The Birth of Tragedy

Summary

Chapters 2 & 3

Summary Chapters 2 & 3

Dionysus was not the only one with flaws before this encounter, however. In his third chapter, Nietzsche explains the root of Apollonian culture as being the need to disguise the world of suffering under a veil of beauty. The Apollonian "appearance", while brilliant and joyful, is merely a disguise, a deceit created by the Greeks so that they could bear their suffering. Nietzsche also argues that the Greeks were particularly sensitive creatures and thus more susceptible to their suffering, and more in need of some protection from it. And so the Apollonian impulse gave birth to the Olympian gods, says Nietzsche. We must stress here that no Greek would ever have considered Apollo the driving impulse for the Olympian gods; this is another warping of the Greek mentality for the benefit of Nietzsche's argument.

Thus, while Dionysus brought only destruction before his arrival in Greece, Apollo brought only the disguise of suffering and no real redemption.