Donna Tartt’s The Secret History Essay Essay

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Nietzsche’s doctrine has made for itself a alone basis in the sense that it is non involved with academic facets of moralss and other subdivisions of epistemology. This seminal German mind moves fleetly along bulk of philosophical schools of idea. His geographic expedition of the classical elements in literature. as found in the ancient Hellenic society. is manifested attractively in Birth of Tragedy. The longstanding argument between the subjectiveness and the objectiveness of art is addressed to critically by Nietzsche in this book.

The basic thought he propagates in Birth of Tragedy involves world with signifiers and the same without. and the comparing therein. Known as the Dionysian and the Apollonian. this classical Greek theoretical account sums up humankind’s ageless battle to get at a province of equilibrium. Nietzsche argues that in our attempt to prosecute a meaningful being. we need to fling the absurd point of views of the Apollonian and have to encompass the Dionysian. Similar ideas are expressed in Hermann Hesse’s celebrated work Steppenwolf which thematically deals with the Nietzschean Apollonian versus the Dionysian.

The supporter Haller is psychologically preoccupied with two contrasting aspects of personality – the reasonable and logical module of head as opposed to the passionate and appetitive. Nietzsche assigns the footings ‘Apollonian’ and ‘Dionysian’ to these two cardinal worldviews of Grecian calamity. This essay is traveling to do a comparative survey between the Apollonian and the Dionysian with mention to modern literature. To do the comparing. we have chosen Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. one of the creative post-modern fictions from the fatalistic school of literary plants.

In many ways. this novel echoes the Athenian construct of destiny as being an overmastering component responsible for changing the desirable class of events. Idiosyncrasy is the cardinal conceptual constituent in Nietzsche’s ethical philosophies. Time and once more. he inquiries the acceptableness of the prevalent trends that outline the societal norms and manners. What is far less understood in a generic effort manifests itself clearly when associated with a context. “Nietzsche does non show us with a systematic theory of cognition.

Any effort to build one on the footing of his scattered comments. apothegms. poesy. and myth would be a hard. if non impossible. undertaking. It would. above all. be contrary to the purpose of his idea and lead to a deformation of his positions. Nietzsche. as Walter Kaufmann justly asserts. is non a system builder. but a job mind. ” ( Pfeffer. p. 95-96 ) Now in the context of the ancient Greek anthology. both the Apollonian and the Dionysian worldviews were present. ensuing in a clang of political orientations. Nietzsche borrows these two footings from the two Grecian Gods Apollo and Dionysus.

The former symbolically represents lucidity of signifier and reading. and hence is implicative of a additive human personality. Dionysus. on the other manus. bases for frolic and extravagancy. hinting at the presence of multiple personalities within a individual entity. On one manus he is the God of pandemonium and unrestrained emotions. But at the same clip. he is besides the godly visage of profusion and productiveness. Hence the Dionysian school of thought trades with formlessness of look which is closer to art perceived from an indifferent and broad point of view.

Grecian calamity in its flowers attained sublimity when the two typical art signifiers merged with one another to organize a seamless continuum. The beginning of Athenian calamity was hinged on the Dionysian tradition before the other one sprang up. neutralizing the discordant elements. In a manner. fluidness of the Dionysian elements seek cliche through the Apollonian straightness. It was a affair of great wonder for Nietzsche that such contrasting political orientations should of all time be able to specify calamity ( Pfeffer. p. 32 ) .

The streamlined nature of Greek opera is deserving adverting in the context of the Dionysian. Music to a great extent is governed by the freedom of signifier and look. Normative facets of the Apollonian do non follow with the enraptured exultation conveyed through music. It evokes straight to man’s unprompted and self-generated nature and hence. is non limited to the external forces of ground and dependance. The deep-rooted harmoniousness in music is hence counterbalanced by the Apollonian construct of plastic humanistic disciplines and heroic poesy.

What makes Grecian calamity a apogee of the Apollonian and the Dionysian is that the poetic genre characterized by concluding can really strike a harmonious chord and make a degree of elevated strength every bit good as greater reconditeness. So the expansive verticalness of this intermixing high spots Nietzsche’s model vision of idea and his technology capacity to invest preciseness qualities into the doctrine of literature. His alone reading of art and calamity is non based on the conventional techniques.

Rather it dissociates itself from the content and creates an aura of catholicity which can be competently applied to any era of literary patterns: “After acknowledging this huge antithesis. I felt a deep demand to research the nature of Greek calamity which is the profoundest manifestation of the Hellenic mastermind ; merely now did I seem to possess the key to examine profoundly into the indispensable jobs of calamity that were no longer derived from conventional aesthetics. ” ( Pfeffer. p. 32 ) What is stated in the old portion of treatment is affirmed moreover by Ansell-Pearson in A comrade to Nietzsche.

