The Birth of Tragedy (Out of the Spirit of Music)

Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 10:45 pm
These are some quotes from Nietzsche's book about the intrinsic relationship of music to tragedy. One may learn from Nietzsche, provided one accepts his commentary, about the real depths and heights of existence that music itself represents and strives to attain. It is imperative to note that music is taken very seriously by Nietzsche, much more serious than we ouselves are accustomed to thinking. Music for Nietzsche is deeply connected with both the internal power of life that is posessed by individuals as well as the 'external' power of music to drive whole nations and peoples upon the stage of international war and diplomacy.

1. The intimation is that the musician is incapable of composing until he has become unconscious and bereft of reason.

2. Optimistic dialectic drives music out of tragedy with the scourge of its syllogisms: that is, it destroys the essence of tragedy, which can be interpreted only as a manifestation and illustration of Dionysian states, as the visible symbolizing of music, as the dream-world of Dionysian ecstasy.

3. But, at this juncture, when the will is most imperiled, art approaches, as a redeeming and healing enchantress; she alone may transform these horrible reflections on the terror and absurdity of existence into representations with which man may live. These are the representation of the sublime as the artistic conquest of the awful, and of the comic as the artistic release from the nausea of the absurd. The satyric chorus of the dithyramb is the saving device of Greek art."

4. 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?
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