider that for just about any man of culture to accept the standard of his years is a kind of the grossest immorality" (Wilde 92). Wilde's new version of the old aestheticism deploys subjectivity, individuality, and the autonomy of artwork against the expected objectivity and professionalism and reliability of nineteenth century research and its offshoot in books, that is, realism. In Oscar Wilde, Thomas Mann discovered much of the fundamental Nietzsche, his "furious battle on morality" and his transvaluation of moral into cosmetic values.
As affirmed in "The Decay of Lying, " Oscar Wilde's beliefs on art work insists on the fact that art should find excellence in itself, which it has as its subject not simple fact, as Victorians expected it to express, but sophisticated beauty. As he points out in the preface of the book The Picture of Dorian Grey, "the musician is the inventor of beautiful things" and "those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated" (Wilde 5). A typical feature with the Family portrait of Dorian Gray and Fatality in Venice is their party of beauty in imaginative creation. Thus, Lord Henry Wotton is convinced that "Beauty is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the representation in dark waters of that magic shell we call the moon. It has its divine right of sovereignty" (Wilde 29) and Aschenbach considers that "nature itself shivers with ecstasy when the mind bows down in homage before beauty" (Mann 460). The musicians and artists' pursuit of beauty constitutes both their inspiration, the purpose of their creation and their perdition.
Through their party of art as a main theme, The Picture of Dorian Grey and Death in Venice share some common points in their examination of the artist. In his work, The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche affirms that artistic creation depends on a cooperation between two contrary pushes which he conditions the "Apollonian" and the "Dionysian. " He believed that true artistic creations need to be generated by individuals who weren't only highly civilised and cultured, but also passionate. Corresponding to him, only in the total amount of these forces could art arise. Nietzsche described the good artists as retaining a balance between two pushes, the Dionysian, or those from the god Dionysus and the Apollonian, those from the god Apollo. While Dionysus was the god of fecund characteristics, spring, regeneration, wines, and intoxication, and orgiastic extravagance, Apollo was the god of light, of form which patterns drives and intuition into clearness and order. While Dionysus was often associated with music, a separate, engrossing talent, Apollo was associated with sculpture, a rigid, detached art form. Like Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde and Thomas Mann believe the issue between conscious will and uncontrolled interest, between rationality or morality and keen art represents an extremely serious have difficulties in human living. This is why why the musicians and artists' trajectory towards fatality in both imaginary works is a descent to either extreme and failing to keep equilibrium between these two opposite pushes.
In The Picture of Dorian Gray, the three major individuals, Basil Hallward, Lord Hnry Wotton, and Dorian Grey are at the same time different aesthetes and elements of the same home. In Loss of life in Venice, the poet Gustav von Aschenbach is the sole protagonist and designer in the novella, but he has common features with all three different personas from Oscar Wilde's novel. Each one of these artists, unique in their method of thinking and personality, goes through serious changes provoked by factors beyond their control.
Aschenbach's resemblance to Basil is manifested in his Apollonian concern with exhausting work. They both believe hard work causes perfection which perfection is the key to the artistic skill. They both reject passion because they think it blocks the quest for excellence. Hallward's aestheticism is manifested in his complete devotion to exclusive creative masterpieces. His ambition and have difficulties is to be one with his art. He searches in the outside world for the perfect manifestations of his heart and when he discovers them, they can create masterpieces by painting them. His fatal misake is the fact that in creating the portrait of Dorian Gray, Basil "puts too much of himself into it, " (Wilde 18), which Lord Henry criticises for sooner or later in the novel, by arguing that "an musician should create beautiful things, but should little or nothing of his own life into them" (Wilde 25).
Gustave Aschenbach was the poet-spokesman of all those who labour at the advantage of exhaustion; of the overburdened, of these who are already worn out but still hold themselves upright; of most our modern moralizers of fulfillment with stunted development and scanty resources. (Mann 426)
He is, thus, the prototypical modern musician. However, the fact that he has spent his life time without acknowledging his passions and wishes foreshadows possible problems in the future because, according to Freud, repressed passions will sooner or later rise to the surface. Thus, he slowly but surely abandons his dedication to Apollo when he first journeys to Venice and, later, when he makes a decision to stay there. He goes by beyond balance and reason, substituting beauty for morality, even though the cost of such an option is fatality.
