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Fig 5.15-Apollo/Dionysus Unity

Text: Page 253

Nietzsche agreed with Freud’s view that a repressed civilization was the primary cause of human suffering. Nietzsche implored people to balance the inward Apollonian and Dionysian spirits. In Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music, Nietzsche found in classical Athenian tragedy an art form that provided a way forward to find meaning and purpose in life. In Greek tragedy, the audience continually experienced the abyss of human suffering. In an ironic psychological twist, cathartic encounters with tragedies led to the affirmation of existence. The theatre became a place for the audience to understand that human existence was paradoxical, not petty, or insignificant. Human existence, like the plays themselves, were a celebration of terror and ecstasy, the rational and irrational, the symbolic dance of Apollo and Dionysus, the dance that needed to consciously occur in the daily life of everyone.

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