Nietzsche On The Birth Of Tragedy Analysis

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Nietzsche’s early work On the Birth of Tragedy put forth the Apollonian and Dionysian concepts. Within the work, the German philologist and philosopher states “The effect aroused by the Dionysian also seemed ‘Titanic’ and ‘barbaric’ to the Apollonian Greek: while he was at the same time unable to conceal from himself the fact that he was inwardly related to those fallen Titans and heroes.” Nietzsche goes on further “Indeed, he was obliged to sense something even greater than this: his whole existence, with all its beauty and moderation rested on a hidden substratum of suffering and knowledge, which was once again revealed to him by the Dionysian.” He then strongly concludes, “And look! Apollo was unable to live without Dionysus!”
Nietzsche terms the Dionysian as “Titanic” to indicate his concept’s vastness. This vastness is similar to the vastness of Schopenhauer’s ocean imagery that describes how the earlier philosopher felt about consciousness unconstrained by ego. If an Apollonian Greek were to break his ego, or what Nietzsche would term his ‘shell,’ he creates the possibility of experiencing the pleasure offered by the Dionysian element. He allows himself to be overtaken by an ‘ecstatic’ ocean. The word ‘Titanic’ implies an enormity unable to be controlled. In this sense, the feeling of vastness can present itself as the antithesis to the Apollonian ideal of structure and thus prove overwhelming. So overwhelming, that one may be destroyed.
This is where the description “barbaric” comes into the picture. Nietzsche goes to great lengths to define what he terms the “Dionysian barbarian” and which he separates from the Dionysian Greeks. In this passage he expounds upon the traditional Dionysian festivals which occurred “in all c...

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... about accurately portraying facts. Rather, Nietzsche is interested in affective interpretations. There is also a possibility he had not reexamined the pros of On the Birth of Tragedy until he wrote Ecce Homo. What is more, Nietzsche is blunter in his Nachlass when he states “there are no facts, only interpretations.”
Additionally, some insight can be provided based upon the very nature of Ecce Homo, in which Nietzsche puts himself on trial, ironically in Socratic fashion, and defends his life’s work chapter by chapter. Nietzsche is ultimately interested here in providing a definitive rationale for his philosophy, which celebrates the Dionysian worldview of emotion and instinct over cold rationality and reason. Birth of Tragedy, offers an extended defense of the Dionysian worldview and, with all of its flaws, was a work with which Nietzsche was finally able to com

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