Sunday, January 27, 2008


I think that Hoffmannsthal's "tale" definitely shows that he is worried about death, particularly a lonely death. As the merchants son is described, as well as his surroundings, he seems to be a very lonely man. No close family or friends are ever mentioned. He has his servants that he likes to keep around him, but maybe he keeps them around for the company, because he is afraid of being alone. It seems as this man is very alone in the world and Hoffmannsthal leads the merchants son to a very painful, dark, lonely death. I think that this signifies some worries that Hoffmannsthal may have; that if he becomes secluded in his own world he will eventually lead to a very dark, painful, lonely death. I think that a lot of people worry about being alone and dieing alone. By collecting these pieces of art and nice things maybe the merchant's son is trying to fill a void in his life, trying to make himself feel less alone.


Deserae Abed-Rabbo said...

Although death is definitely a major part of it, I'm not sure you are getting to the exact point of the lonely death the merchant's son death. I think that perhaps it goes beyond the idea that he died alone and into the symbolism of him dying picking up money from the ground. Death is inevitable, just a fact of life really. I think you should focus more on the void he was trying to fill and how that is symbolic of greater Viennese society.

Sterling Mackinnon said...

While I agree that the character of the "merchant's son" can be described as a lonely man, I would hesitate to say that he is capable of even being aware of his own lonliness. He is so emotionally perverted and socially inept that he blames his few social compainions (if you can call servants as much) for his death. Perhaps because he is the product of a specific culture, or perhaps for some other reason, but the merchants son appears to be inherantly anti-social. His devotion to decoration, collection, and aestheticism seems to be his pursuit of satisfying his own self image, not an attempt to satiate his lonliness.