Nietzsche on Art as Redemption

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Art as Redemption Upon examining The Birth of Tragedy it is apparent that Nietzsche views art in a particular way compared to his contemporaries. Nietzsche’s main focus was not to interpret “what is art”, but rather why art exists at all. This inquisitive approach for answers on the necessity of art leads Nietzsche to dissect two forms of Greek art; these being Apollonian and Dionysian art. Nietzsche holds the belief that all art is redemptive in its qualities, providing the subject who partakes in it a certain “escape” from the realities of life. He believes in the same idea that Schopenhauer had, in that life is awful and tragic with no meaning or purpose; by this I mean that life in itself is considered suffering and without purpose by both Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. This view on life was very nihilistic and led Nietzsche to affirm his believe that the redemption of the tragic life was achieved through art. For Nietzsche, art makes life bearable and worth living at all. This is the basic redemptive quality that encompasses both Apollonian and Dionysian art. We must ask however, what makes these two forms so different, and how does each redeem us independently. Before I undress the redemption through either form, let us take a look at the artistic forces of both to better understand the issue. In The Birth of Tragedy, Dionysian art is depicted as the type of intoxicating art in which one can dissolve their individuality. It is equated with excess and the free flow of emotion. Dionysian art connects the subject to the universal world, putting the person in tune with what Nietzsche described as the “primal will”; that state akin to being an animal. This state of being lets the person drift into a sort of euphoria where clarity of the true meaning of existence is achieved. Apollonian art, on the other hand, is concerned with the world of
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