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What did Friedrich Nietzsche mean by "the birth of tragedy?"
Nietzsche was influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), who thought that the real world underlying everyday reality was composed of Will, best perceived by us in music. According to Nietzsche, tragedy as an art form was an invention of the ancient Greeks, before Socrates, in order to cope with the chaotic and sorrowful nature of their lives, and indeed of life itself. The tragic play was a rational and beautiful dramatic structure, created by Apollo, the god of reason, which allowed the audience to participate in the underlying, frenzied reality of disorder. This underlying disorder and merging of everything into an anguished but expressive drunken whole was what Nietzsche called the "Dionysian" element in Greek life. Thus, the Apollonian element of reason allowed the Dionysian element of disorder to emerge in the dramatic form of the tragedy, for the vicarious participation of the audience, who was represented by the chorus in the tragic play. In The Birth of Tragedy (1872), which was his doctoral dissertation, Nietzsche quoted the great tragic playwright, Sophocles:
There is an ancient story that King Midas hunted in the forest a long time for the wise Silenus, the companion of Dionysus, without capturing him. When Silenus at last fell into his hands, the king asked what was the best and most desirable of all things for man. Fixed and immovable, the demigod said not a word, 'til at last, urged by the king, he gave a shrill laugh and broke out into these words: "Oh, wretched ephemeral race, children of chance and misery, why do you compel me to tell you what it would be most expedient for you not to hear? What is best of all is utterly beyond your reach: not to be born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second best for you is—to die soon."
What was Friedrich Nietzsche's idea of a "gay science?"
In a series of aphorisms, Nietzsche advocates philosophy as a celebration of life, in contrast to the stultified and stultifying practices of the German intellectuals, whom he had criticized as philistines throughout his writings during the 1870s. He caps his scientific ideals with the cosmological and possibly Neoplatonistic doctrine of life as a cycle, which he calls the "eternal recurrence." Everyone's life recurs an endless number of times, and the test of a life worth living is that every moment one can will the infinite return of that moment in some future life, and do so with joy.
Nietzsche applauded "the ideal of the most high-spirited, alive, and world-affirming human being who has not only come to terms and learned to get along with whatever was and is, but who wants to have what was and is repeated into all eternity." And although he thought that we eternally recur, built into what happens again and again is continuous choice, in a chance spectacle of endless opportunity. (In form, this perspective is a re-enactment by Nietzsche of the birth of tragedy, with the forces of high spirit and reason affirming the worst that has, can, and will happen.)
What did Zarathustra say in Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra?
In Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-1885) Nietzsche presents the thoughts of his eponymous hero, who is named after the prophet who founded the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. Zarathustra's goal, presented in a series of aphorisms, is to prepare for the coming of the Übermensch, or Overman, who will fill the vacuum left by the death of the Christian God and the absence of real human heroes. Human life will be created as artists create their works.
What are the qualities/characteristics of Friedrich Nietzsche's Overman?
Nietzsche posited the Overman as a new type of human being who would create values in an age when Christianity was no longer a living religion. Unlike the ideal Christian, the Overman would not be meek or ashamed of his strength. He would love life on earth completely, with no need to believe in heaven.
What were Friedrich Nietzsche's views on religion?
In Beyond Good and Evil (1886), The Genealogy of Morals (1887), and The Anti-Christ (1888), Nietzsche described Christianity as a sickly ethics of weak people's resentment of the strong. He thought that before Christianity "blond beasts" had become masters of their subjects through daring acts of ferocity. That ancient ruling class was naturally cruel to those not as strong. These fierce rulers saw their weak subjects as "base," while their own traits of pride, courage, reverence for tradition, and loyalty to one another constituted their virtues. The old aristocratic system of values was in time destroyed through the machinations of a priestly class, which denied itself by turning its cruelty inward, and encouraged the oppressed masses to identify what hurt them as morally bad—evil.
Christianity was thus a slave morality in Nietzsche's opinion, its uselessness for living fully evident in the worship of a slain God and a rejection of earthly vitality for hopes of joy in heaven. He thought that Christianity was a powerless religion for powerless people, a slave religion with a slave morality for slaves. But he cautioned the strong:
One has to test oneself to see that one is destined for independence and command—and do it at the right time. One should not dodge one's tests, though they may be the most dangerous game one can play and are tests that are taken in the end before no witness or judge but ourselves.
The prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), who founded the ancient Persian religion, inspired Nietsche's idea of the "Overman" (Art Archive).
What did Friedrich Nietzsche mean by power?
In his Will to Power (compiled posthumously in 1901) Nietzsche is more concerned with the power and strength of the individual than in the individual's control over others. Nietzsche believed that the world was in constant flux and that the only way living things could enjoy being alive was not by knowledge of ideal or unchanging
Could Nietzsche be interpreted as advocating oppression?
Some people have, indeed, interpreted Nietzsche in this way because he does celebrate the strong overcoming the weak. When the Nazis came to power in Germany, Nietzsche's sister tried to benefit by presenting her brother's works to them as an appropriate philosophy for the Third Reich. This tarnished Nietzsche's reputation until Walter Kaufmann, in his own translations and edited editions of Nietzsche's works in the 1960s, reinterpreted him as a philosopher of individual freedom. Most current philosophers who like Nietzsche believe that he meant every individual has the freedom to become strong and detach himself from the "herd."
entities, but by constantly increasing their own power. The will to live was for him identical to the will to power because existence is a continual struggle. The "transmogrification" of values by the Overman would represent a future stage of this will to power in the form of new, successful life.
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