on The Birth of Tragedy, pts. 9-13

from the text:

1. "When we turn away blinded after a strenuous attempt to look directly at the sun, we have dark, coloured patches before our eyes, as if their purpose were to heal them; conversely, those appearances of the Sophoclean hero in images of light, in other words, the Apolline quality of the mask, are the necessary result of gazing into the inner, terrible depths of nature - radiant patches, as it were, to heal the gaze seared by gruesome night" (46).

2. "The myth of Prometheus (in Aeschylus' play) presupposes the unbounded value which naive humanity placed on fire as the true palladium of every rising culture; but it struck those contemplative original men as a crime, a theft perpetrated on divine nature, to believe that man commanded fire freely, rather than receiving it as a gift from heaven, as a bolt of lightning which could start a blaze, or as the warming fire of the sun" (49).

3. "Like Plato, Euripides undertook to show the world the opposite of the 'unreasoning' poet; as I have said, his aesthetic principle, 'Everything must be conscious in order to be beautiful', is a parallel to Socrates' assertion that, 'Everything must be conscious in order to be good.' Accordingly, we may regard Euripides as the poet of aesthetic Socratism" (64).

4. "Socrates believed that he was obliged to correct existence, starting from this single point; he, the individual, the forerunner of a completely different culture, art, and morality, steps with a look of disrespect and superiority into a world where we would count ourselves supremely happy if we could even touch the hem of its cloak in awe" (66).

from Lenson:

1. "With Euripides begins mass culture, or the representation of ordinary people from above in an easily accessible way that makes no demand of them for their betterment, but instead praises them for being just as they are. Modern mass culture does precisely that" (68).
Written on August 26, 2007