On the Three Metamorphoses
In one of the most important passages of the book, Nietzsche describes threestages of human development. Each stage has its own virtue, and eachcontributes to developing the ideal which he calls the overman. What are themain qualities of the camel as he describes them? What criterion does thecamel use to choose his tasks? What do all of the questions have in commonwhich begin, \"Or is it this?\" What attitude toward virtue does thedragon symbolize? What traditional Christian virtues is he here inverting? Based on what you have read earlier, why is it important for the lion to slaythe dragon? In what way is this act of destruction creative? What is thedifference between the sacred \"no\" and the sacred \"yes?\" People influenced by Nietzsche often use the expressions \"yea-saying&178;and \"nay-saying.\" What attitudes are conveyed by these expressions? What does it mean to utter a sacred \"Yes?\" What does he mean bysaying \"he who had been lost to the world now conquers his own world?&178; Hint: throughout most of this book Nietzsche often says the same things overand over in different ways. You have already encountered these ideas in different forms.
On the Teachers of Virtue
In praising sleep the sage praises the quiet conscience. He preaches theopposite of what Zarathustra preaches. What point do you think Nietzsche ismaking by letting his opponent express himself? What does Zarathustra\'s finalblessing of the \"sleepy ones\" mean?
On the Afterworldly
What by now familiar Nietzschean theme is the subject of this section? Whatdoes he say is the source of the human desire to create heavens(\"afterworlds\"))? How does he answer those who think they havedirectly experienced spiritual realms \"transported from their bodies andthis earth\")? Does he view such people as wicked or as sick? How does hesay such people should be treated? How do you think he would react to peoplewho say they have had \"after death\" experiences today?
On the Despisers of the Body
What is the significance of believing that the \"soul\" is a function ofthe body rather than a separate entity? One of the more influential themes inNietzsche\'s thought is his notion of the wisdom of the body. Can you think ofany contemporary examples in which people seem to share that idea, for instancesaying that one should \"listen\" to one\'s body? In what sense can thebody be said to have created the spirit?
On Enjoying and Suffering the Passions
Here Nietzsche is using the original meaning of the Latin word passio--suffering, and combining it with the more recent meaning of intensedesire. What is his attitude toward passion? How is it similar to Faust\'s?
On the Pale Criminal
How do you think Nietzsche would react to contemporary calls for more capitalpunishment? What arguments might be made to support his position thatexecutions should not be a form of revenge? What arguments might be madeagainst it? Why does he reject terms like \"villain,&178;\"scoundrel,\" and \"sinner?\" What is different about theterms he proposes to use instead? The Pale Criminal here is often compared toDostoyevsky\'s Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, whofantasized becoming a Napoleonic hero by rejecting ordinary morality andcommitting a robbery/murder with total disregard for normal ethics. However, hefound he was not capable of such lofty detachment, and was haunted by a guiltyconscience. Inter estingly, Nietzsche had not read Crime and Punishment, and arrived at this portrait quite independently. Clearly Zarathustradoes not really mean to praise murder or robbery, so why does he criticize thecriminal\'s inability to admit to himself that what he really wants to do iscommit a murder? How does th is relate to the sentence, \"Much about yourgood people nauseates me; and verily, it is not their evil?\" What familiarNietzschean theme is he continuing here?
On Reading and Writing
What does it mean to write with your blood? Is this a classical or romanticattitude? Why does Nietzsche think universal literacy is a bad thing? Whatinfluence might he think it has had on the quality of writing? Remember,magazines, newspapers and books were the mass media in the nineteenth century. According to Zarathustra, how are madness and reason related? What is hismetaphor for the spirit of lightness and joy which he praises? Hint: thispassage suggested the great waltz section in Richard Strauss\'s tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra (the opening of the work is well-known asthe \"theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey\" ).
On the Tree on the Mountainside
Why does Zarathustra feel the youth is not yet ready for freedom? Does he feelthat freedom is good in and of itself? Do you agree with him? What criticismsdoes he make of those who pursue skepticism for its own sake in the paragraphthat begins \"Alas, I knew noble men . . .?\"
On the Preachers of Death
This is largely a repetition of ideas already discussed in the sections entitled\"On the Afterworldly\" and \"On the Despisers of the Body,&178; but he also takes uphostility toward sexuality. What are some of the kinds of people which he calls\"Preachers of Death?&178;
On War and Warriors
Besides \"God is dead,\" this passage is probably quoted out of contextmore than any other part of Nietzsche\'s writings. What is a warrior ofknowledge? Nietzsche was an outspoken critic of German nationalism andmilitarism. What kind of war is he speaking about? What is the differencebetween a soldier and a warrior, as he uses the terms? (Hint: the first comesfrom the name of a Roman coin with which soldiers were paid, and originallydesignated a hired fighter.) Why does he object to uniforms? Interpret thissentence: \"Your enemy you shall seek, your war you shall wage--for your thoughts.\" Is he speaking here about traditional warfare, involving massesof soldiers obeying the orders of officers? Why does he say that you shouldfind a cause for triumph even in defeat? Do generals tell their armies,\"It isn\'t who wins that counts, it\'s how you fight the battle?\" Thenext few phrases are frequently cited to show that Nietzsche was a proto-Fascistmilitarist who would have supported Hitler. Is this a fair interpretation? Explain. What good qualities does he say have been encouraged more by war thanby the Christian virtues of neighborly love and pity? Is this an unconventionalview? Why does he say you must not despise your enemy? Can you reconcile theseeming contradiction between the paragraph on recalcitrance and obedience withhis earlier objection to uniformity and his general insistence on fighting forone\'s own individual cause?
