"The Magic Mountain" Analytical Essay by writingsensation

"The Magic Mountain"
Explores Thomas Mann's play, "The Magic Mountain" about the forces of thought imposed upon the people of early twentieth century Europe.
# 67851 | 1,541 words | 1 source | MLA | 2005 | US
Published on Jul 20, 2006 in Drama and Theater (World) , English (Analysis) , Literature (German)


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Description:

In his play, "Magic Mountain", Thomas Mann expresses the intellectual squalor of the pre-World War I era, that would inevitably lead to violence and destruction. The central protagonist of the tale is a young marine engineer who, taken singularly, is of no particular importance. The paper shows that what makes him-Hans Castorp -significant is what he represents for society: he is the embodiment of humanity, caught between the forces poised to crush individual identity and reduce it to mass conformity. The paper shows that, all together, these forces of thought, to Mann, are mere derivatives of nature, which act to shape each person's mind into a particular archetype. In this way, "The Magic Mountain" is a universal warning to the course of history and of the dangerous capacity of unbound rationality.

From the Paper:

"Personally, Castorp comes from a reasonably wealthy bourgeoisie family; and although his parents have both died, he remains well positioned and is "obviously on the way to important positions in his life." (Mann, 54). Largely, this is also a consequence of his association with Hamburg-an emerging port city during the early twentieth century. Symbolically, Hamburg's rising prominence comes at the expense of other, older, and better established cities. Accordingly, Castorp's path to important positions rests on the shoulders of the new age: technologies and industrial might. Additionally, Castorp's occupation makes him poised to build Germany into a naval empire, which is also a drive of the new age. Naval dominance, as seen by many of his time, was the only true way to establish Germany's rightful place within the world."

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