In Friedrich Nietzsche’s “The birth of Tragedy” he claims that “Every artist must appear as an ‘imitator’, either as the Apollonian dream artist or the Dionysian ecstatic artist, or finally as a dream and ecstatic artist in one.” According to Nietzsche Greek art was very superficial before Dionysus. In this original art the observer was not truly united with the art, unable to immerse himself. Apollo was present to protect man from suffering and provided them with a certain level comfort. Dionysus, who comes later, shocked the Apollonian men with his ecstatic. Dionysus helped man to find that existence wasn’t limited to his individual experiences but rather a group effort, creating a communal spirit and a way to escape death. Interestingly enough Apollo is needed to reveal Dionysus. Nietzsche finds that in a real tragedy there needs to be elements of both Apollo and Dionysus. In Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” the protagonist, Edna, is used to employ the Apollonian and Dionysian conflict effectively arousing feelings of pity and fear resurrecting the classic Greek tragedy.
Upon close examination of the text it is apparent that the Apollonian and Dionysian duality exists. From the beginning of the story the Apollonian and Dionysian conflict is embodied in Robert Lebrun and Leonce Pontellier. Leonce represents the Apollo, providing Edna with protection from the innate suffering of the world and providing her a certain comfort through financial security. When Robert returns from the club he gives Edna the money he won, to which Edna responds “It will buy a handsome wedding present for Sister Janet!” Leonce then tells Edna “Oh! we’ll treat Sister Janet better than that, my dear.” Leonce boasting about his money is commonplace throughout the work, coming up especially when he is angry. Apollonian conflict is not only seen in Leonce’s money, but also his shallowness. When Leonce finds that Edna is moving out he writes her a letter telling her to consider “first,...
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