Take Home Exam Section 1
It’s a bird…It’s a plane…It’s the Übermensch! “The Übermensch? Doesn’t it go It’s a bird…It’s a plane…It’s Superman?” one might be asking. However, if one were to take a direct German translation of Übermensch, the definitions that would come up would include, Superman, Overman, Overhuman and Above-Human. If we closely exam the criteria to become the Übermensch as Nietzsche has laid out for us through Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the modern day fictional Superman, there are such strong parallels between the two that I can firmly say that Superman is the Übermensch. In order to convey that Superman is the Übermensch, we have to make a criteria to scrutinize Superman and others under, by doing so we must understand the concepts of what the purpose of the Übermensch is, the claim that “God is Dead”, Nietzsche’s theory of the will to power, the transvaluation of all values, the three metamorphoses, and the “eternal recurrence”.
In order to analyze and show the comparisons between the Übermensch and Superman, we have to go deep within the text of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and many other works from Nietzsche to structure a set of criteria for what is and who could be the Übermensch. Nietzsche starts Thus Spoke Zarathustra with Zarathustra meeting a Saint in the forest and after this meeting Zarathustra proceeds to assert if the Saint has not heard that “God is Dead”, which relates back to Nietzsche’s parable “The Madman” within The Gay Science. Within this parable Nietzsche has a Madman come to the society looking for God. Society turns to the Madman with sarcastic and sneering comments, which elicits a fearsome retort from the Madman proclaiming, “God is Dead” and that God has fell from “our knives”, then the Madman continues on to point out the nihilism, the notion that life has lost meaning, that is alive and well within society. The Madman’s proclamation that “God is Dead” also stabs at the notion that God cannot be used to explain our certainties, values, and morals anymore, and thus we must create our own, which is only possible with the Übermensch. The purpose of having Zarathustra allude to the assertion that “God is Dead” is a direct foreshadowing of the nihilism within society that was awaiting Zarathustra when he went to preach the Übermensch. Zarathustra goes to society and begins teaching the Übermensch, which he states is the eventual overcoming of present day man, and what men should strive to become. Zarathustra tells society that, “The Overman is the meaning of the earth …I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes” (Thus Spoke Zarathustra 125). Breaking this text down we can see that Nietzsche views the Übermensch as a goal for all men to strive for and through evolution we shall eventually achieve the Übermensch. Moreover, Nietzsche views the Übermensch as God’s successor when he asserts that the Übermensch is the meaning of life and that in order to strive towards the Übermensch society must re-evaluate their values and to live for the here and now instead of taking the cowardly route of Christianity and living for the “next life”. Nietzsche goes into vivid detail of why the Übermensch and anyone striving towards the Übermensch cannot be religious within Thus Spoke Zarathustra and also within a separate essay The Antichrist. Nietzsche’s main quarrel with all religions is that each of them gives an escape route to mankind to live life in order to bring them to some “otherworldly” place, in which there they will gain from upholding the morals and values their religion has set forth. Thus religions form a herd-like mentality and eventually lead to nihilism, hatred of the body and the finite. Furthermore, within “The Antichrist” Nietzsche begins to assert the concept of the transvaluation of all values, which in layman’s terms means the values we hold dear are now sickening and the values we loathe are now...
Cited: Kierkegaard, Soren. Fear and Trembling. Edited by Robert Bretall. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1973.
Kill Bill Vol. 2. Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Miramax Films, 2004. Film
.Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House, Inc., 1966.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Will to Power. Edited by Walter Kaufmann. Translated by Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale. New York: Random House, Inc., 1966
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Edited and Translated by Walter Kaufmann. London: Penguin Books Ltd, 1976.
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