The Poiesis of Value
This chapter explores Nietzsche’s understanding of how Homer stands as a victor in something prior and, thus, epitomizes victorious overcoming, in that Homer redeems, revalues, and sets the standard for redemption. Homer stands as Nietzsche’s exemplar of Apollinian artists and Nietzsche admires him for staking a claim to the creation of nobility itself. Homer’s idealization of the life of glory and his articulation of vehicles for achieving it effected a transformation of the mundane trials and tribulations of life that might otherwise seem meaningless. The rise and fall of Homeric agonism, furthermore, is itself illustrative of how a value scheme can develop to such a point that it begins to undermine itself, insofar as the Homeric view is ultimately contested, reasserted, united with its opposition at its height, and then ruined. This resembles a process Nietzsche later describes as “self-overcoming,” which he thinks is characteristic of all existence.
Keywords: victorious overcoming, Homer, redemption, nobility, Homeric agonism, self-overcoming