German nationalism was on the rise at this time, as the modern country wasslowly unified out of a variety of small principalities. How does he make clearin this passage that his praise of war must not be taken to support warfare insupport of the modern state?
On the Flies of the Market Place
What qualities does he praise that conflict with a Hitleresque idea of theimportance of the state? What does it mean to say \"Never yet has truthhung on the arm of the unconditional?\" Technically this statement containsa self-contradiction; can you re-word it so that it still conveys his meaningwithout being self-contradictory?
Why does he feel that chastity can be a vice for some people? Strikingly, helinks suppressed sexuality and cruelty in much the same way that Freud was to dolater in his theory of masochism. To understand the \"parable\" heoffers, read Mark 5:1-20. Do es he say that everyone should indulge in sex? What does he mean by saying that \"dirty\" truths are not as bad asshallow ones?
On the Friend
Nietzsche seems to feel that having a friend makes one vulnerable. Whatqualities does he think a friend should have to prevent these dangers? Why doeshe argue that women are not yet capable of friendship? Do you think the desirefor love can interfere with the ability to make and keep friends? Do you thinksuch interference happens more among men or among women? Why does he thinkwomen\'s love is inferior to friendship? Note: many readers areparticularly offended by Nietzsche\'s calling women cats, birds, and cows;but it is important to note that he has much harsher (and clearer) things to sayabout them that this (see On Little Old and Young Women). What does it implywhen he says that woman is \"not yet\" capable of friendship? How doeshe use his comments on women to attack men?
On the Thousand and One Goals
Nietzsche strongly rejected the notion that there is one single purpose in lifethat all of us should discover and pursue. But he felt that peoples create anidentity for themselves which is based on their group values. How does he saythey choose these values? What did he think was the main value of the Greeks? \"Zarathustra\" is the name of a Persian prophet. What does he thinkthe main values of the Persians were? What famous people took as central law\"To honor father and mother?\" How do you think Zarathustra reacts tothis kind of virtue, judging by what he has said earlier? The fourth group ofpeople is the Germans. In what way is his summary of them less neutral than theother three? Nietzsche says that the notion of the individual as a creatoremerged only in recent times? What evidence is there in history to supportthis view? To what degree is it an overstatement? What mechanism does he arguehas traditionally hindered individualism? How does he think humanity shoulddefine itself? Is the emergence of individualism entirely a good thing? Canyou think of any disadvantages it has had?
On Love of the Neighbor
As in On the Friend, he argues that the need for close friends is a danger. What does he feel this danger consists in? Of all of Nietzsche\'steachings, this is probably the least followed. Most people who have beenprofoundly influenced by Nietzsche have also praised friendship highly.
On the Way of the Creator
What in this section repeats Zarathustra\'s comments on freedom in \"On theTree on the Mountainside?&178; What is it that he calls on one to\"murder\" in the last paragraph on p. 63? Is he advocating literalmurder of another human being? To what in history is he referring in hiswarning against holy simplicity? What does he say is your worst enemy?
On Little Old and Young Women
It is obvious that this passage expresses outrageously sexist attitudes towardwomen. What is not so obvious is that they are simply a more brutal expressionof common nineteenth-century ways of praising women. Can youtranslate some of his statements into gentler-sounding equivalents that mostnineteenth-century men and women might have agreed with? What kind of men doesthe old woman say that women hate? Why do you think she urges men to use thewhip (violence) against women? Why do you suppose this is the only passage inwhich Nietzsche\'s views are expressed through a character other thanZarathustra?
On the Adder\'s Bite
What variations does Zarathustra make here on the Sermon on the Mount? (SeeMatthew 5:38-48.) He is not simply turning Jesus\' teachings upside down. How is he changing them? What are your own reactions to his suggestedchanges?
On Child and Marriage
This is pretty much just an editorial in favor of the overman, arguing thatwithout the goal of producing a superior child, marriage is pointless, evendestructive.
On Free Death
How does his teaching on dying at the right time relate to hotly-debated issuestoday? He says that Jesus (\"that Hebrew\") died too early. What doeshe think would have happened had he lived longer?
On the Gift-Giving Virtue
1: Nietzsche argues that one should not idealize the poor as morally superior to the rich or idealize giving to them out of pity. What does he suggest shouldbe the motive of charity?
2: Here he summarizes his basic teaching. What is his central point? Why wouldit be illogical to expect him to have described the overman in detail, with allhis important characteristics?
3: How does he try to demonstrate that he wants each person to find his or herown truth?