Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Birth of Tragedy” as Want to Read:
The Birth of Tragedy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Birth of Tragedy

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  6,437 ratings  ·  181 reviews
A compelling argument for the necessity for art in life, Nietzsche's first book is fuelled by his enthusiasms for Greek tragedy, for the philosophy of Schopenhauer and for the music of Wagner, to whom this work was dedicated. Nietzsche outlined a distinction between its two central forces: the Apolline, representing beauty and order, and the Dionysiac, a primal or ecstatic ...more
Paperback, New Edition, 160 pages
Published November 27th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1876)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Birth of Tragedy, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Mishou If you've never read Nietzsche before the worst possible thing you can do is read Thus Spoke Zarathustra. That is his final complete piece of writing…moreIf you've never read Nietzsche before the worst possible thing you can do is read Thus Spoke Zarathustra. That is his final complete piece of writing with so much weight and hardiness after writing complex pieces previous to it. Yes The birth of Tragedy is his first published work but it is still quite an undertaking and not to be read lightly. If you truly want to experience and appreciate his thoughts and philosophy properly, the best thing you can do is read a secondary source to get a sense of the matter without having to jump through fiery hoops to understand it. I'm a minor in Philosophy and my boyfriend is a 3rd year Major. Trust me you'll be doing yourself a favor and will have better success in excelling with Nietzsche. A great secondary source is "The Importance of Nietzsche" by Erich Heller. Then, if you want to move on past Secondary sources I suggest (smaller than The Birth of Tragedy) "Human, All-Too-Human". (less)
The Origin of Species by Charles DarwinHoly Bible by AnonymousThe Quran by AnonymousThe Communist Manifesto by Karl MarxThe Republic by Plato
The Most Influential Books in History
264th out of 812 books — 2,746 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
Best Books of the 19th Century
259th out of 669 books — 3,628 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Riku Sayuj

Apollo Vs Dionysus: A Darwinian Drama

Nietzsche never struck me as a real philosopher. He was too much the story-teller.

This is probably his most a-philosophical (?) work. But it is my favorite. It was the most accessible to me and it was the most relevant of his works. It helped me form my own convictions. It was universal and yet not choke full of platitudes. It was forceful but not descending into loud (almost incomprehensible) invectives. (you know which works I subtly allude to)

'Birth of Tra
Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy

In Helen Morales' introduction to Tim Whitmarsh's fine new translation of Leucippe and Clitophon ,

written by the Alexandrian Greek Achilles Tatius in the 2nd century CE, she mentions that Nietzsche condemned the ancient Greek novels as a final sign of the degeneration of Greek literary art. I had forgotten all about that, so I thumbed through Die Geburt der Tragödie to find what he said in context and was pul

The Birth of Tragedy is by far the better written and useful of the three works by Friedrich Nietzsche that I have so far read. Thus proving that when he is not angrily ranting about religion and morality, that Nietzsche does have important points to make about humanity. That is not to say that Nietzsche does not have his own pointed comments about religion in this narrative argument that he creates, more that these comments are superseded by the other arguments created by Nietzsche.

In the fore
Matthew Hartley
‘Only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternally justified.’

In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche’s first book, he describes what he believes are the two central forces in art and how they merged to form Greek tragedy. The two forces are the Dionysian and the Apolline. The Dionysian is wild, formless and is associated with music, the will and breaking through cultural norms. The Apolline deals with sculpture, dreams, poetry, restraint and the individual.

The ancient Gree
This is less a review than ponderings and comments after having finished the book.

Could it legitimately be argued that, as in Western culture individualism is increasingly valued, the necessity for Dionysian communal frenzy becomes increasingly imperative for psychological wholeness? Hence, for example, all those phenomena of “mob” emotion - sporting events, militant nationalism, partisan politics and political polarization, any group identifications.

