Zarathustra’s Children

imageSupposing truth is a woman – what then?

Are there not grounds for the suspicion

that all philosophers,

in so far as they were dogmatists

have been very inexpert about women?

That the gruesome seriousness, the

clumsy obtrusiveness with which they

have usually approached truth so far

have been awkward and very improper

methods for winning a woman’s heart?

Friedrich Nietzsche

Women do not have as great a need for poetry

because their own essence is poetry.

Friedrich Schlegel

Beyond Dionysus and Apollo in ‘Greek’ Tragedy and Comedy

If it is the last man, the spectator who consents to the Euripidean denial of the Dionysian power of life, of the terrible truth of existence, it is the Overman (Übermensch) who is that one that can affirm this chaos of being in the world and give birth to novelty under the sun.  Yet, the Overman is not the Tragic Hero in the sense of Euripides.  It is even doubtful that Nietzsche’s Overman is ‘tragic’ at all – notably in the nostalgic senses of Sophocles or Aeschylus.

We have forgotten that devastating myriadity of this power of life in the wake of the suppression of the Dionysian in Late Tragedy.  The ‘tragic’ becomes – for a time – an epochal indifference and unwillingness to confront and master the rage and chaos of the Dionysian power of life.

Indeed, this power is erased and conscientiously ignored, suppressed in Late Tragedy.  In the early tragedies of Sophocles and Aeschylus, narratives that preserve an explicit reference to Homer, the tragic hero, emerging from the Dionysian musical ecstasy of the Chorus, is transported into a rapture of self-annihilation.  In the context of this Festival of the power of life, it is the Apollonian dream image that makes manifest the power that loves to hide.  The devastating tension and chaos of the Dionysian apotheosis, while made manifest in the dream image, is not suppressed or even sublimated, but is allowed to play itself out in the destruction of tragic sacrifice.

To read the entire essay, please visit Zarathustra’s Children


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