In the Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche depicts Socrates as the initiator of a new human type: the shallowly optimistic rationalist, constitutionally incapable of seeing “into the dionysian abyss of delight” of tragedy. This is a brilliant travesty. Plato’s Socrates is, indeed, an ontological optimist, who thinks that Being is both knowable and good. He is also a staunch antitragedian, who sees in tragic poetry a third-hand imitation of genuine Being and an incitement to unhealthy, even sadistic, emotionalism. The true Socrates is anti-dionysian from a passionate love of wisdom.