Nietzsche’s vision and argument, while derive
The author, who certainly knew his Greek history, argues that early classical Greek tragedies (i.e. written by Aeschylus and Sophocles) demonstrated an heroic effort to understand and affirm human suffering and existence in a meaningless world. Greek culture was a blend between the Apollonian and the Dionysian. Apollo, the sun god, sought to bring order, meaning, and form to the harsh world people saw around them. Dionysus, the god of wine, sought to immerse people in the immediate changing worl ...more
Jose Gaona

Nietzsche construyó un ensayo muy ambicioso. El nacimiento de la tragedia no es solamente un tratado acerca de cómo y por qué surgió, vivió y murió sin reproducirse la tragedia clásica griega sino que, al mismo tiempo, fue también una valoración en pequeñito de toda la cultura occidental hasta el momento. Quizá ese sea su mayor problema: la oposición entre lo dionisíaco y lo apolíneo le proporcionó a Nietzsche una dicotomía cuya potencia explicativa rebasa
Rowland Bismark
As The Birth of Tragedy was Nietzsche's first published book, it is a rather awkwardly written representation of his early ideas. Nietzsche lamented as much in a supplementary preface, which he wrote fifteen years later in 1886. The older Nietzsche looks back, as we all do, with embarrassment on his younger self. He writes, "Today I find it an impossible book: I consider it badly written, ponderous, embarrassing, image-mad and image-confused, sentimental, in places saccharine to the point of ef ...more
A few weeks ago, I finished Marx’s Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. It strikes me now that that book and this one are similar, in that they shed light on the two thinkers as young men. In Marx’s Critique, we see the twenty-something grappling with the tentacled beast of Hegel; in The Birth of Tragedy, we see young Nietzsche taking his first bold step off the straight-and-narrow path of academia into his own world of thought. Both books are, to put it delicately, ‘young men’s books’—bold, ...more
نیچه کار خود را با نوشتن "زایش تراژدی از روح موسیقی" (1872) آغاز کرد. فهم این اثر شالوده ی درک آثار بعدی او را شکل می دهد. نیچه در این اثر تراژدی یونان باستان را می ستاید و تراژدی را ابزاری به شمار می آورد که یونانیان از طریق آن به جهان و زندگانی یکسر پوچ خود معنا بخشیدند. او در بحث خود پیرامون تراژدی می کوشد تا نشان دهد چگونه اپرای واگنر و شرایط فرهنگی جامعه ی آلمانی می تواند هنری هم پایه ی تراژدی های یونان باستان را در بطن خود به همراه داشته و احیاگر فرهنگ و هنر ناب یونان باشد. از همین رو است ...more
Very interesting insights. His reading of tragedy is absolutely superb, although I think there is a little irony in conceptualising the dinoyesian. I like that he privileged music above other forms; it seems intuitively true. I also think this whole 'hatred of rationality' shite is... well, shit. If you read him carefully, he's saying that the best art has an unmixable mix of the 2 forces. I think that he's saying it's impossible to be either 'completely', or if you are, art loses out. He was ab ...more
A great introduction to Nietzsche. If you want to understand him at all, you have to understand the tension and balance between the Apollonian and Dionysian forces and this is where he clearly explains that dynamic. This is the book that started my love affair with all things Nietzsche.
A young, bookish moustachioed professor, newly appointed to a provincial chair of philology, falls under the spell of a mysterious, scheming and possibly malevolent composer, whose unholy music break all the boundaries of taste or custom. Our hero soon suspects a dark secret at the heart of his mesmerizing’s mesmerizing arrangements – but enamored of the composer's innocent wife, the professor descends further and further into the primal madness of music, exploring ancient nameless wisdom so ter ...more
Almost 20 years ago, I took a course with the University of California-Berkeley Extension on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, surely one of the most influential thinkers from the 19th century. The class read all or parts of most of his works, including his first book, "The Birth of Tragedy." Although his ideas have influenced me and been reflected in the writings of other philosophers, social critics, and writers of fiction I have read, I had taken on since then only a couple of his books ...more
Ali Reda

The death of Greek tragedy, on the other hand, left a great void whose effects were felt profoundly, far and wide; as once Greek sailors in Tiberius' time heard the distressing cry 'the god Pan is dead' issuing from a lonely island, now, throughout the Hellenic world, this cry resounded like an agonized lament: 'Tragedy is dead! Poetry itself died with it! Away, away with you, puny, stunted imitators! Away with you to Hades, and eat your fill of the old masters' crumbs!'

