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Nietzsche's View of Tragedy

The purpose of this research is to examine Nietzsche's view of tragedy vis-a-vis Christianity. The plan of the research will be to set forth Nietzsche's world view and his understanding of both Christianity and the tragic as described in The Birth of Tragedy and Genealogy of Morals and then to discuss tensions and intersections between Christianity and classical tragedy with reference to Christian thought per se, with a view toward evaluating the degree (if any) to which Christianity might produce or give rise to a Christian hero within the classical meaning.

Nietzsche's Weltanschauung stands--more exactly looms--decisively behind any meaningful treatment of Christianity and tragedy because of the manner in which Nietzsche analyzes the moral and psychosocial implications of each philosophical attitude. In both Genealogy of Morals and The Birth of Tragedy, which seem at least as much social commentary as moral philosophy, he repeatedly cites Christianity and tragedy in apposition. Repeatedly and programmatically, Christianity suffers rather by comparison. The Birth of Tragedy, which develops around multiple tensions, is Nietzsche's account of the structure of individual human consciousness as it is and is not and as it ought to be. First there is the metaphorical opposition of Apollo (reason, structure, authority) and Dionysos (passion, joy, heroism), and the tension between the excesses of one or the other becomes very much an analytical category of social and political history. The Dionysos-Apollo metaphor evokes Dionysos as the liberating force for individuals against stratification and conformity and Apollo is the force of collective internalization and acceptance of the demands of universal law.

To the metaphor of classical divinity Nietzsche adds a familiar Western symbol, Prometheus, who in his boldness and foolishness alike stands for the encounter of palpable human experience with what could be called the mysteries of the...

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Nietzsche's View of Tragedy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:01, May 31, 2020, from