every woman adores a fascist -- sylvia plath

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nietzsche's Theory of Tragedy


Art Theory
By imitating the equally opposing natural forces of the irrational (e.g. music, fate, madness, suffering, foreign lands) and the rational (e.g. visual form, intention, thought, ethical actions, the state) which constantly struggle yet never overcome each other, the audience is able to fully experience their (shared) human condition of those irrational and rational forces in their lives and supplement the sense of (their) being.

Objective with the Audience
For them to fully experience their human condition in such a way as to transform their understanding of their place in the world.

By imitating the equally opposing and equally powerful forces of the irrational (Dionysian) and rational (Apollonian) elements in our lives and anchoring the irrational elements with rational players.

Doesn't really say except that those characters are subject to (and part of) those forces. The tragic hero is, in a sense, a veil for the irrational emotions excited in the audience. The characters anchor the audience's irrational feelings so that they may be purged and transformed instead of overwhelmed by them.

Historical Development
Prior to tragedy, the Apollonian powers dominated Art: static, idealized, sculptures and friezes were the object of artistic production. Aeschylus and Sophocles were the greatest tragedians, as they were the best at balancing the irrational and rational in their efforts. Euripides and Socrates, however, marked the downfall of tragedy as their efforts returned art to a dominant, rational form. In essence, the history of art is the history of the artist and his or her ability to imitate and mediate the irrational and rational forces of nature and provide a metaphysical supplement to the audience for their lives.