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Literature Study GuidesThe Birth Of Tragedy

The Birth of Tragedy | Study Guide

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

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Course Hero. "The Birth of Tragedy Study Guide." November 9, 2020. Accessed February 3, 2023.


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Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

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At a Glance

The Birth of Tragedy is Friedrich Nietzsche's account of the history of Greek tragedy and of its eventual death at the hands of Greek logic and rationality. Nietzsche depicts Greek tragedy as an interplay of two forces that he associates with the sun god Apollo and with the wine god Dionysus. The Apollonian forces give structure to the mythical elements of the drama, while the Dionysian forces lend the play its tragic dimension. Nietzsche says that the force of Dionysus is stronger. He says the "theoretical optimist" known as the philosopher Socrates (c. 470–399 BCE) opposes it with the force of argumentation and analysis. Nietzsche expresses his hope that the Dionysian spirit of tragedy is eternal and that its rebirth can be anticipated in a new form.

About the Title

The title The Birth of Tragedy indicates that the book explores the genre of tragedy. Friedrich Nietzsche investigates the origin and demise of Greek tragedy and hypothesizes that the spirit of tragedy may be reborn in a new form and a new era.


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