For Nietzsche, artist
David Fulmer
The Birth of Tragedy, the first book written by towering nineteenth century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, presents a highly individualistic and aesthetically sophisticated interpretation of Attic Tragedy, the Greek plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides which have long occupied an artistic peak of world culture. Nietzsche adopts the spirit of the Greeks, who had a god or goddess for every thing and every idea, and assigns parts of Greek Tragedy to the Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus. Apol ...more
This was certainly an interesting piece. Nietzsche covers a variety of topics, and his writing is magnificent. Nietzshe emphasizes the importance of aesthetics throughout the work. For example, music is described as the thing-in-itself, and all events which occur are phenomena. In a Greek tragic play, the music is the thing-in-itself, and the events which occur are phenomena. Nietzsche also refers to music as "the universal", in that all people understand music - music evokes emotions in people ...more
Nietzsche. Years ago, all I knew about him was that overused quote that says “Without music, life would be a mistake”. A couple of days ago, I found a funny picture that reminded of that.


Ha! Ok, maybe not funny ha-ha. If you speak Spanish...

Anyway. The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche's first work. I read it years ago (the great Schopenhauer led me to him) but I didn't remember much. Since I want (or wanted, I don't know) to start with Thus spoke Zarathustra, I figured I should begin with something s
Andrew Sydlik
I had planned on reading Nietzsche's entire ouevre, in chronological order of being written, since mostly I had read excerpts or quotes of his, or read other people's writings about him rather than by him. However, that plan got shot down when I found how hard it was to find his books in used book stores.

This work, his first major work, is not purely philosophy. As if anything he ever wrote really was - but this is really more historical/art criticism about Greek tragedy, not the human tragedy h
Chris Comis
Good old Nietzsche. Or, not so good old Nietzsche! I dare anyone to try spelling his name without having to look at it on paper-- it's impossible. Anyway, the book was pretty much a bombastic and pretentious attempt to justify Hellenistic culture, as understood through the lenses of the "Germanic spirit," as he liked to label his approach to Aryanism. Very racially motivated in its political aspirations, and also very pagan in its look at the underlying metaphysics of tragedy. Nietzsche despised ...more
Prvo Ničeovo delo, mnogo kritikovano od strane 'stručne javnosti' u vreme kada je objavljeno a i on se kasnije samokritički osvrnuo na njega, pre svega zbog toga što u vreme pisanja još nije raskrstio sa Šopenhaureom i Kantom a čak se i Luter pominje u pozitivnom kontekstu iako su sva trojica u kasnijim njegovim delima oštro kritikovani.
Uprkos svim manama, veoma vredna knjiga koja uspostavlja originalnu dihotomiju apolonsko-dionisko, svet vidi opravdanim jedino kao estetski fenomen i tako na sa
Dec 24, 2011 Alexm added it
It's more than just craft meets inspiration or something trite. The language is also very colorful in a way that his later work usually isn't. Perhaps his insights are way off base, but what do I know about greek tragedy? I just remember being captivated by the glowing quality of the words and the rush of ideas. You get a sense of a young philosopher utterly engaged by aesthetic and ideological worlds. Besides, he isn't making claims about real history rooted in time and actual peoples and event ...more
Ali Balighi
زایش تراژدی از روح موسیقی نام اولین کتاب نیچه استکه در سال 1872 خطاب به واگنر نوشته شده.توجه ویژه نیچه در این اثر رو به موسیقی از دیونیزوس دارد و در آن مدعی این مطلب است تراژدی زاده‌ی دیونیزوس و آپولون یا هنرهای قابل دیدن می‌باشد. در اولین قدم نیچه سعی دارد دیدگاه‌های خود را از شوپنهاور جدا تلقی کند و در این اقدام بوداگرایی شوپنهاور را نقض میکند و استدلال می‌کند زندگی ارزش زندگی کردن را با تمام سختی‌هایش دارد. در کنار مطالبی از این دست، برای شخص خودم ژرف اندیشی نیچه در زمینه اسطوره گرایی و رابطه ...more
Bob Nichols
This first (?) book by Nietzsche is not easy. Several years later, Nietzsche reportedly referred to it as “impossible…badly written, ponderous….” On the substantive side, Nietzsche’s message has more appeal. Starting with Euripides and Socrates, Nietzsche argues that the Greek and subsequent Western (intellectual?) cultures lost their way, moving away from instinct and passion and revelry to a serious discounting of the body in the pursuit of the rational life. “Rational” is not a reference to t ...more
Seth Benzell
Two connections, and a lesson:

