Author: Friedrich Nietzsche
The Birth of Tragedy itself is structured around an explanation of the rise of literature in Greek culture. The artistic impulse first manifests itself with the invention of the pantheon of Olympic gods, then with the parallel creations of the Apollonian epic and Dionysian lyric verse. These two forms are later united in Greek tragedy, which represents the acme of human thought and expression. This high point, Nietzsche argues, is followed by a decline from the time of Euripides to Socrates. Nietzsche then argues for the primacy of the arts over philosophy as the means for understanding human existence, and he closes with a foreshadowing of the possible rebirth of tragedy in his own contemporary German culture.