Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 247

all the more severe. Nietzsche
at length realised that the friend of his fancy and the real Richard
Wagner--the composer of Parsifal--were not one; the fact dawned
upon him slowly; disappointment upon disappointment, revelation after
revelation, ultimately brought it home to him, and though his best
instincts were naturally opposed to it at first, the revulsion of
feeling at last became too strong to be ignored, and Nietzsche was
plunged into the blackest despair. Years after his break with Wagner,
he wrote "The Case of Wagner", and "Nietzsche contra Wagner", and these
works are with us to prove the sincerity and depth of his views on the
man who was the greatest event of his life.

The poem in this discourse is, of course, reminiscent of Wagner's own
poetical manner, and it must be remembered that the whole was written
subsequent to Nietzsche's final break with his friend. The dialogue
between Zarathustra and the Magician reveals pretty fully what it
was that Nietzsche grew to loathe so intensely in Wagner,--viz., his
pronounced histrionic tendencies, his dissembling powers, his inordinate
vanity, his equivocalness, his falseness. "It honoureth thee," says
Zarathustra, "that thou soughtest for greatness, but it betrayeth thee
also. Thou art not great." The Magician is nevertheless sent as a guest
to Zarathustra's cave; for, in his heart, Zarathustra believed until the
end that the Magician was a higher man broken by modern values.

Chapter LXVI. Out of Service.

Zarathustra now meets the last pope, and, in a poetical form, we get
Nietzsche's description of the course Judaism and Christianity pursued
before they reached their final break-up in Atheism, Agnosticism, and
the like. The God of a strong, warlike race--the God of Israel--is a
jealous, revengeful God. He is a power that can be pictured and endured
only by a hardy and courageous race, a race rich enough to sacrifice and
to lose in sacrifice. The image of this God degenerates with the people
that appropriate it, and gradually He becomes a God of love--"soft and
mellow," a lower middle-class deity, who is "pitiful." He can no longer
be a God who requires sacrifice, for we ourselves are no longer rich
enough for that. The tables are therefore turned upon Him; HE must
sacrifice to us. His pity becomes so great that he actually does
sacrifice something to us--His only begotten Son. Such a process
carried to its logical conclusions must ultimately end in His own
destruction, and thus we find the pope declaring that God was one day
suffocated by His all-too-great pity. What follows is clear enough.
Zarathustra recognises another higher man in the ex-pope and sends

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