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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - The musical magic of ambiguity in Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice : research article
The musical magic of ambiguity in Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice
This essay investigates the blurred musical significations in BenjaminBritten's Death in Venice, an opera based on Thomas Mann's importantnovella Der Tod in Venedig. The discussion of multiple meanings links upwith two categories of ambiguity as set out by William Empson in hisSeven Types of Ambiguity, that is two or more meanings which do notagree among themselves, but combine to make clear a more complicatedstate of mind, and two opposite meanings that show a fundamental divisionin the mind of the protagonist. It is indicated how this opera, as a storythrough music, portrays the physical and moral decay of the anti-hero,Gustav von Aschenbach, who enters the opera as a celebrated, world-renownedwriter.
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