In Birth of Tragedy. he develops a manner which is non merely mechanical in discourse. but besides extremely sporadic in footings of jointing the individualistic impressions so typical of Nietzsche ( Ansell-Pearson. p. 58 ) . The metaphysical vocalization of Nietzsche perverts from what the modern-day philosophers such as Schopenhauer propagated in their philosophies. Many Grecian writers. Euripides for case. viewed the universe as a uninterrupted procedure of creative activity chiefly in conformity with the Apollonian traits.

The Dionysian interruption down of signifier is non associated with the fictional content of human being. The antithetical elements built-in in any human being are overlooked by Euripides in Bacchae. Claims made by Kant and Goethe that signifier and affair are irreversible in nature are given a reviewing new way by Nietzsche in Birth of Tragedy. He establishes a linkage between what Euripides calls ‘organic fiction’ and plurality of human nature. He does non seek to pull any sort of imposed differentiation between the two incongruous concepts.

Euripides’ Bacchae does non suit into Nietzsche’s word picture of metaphysics. If we strive to look into Bacchae in the visible radiation of the Apollonian and the Dionysian derived functions. we would be able to see clearly into the doubt of the latter 1. Chronicling the historical event of Dionysus’ reaching to the royal tribunal of Greece. Euripides presents a controversial subject affecting man’s stance in relation with God. Even though this play is written to oppugn many of the old systems of belief. what remains highly confusing is the playwright’s ultimate focal point.

Euripides inquiries the obscure boundary line between mind and feeling. world and vision. and logic and daftness. But at the same clip. he refrains from geting at any conclusive result that would give a hint to the ground behind mankind’s eternal wretchedness. What Donna Tartt portrays in The Secret History resembles the thematic literary family tree of Bacchae. The thought which is propagated through this fresh involves the secularism of spirit as the ultimate victor in modern universe. The sheer human death of happenings at random does non go forth a opportunity of revisiting the past to happen plausible accounts.

In this sense. this novel is comparable with Birth of Tragedy and its publicity of the Dionysian worldview. This novel can be seen as a modernistic effort to animate the crude universe of the Dionysian rites and rites. On the surface it is merely a slaying enigma which does non merit any deeper analysis. But Tartt invests in this evident slaying enigma a profound apprehension of the Apollonian versus the Dionysian. and the confrontation between world and imaginativeness. between societal inflictions and the human yearning for release.

Aristotle’s point of view on the Catharsis is besides dealt with efficaciously. making an gap for construing life outside the beauty of literary premises. A deeper apprehension of The Secret History is bound to uncover the classical and literary elements explored in the novel. The etymology of this representative work is closely correspondent to both Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy and Euripides’ Bacchae. It is so intriguing to happen a connective bonding with two earlier plants dissimilar in nature.

First and first. Nietzsche’s confrontation with disenchantment in the context of Athenian literature dominated by the Apollonian worldview is stripped off in The Secret History. Events happening within a timeline which is non-linear in nature do non connote Schopenhauer’s philosophy of the universe as ‘maya’ ( Segal. p. 361 ) . The gradual freak out of the lives of six pupils predates Nietzsche’s preoccupation with replying the inquiry affecting human individuality and its multiplex looks.

The Secret History propels the earlier school of idea introduced by Schopenhauer: “Although Nietzsche often speaks of “illusion” in connexion with Dionysus and calamity. he has in head Schopenhauer’s impressions of the universe as “maya” . the self-deceit with which human existences ( with the exclusion of the Nietzschean philosopher ) mask the emptiness and nonsense of their lives. and barely the sort of theatrical. and metatheatrical. semblance of my chapter on metatragedy. ” ( Segal. p. 361 )

It is clear from the three readings that The Secret History along with Steppenwolf is ideologically in propinquity to Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy. What emerges out of Euripides’ Bacchae is a different doctrinal claim which does non supply any scholarly land for either the Apollonian or the Dionysian worldviews. Euripides leaves it equivocal as to which school of idea should the literary definition of calamity comply with. It is instead a mixture of the Dionysian revelry associated with choir vocalizing and the Apollonian poesy.

However. the play does non supply excessively much room for ciphering the extent of each. hence doing the undertaking of categorization vastly hard and debatable. Mentions Pfeffer. R. ( 1972 ) . Nietzsche: adherent of Dionysus. Lewisburg: University of Bucknell. Segal. C. ( 1997 ) . Dionysiac poetics and Euripides’ Bacchae. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Ansell-Pearson. K. ( 2006 ) . A digest to Nietzsche. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.

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