The first time I had run into the Apollonian/Dionysian distinction is in the non-fiction book "The Botany Of Desire" which uses the distinction to explore man's relationship to plants with mixed success.

I think this distinction and other related , because it allows us to speak of ideological conflicts without

A second connection is through perhaps the greatest American essay, "Experience" by Ralph Waldo Emerson. We know that Nietzsche read Emerson closely: "We live
Recipe for "The Birth of Tragedy":

1. Add one part speculative psychological inquiry into the deepest recesses of Hellenic consciousness.
2. Stir in some rousing and thought-provoking anti-Socratic and anti-Euripidean invective.
3. Season with a pinch of ecstatically Dionysiac rhetoric.
4. If necessary, add more speculative psychological inquiry to taste.
5. Beat vigorously until mixture produces an unqualified dithyrambic adoration of Richard Wagner.
6. Let stand until properly matured.

Serves 1.
One of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read with regards to Greek tragedy, philosophy and art.
Good first work by the man who will go on to define the discourse of the twentieth century. The kernels of his later ideas are present here in raw form. The metaphysics offered are artistically provided if not compelling. Nietzsche's version of the derivation and source of great art are worth reading, especially as they inform a Nietzsche reader as to the standards he will set for himself in his later works.
Just some reflection about the text:

The Greek god Dionysus reminds us of the tragedy pulsating at the background of our lives. That no matter how beautiful, grand, systematic our life is, no matter how we seize control over our fate and lead it to our desired destination, and no matter how we pray perhaps to any god to put everything into order, Dionysus is always there, he is an opposing force that at a glimpse can put everything into ashes, he is an earthquake that can strike foundations to c
If you are a dork, it's really fun to read this book and then apply everything he says to hardcore. Try it. It's like Dark Side of the Moon plus The Wizard of Oz.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics
  • Nietzsche and Philosophy (European Perspectives)
  • Essays and Aphorisms
  • Either/Or: A Fragment of Life
  • Phaedrus
  • On the Aesthetic Education of Man
  • Nietzsche, Volumes One and Two
  • Poetics
  • The Essence of Christianity
  • The Blue and Brown Books
  • Truth and Method
  • Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900) (Arabic: فريدريك نيتشه) was a German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality. He was interested in the enhancement of individual and cultural health, and believed in life, creativity, power, and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a world beyond. Central to ...more
More about Friedrich Nietzsche...
Thus Spoke Zarathustra Beyond Good and Evil On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo The Anti-Christ The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs

Share This Book

“Christianity was from the beginning, essentially and fundamentally, life's nausea and disgust with life, merely concealed behind, masked by, dressed up as, faith in "another" or "better" life.” 24 likes
“نسمع في لحظات الفرح الغامر صرخات الرعب أو البكاء الموجع اشتياقاً إلى شيء ما فقدناه بلا رجعة” 18 likes
More quotes…