No Fool Like an Old Fool: Part IV of Thus Spake Zarathustra

Philosophy Research Archives 14:333-342 (1988)
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Abstract

Nietzsche published for the public only the first three parts of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This paper in examining the “tragic wisdom” of that work gives an account of why Nietzsche did not want his public to read Part IV. It shows the evolution in Nietzsche’s thought about tragic wisdom beginning with The Birth of Tragedy where satyric laughter is central to the wisdom of ancient Greek tragedy to Parts I-III of Thus Spoke Zarathustra where the significance of its major idea, eternal recurrence, is the joy occasioned by experiencing that theory to finally Part IV where the pathos engendered by Zarathustra, who has aged to an ugly, old fool, is the sarcastic laughter that kills

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