How does Nietzsche explain the death of tragedy?
Nietzsche posited that the creation of art is driven by the opposing forces of the Apollonian and Dionysian. Apollo, the Greek god of light and reasoning, stands in contrast to Dionysus, the god of wine and music, representing elements that aid in self-forgetting.
Nietzsche contended that the Greeks, due to their heightened sensitivity, experienced significant suffering and artistic expression. Aeschylus and Sophocles, according to Nietzsche, epitomized the influence of Dionysian self-forgetting over the Apollonian, contributing to the development of Greek tragedy.
The religious influence also played a role in shaping Greek tragedy. However, the golden age of Greek tragedy saw a decline within a century, influenced by Euripides and Socrates. Euripides, contrary to the Dionysian characteristics, favored rationality, portraying characters with human flaws. Socrates, taking a more scientific perspective, asserted that every occurrence must have a reason and justification, attributing tragic missteps to a lack of information or knowledge.
Nietzsche argued that Socrates introduced a scientific viewpoint to Greek tragedies, undermining the earlier emphasis on sensitivity and self-forgetting. This shift led to further transformations in Greek tragedies, incorporating a rational aspect that made them more rationalistic over time. According to Nietzsche, this rationalization proved to be a crucial factor in the demise of Greek tragedy, marking a departure from the earlier era characterized by intense sensitivity and self-forgetting (Nietzsche, 2013).