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The Birth of Tragedy


Chapter 4

Summary Chapter 4

In this section, Nietzsche also sets the stage for his discussion of Attic Tragedy with his portrayal of the Doric period of art and culture that immediately preceded the Attic period. The Doric, he writes, was rigidly Apollonian, and "definitely prim." Nietzsche paints a thoroughly distasteful picture of the Doric consciousness so that we may better appreciate the glory of Attic tragedy that is to follow. It is clear that he sees Doric art as one sided and unfulfilled, a cardboard-like state of mind that clearly has never partaken of the Primal Unity. He writes, "[W]e are now impelled to inquire after the final goal of these developments and processes, lest perchance we should regard the last-attained period, the period of Doric art, as the climax and aim of artistic impulses." Nietzsche's conception of art is highly teleological, for he sees Attic tragedy as the inevitable and glorious meeting of the Apollonian and Dionysian consciousness. He clearly implies that nothing before or since has ever been so great.