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The Promise of Self-Transformation in The Case of Wagner

The Promise of Self-Transformation in The Case of Wagner

Chapter:
(p.69) Chapter Three The Promise of Self-Transformation in The Case of Wagner
Source:
The Challenge of Nietzsche
Author(s):
Jeremy Fortier
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226679426.003.0004

One of the most important themes of Nietzsche’s entire body of work is love. However, his treatment of that theme shifts over the course of his career: in some places, he writes in inspiring language about love as a motive of genuine self-transcendence, and his literary creation Zarathustra speaks of it as a motive to be acted upon wholeheartedly; in other places, Nietzsche writes in debunking terms about love as a deluding force that conceals a more fundamental selfishness, and he sometimes presents it as a temptation to be resisted. This chapter brings to light the complexities of Nietzsche’s position by looking closely at his remarks on the dramatic depictions of the phenomenon of love in the operas of Bizet and Wagner. The analysis shows that Bizet’s heroine Carmen articulates a manner of loving that comes closest to Nietzsche’s ultimate goal, amor fati (love of fate). By the same token, Nietzsche shows that lesser forms of love must still be appreciated as essential aspects of human experience.

Keywords:   love, Bizet, Carmen, Wagner, amor fati

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