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The Birth of Tragedy

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Important Quotes

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Let us imagine a rising generation with this bold vision, this heroic desire for the magnificent, let us imagine the valiant step of these dragon-slayers, the proud daring with which they turn their backs on all the effeminate doctrines of optimism that they may "live resolutely," wholly, and fully: would it not be necessary for the tragic man of this culture, with his self-discipline of seriousness and terror, to desire a new art, the art of metaphysical comfort—namely, tragedy…"

Nietzsche here looks to the rise of a new sort of man, who is untainted by the present cultural depravities. This man will turn his back on scientific optimism due to its obsession with knowledge and the illusions that follow. This man will strive to live his life "wholly and fully." In Nietzsche's mind, one can only live life so richly when one has rediscovered Dionysus. The Dionysian essence is the only one that can give man any depth of experience. The tragic man of this new culture must of necessity yearn for the rebirth of tragedy.

While Nietzsche relentlessly derides Socratic optimism, he is filled with an optimism of his own. He is convinced that he is witnessing his culture coming to a breaking point, and that out of the wreckage of this crumbling culture a new man with a new mission will emerge. The time is ripe for the rebirth of tragedy, cries Nietzsche, with almost religious fervor. His faith is that of a young man eager for the revolution to arrive and sweep away the rubble of his decrepit and empty culture. He has no fear in the face of the collapse of the remnants of Alexandrian culture, for the rebirth of tragedy promises new salvation and hope. Man will no longer seek comfort in empty logic, but will return to the heart of the Primal Unity to be born anew.

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