Twilight of the Idols

by

Friedrich Nietzsche

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Apollonian and Dionysian Term Analysis

Apollo and Dionysus are gods of Greek mythology. They represent opposing values and forces—Apollo is the god of light, reason, and balance, and Dionysus is the god of wine, religious ecstasy, fertility, and insanity. So, while Apollo is organized, logical, and subdued, Dionysus is uncontrolled and instinctual. Nietzsche (specifically in his work The Birth of Tragedy) argues that Apollonian and Dionysian forces are present within all Greek tragedies, and that a Greek tragedy is rooted in a tension between these opposing forces. In Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche describes Apollonian and Dionysian as “opposing forms of intoxication.” He explains that the Apollonian force stimulates vision in the artist, whereas the Dionysian force stimulates all of the combined human passions.

Apollonian and Dionysian Quotes in Twilight of the Idols

The Twilight of the Idols quotes below are all either spoken by Apollonian and Dionysian or refer to Apollonian and Dionysian. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History and the Decline of Civilization  Theme Icon
).
Expeditions of an Untimely Man Quotes

The most spiritual human beings, assuming they are the most courageous, also experience by far the most painful tragedies: but it is precisely for this reason that they honour life, because it brings against them its most formidable weapons.

Related Characters: Friedrich Nietzsche (speaker)
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:
What I Owe to the Ancients Quotes

Ultimately my mistrust of Plato extends to the very bottom of him: I find him deviated so far from all the fundamental instincts of the Hellenes, so morally infected, so much an antecedent Christian—he already has the concept ‘good’ as the supreme concept—that I should prefer to describe the entire phenomenon ‘Plato’ by the harsh term ‘higher swindle’ or, if you prefer, ‘idealism’, than by any other.

Related Characters: Friedrich Nietzsche (speaker), Plato
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

Affirmation of life even in its strangest and sternest problems, the will to life rejoicing in its own inexhaustibility through the sacrifice of its highest types—that is what I called Dionysian, that is what I recognized as the bridge to the psychology of the tragic poet. Not so as to get rid of pity and terror, not so as to purify oneself of a dangerous emotion and through its vehement discharge—it was thus Aristotle understood it—: but, beyond pity and terror, to realize in oneself the eternal joy of becoming—that joy which also encompasses joy in destruction.

Related Characters: Friedrich Nietzsche (speaker)
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
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Apollonian and Dionysian Term Timeline in Twilight of the Idols

The timeline below shows where the term Apollonian and Dionysian appears in Twilight of the Idols. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Expeditions of an Untimely Man
History and the Decline of Civilization  Theme Icon
The Will to Power   Theme Icon
The Ideal vs. The Real  Theme Icon
Christianity and the “Revaluation of All Values”  Theme Icon
10. Nietzsche considers Apollonian and Dionysian, opposing “forms of intoxication” he created and introduced in The Birth of Tragedy. Apollonian intoxication—which... (full context)
History and the Decline of Civilization  Theme Icon
The Will to Power   Theme Icon
The Ideal vs. The Real  Theme Icon
Christianity and the “Revaluation of All Values”  Theme Icon
...but have become more distinct and specialized over time. The architect, by contrast, is neither Dionysian nor Apollonian. Instead, the “act of will” inspires them. Only the most powerful men have... (full context)
History and the Decline of Civilization  Theme Icon
The Will to Power   Theme Icon
The Ideal vs. The Real  Theme Icon
Christianity and the “Revaluation of All Values”  Theme Icon
...“anti-historical” instinct and the “idealistic” instinct. Nietzsche considers Goethe’s “joyful and trusting fatalism” to be Dionysian, since it’s “the highest of all possible faiths.” (full context)
What I Owe to the Ancients
History and the Decline of Civilization  Theme Icon
The Will to Power   Theme Icon
The Ideal vs. The Real  Theme Icon
Christianity and the “Revaluation of All Values”  Theme Icon
4. Nietzsche was the first person to suggest that Dionysus could explain “the older Hellenic instinct,” which is today conceivable only as an “excess of... (full context)
History and the Decline of Civilization  Theme Icon
The Will to Power   Theme Icon
The Ideal vs. The Real  Theme Icon
Christianity and the “Revaluation of All Values”  Theme Icon
...Nietzsche sees all intense feeling (even suffering) as an affirmation of life. For Nietzsche, the Dionysian is all about recognizing "in oneself the external joy of becoming—that joy which also encompasses... (full context)