Far from being successful to the imaginative purpose of their lives, their vulnerability to the perfect traditional beauty of both Dorian Gray and Tadzio overshadows the resulting art itself. Both Basil and Gustave's worlds start revolving around their muses and, unawares, they increase reliant on their presence. Thus, Hallward admits that: "I couldn't be happy if I didn't see [Dorian] every day. He is absolutely necessary to me" (Wilde 18) and Gustave, once he matches Tadzio, can no longer leave Venice, even though metropolis does indeed him serious injury: "He felt the rapture of his bloodstream, the poignant pleasure, and understood that it was for Tadzio's sake the leavetaking had been so difficult" (Mann 455).
The obsessive admiration for the perfect physical beauty is exactly what binds Basil Hallward and Gustave Aschenbach and what leads them towards devastation. After they discover perfect beauty, the Dionysian drive is unleashed and it can rarely be controlled. Both musicians and artists worship beauty in their creations. As Aschenbach declares, "in almost every artist's mother nature is inborn a wonton and treacherous proneness to aspect with the beauty that breaks hearts, to select aristocratic pretensions and pay them homage" (Mann 441). The perfect of beauty is represented inside the Picture of Dorian Gray and Death in Venice by the fresh Dorian and Tadzio. Basil confesses that Dorian "is all my skill to me now" (Wilde 16) and Gustave chooses that "[Tadzio] should maintain a sense his model, his style should follow the lines of this figure that appeared to him divine" (Mann 461). However, the beauty of both young men is not only a source of artistic creativity, it soon starts exerting influence on the musicians and artists. Basil argues that "[Dorian's] personality has advised me an totally new manner in artwork, an entirely new function of style. I see things diversely, I think of these differently. I could now recreate life in a manner that was concealed from me before" (Wilde 17) and in Aschenbach's case, "[Tadzio's lovely apparition] was that stuffed him with content, with pleasure in life, enriched his stay, and lingered out the row of sun-drenched days that dropped into place so pleasantly one behind the other" (Mann 457).
Once conscious of the serious role beauty has in their lives, Basil Hallward and Gustave Aschenbach become concerned to cover it, fearful that if they reveal it, they will in simple fact, unveil their souls. Thus, Basil tells his good friend, Lord Henry, that he will not show the family portrait, his grand masterpiece, because "I am going to not bare my heart to [the world's] shallow prying eyes. My center shall never be put under their microscope. There exists an excessive amount of myself in finished. , an excessive amount of myself" (Wilde 18). Aschenbach, too, feels a strange alleviation because "the earth sees only the wonder of the completed work and not its origins nor the conditions whence it sprang; since understanding of the artist's ideas might often but confuse and alarm therefore prevent the full effect of its quality" (Mann 461).
The tragic closing of Basil and Gustave is a consequence of their inability to find a balance between the Apollonian and the Dionysian attributes of these lives. Lord Henry warns the musician that "the only path to get rid of a temptation is to produce to it. Resist it and your soul grows ill with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire to have what its monstrous laws and regulations have made monstrous and unlawful" (Wilde 26). Accustomed to resist other thoughts than those related to artistic creation, Hallward and Aschenbach end up incapable to regulate their abnormal admiration for beauty and they're, therefore, destroyed by it.
I assume that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to provide form to every sense, appearance to every thought, certainty to every goal, I think that the earth would gain such a fresh impulse of delight that we would neglect all the maladies of medievalism and go back to the Hellenic ideal, to something finer, richer than the Hellenic ideal, as it might be. (Wilde 25)
Lord Henry, like Nietzsche, believes that the unsatisfactory position of modern art is due to the individuals' dread to acknowledge their passions, that is, the Dionysian aspect of their own selves, and switch them into something beautiful and traditional: "The mutilation of the savage has its tragic success in the self-denial that mars our lives. We live punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poison us" (Wilde 25).
The impact that Lord Henry's idea exerts on Dorian Grey can be compared to the effect that the trip to Venice has on Gustave Aschenbach. Both Lord Henry and Venice stand for the voice that alerts the repressed aspect of Dorian and Aschenbach. Both Dorian Gray and Aschenbach change completely when they are exposed to the delightful effect of Lord Henry's magic words and the exoticism of Venice. When he complies with Henry Wotton, Dorian feels that "the few words that Basil's good friend had said to him had handled some hidden knowledge chord that experienced never been touched before, but that he thought was now vibrating and throbbing to interested pulses" (Wilde 26). The perspective of travelling to Venice unleashed in Aschenbach a "craving for flexibility, release, forgetfulness" that your artist accepted to be "an impulse towards journey, flight from the location which was the daily theatre of a rigid, frigid and keen service" (Mann 420-421).
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