The Shepherd and the Snake

549 Words3 Pages
The riddle of the shepherd and the black snake reveals Zarathustra's, and by extension Nietzsche’s struggle to accept the ugly truths about life. The snake is similar to the dwarf in that Zarathustra perceives it as a bothersome, and in this case dangerous, external force that one must fight against. In reality the serpent must be accepted. The ugly truths may be unpleasant. They may force one to view life in a fundamentally different way, but they are necessary to gain a true understanding of oneself and life’s purpose. Zarathustra is undergoing his own set of metamorphoses. The vision of the shepherd and the snake embodies the progression that Zarathustra is enduring. He is being confronted by the black serpent of temporality and must learn to accept it as a part of his nature, rather than viewing it as an external burden. The section begins with Zarathustra on a boat returning to society after leaving for a third time. He is initially silent, cut off from the other passengers of the boat. However, he soon opens up to the sailors and recounts a vision. The vision features him, Za...
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