The Birth of Tragedy by Friedrich Nietzsche

This paper discusses lyric (objective art) versus Homerian (subjective art) poetry in Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy.

This paper explains, in his The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche focuses on the concept that art is perceived as subjective or objective based on the categories that qualify a work of art as subjective or not. The author points out that Nietzsche establishes the argument that literary poems, though works of art that convey intense feelings and profound thought, are not a subjective form of art because they derive from music, an element in human culture derived from a structured system of symbols. The paper counters that the seemingly objective form of Homerian poetry, though epic, is considered more subjective because Homer portrays events in early human civilization through simple language and illustrating images.
To further illustrate and argue his argument that lyric poetry is not a subjective art form, Nietzsche uses Homer’s epic poetry as a counter-example to lyric poetry. Homerian poetry, according to Nietzsche, is an example of an artwork where the Self and the creation are united; thus, Homer’s epic poetry is an example of a subjective artwork. The German philosopher compares lyric poetry with that of epic poetry, which he termed as Apollinian poetry: But what is the folk song in contrast to the wholly Apollinian epos? What else but the perpetuum vestigium of a union of the Apollinian and the Dionysian is testimony to the power of this artistic dual impulse of nature ”