Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Compassion for the Evil Enemies

In the second part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche’s main character Zarathustra, traveling with his disciples, comes across some sleeping priests. In passing them, Zarathustra tells his followers that he has “compassion for these priests,” even though he characterizes them as his “evil enemies.” [1] This love-hate relationship is exemplary of the pervasive embracing of contradictions that exist throughout Nietzsche’s book. In this paper, I will show that the relationship and compassion that Zarathustra has for these priests is precisely because of their role they play as both Zarathustra’s friends and enemies. To do so, I will outline the contradictory characteristics that create this dichotomy of enemies and friends; show how Zarathustra’s embarking from his cave before encountering the priests came as a result of a dream he had; and finally I will show how this dream is key in understanding Zarathustra’s relationship with the priests as he describes them.

Read the rest here.

[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, rpt. in The Portable Nietzsche, trans. and ed. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Penguin Books Ltd., 1982), 203.


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