Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy
Reviewed by Grady
The Birth of Tragedy is a very challenging book but is worthwhile because it forces the reader to examine art in a very deep way. The book examines the roots of Greek tragedy as well as the concepts of Dionysian spirit and the Apollonian dream state.
Nietzsche beautifully describes the freedom brought on by the Dionysian spirit in statements such as this, "The individual, with his limits and moderations, forgot himself in the Dionysiac vortex and became oblivious to the laws of Apollo. Indiscreet extravagance revealed itself as truth, and contradiction, a delight born of pain, spoke out of the bosom of nature." The language of Nietzsche's analysis is unique and the message that he is trying to convey is critical of the greatest artists and philosophers. He spends a small portion of the book criticizing Socrates' misunderstanding of tragedy and insightfully analyses the philosopher. The ultimate power of the book is a reconfiguration of the reader's perspective of tragedy. Through his examination I gained a greater understanding of tragedy and greater appreciation of all art.