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The Last Temptation of Zarathustra DAVID E. CARTWRIGHT Is not pity the cross on which he is nailed who loves man? But my pity is no crucifixion. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, I, t~6/lo. 1 PITY (MZTZZXD) WAS Zarathustra's last sin (letzte Siinde). The final part of Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra shows that Zarathustra overcame this insidious passion and its attendant attitudes like he overcame his nausea at the i would like to thank the reviewers of this article for their insightful remarks, suggestions, and criticisms. References to Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra will be to the part and page numbers of Walter Kaufmann's translation in The Portable Nietzsche (New York: The Viking Press, 1972), to3439 . The second set of Arabic numerals refers to the corresponding page numbers of Also Sprach Zarathustra in Nietzsches Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe (KGW), edited by Giorgio Colli und Mazzino Montinari, 3~ vois. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1967-78). Zarathustra appears in KGW VI 1. References to Nietzsche's other books will use the following acronyms and the Arabic numerals will refer to section numbers: BT = The Birth of Tragedy, trans. Walter Kaufmann, with The Case of Wagner (New York: Vintage, 1967). HAH = Human, All Too Human, trans. R. J. Hollingdale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). D = Daybreak, trans. R.J. Hollingdale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 198a ). GS -- The Gay Science, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage, 1974). BGE = Beyond Good and Ev//, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage, 1966). GM = On the Genealogy ofMorals, trans. Kaufmann and Hollingdale, with Eeee Homo (New York: Vintage, 1968). Roman numerals refer to the essays. T = Twilight of the Idols, trans. Walter Kaufmann, in The Portable Nietzsche. A = The Antichrist, trans. Walter Kaufmann, in The Portable Nietzsche. Roman numerals result from numbering the essays in Kaufmann's table of contents, pp. 464-65. EH = Eece Homo, see GM above. I will employ Kaufmann's abbreviations, p. g57, to refer to sections in specific essays/chapters. All references to Nietzsche's German will be to KGW. I shall generally follow the English translations mentioned above. [49] 50 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 31:1 JANUARY 1993 prospects of the eternal recurrence of the small human and the spirit of revenge. His mastery of this feeling is no mean accomplishment, since pity teaches that life is suffering. Thus pity is called "the deepest abyss" (Z III, 269/ 195). The magnitude of Zarathustra's mastery is amplified, moreover, when we recall that pity is even a God-killer. We are told: "When Gods die, they always die several kinds of death" (Z IV, 373/320). God suffered a twofold death due to pity. The old pope tells Zarathustra that "one day he choked on his all-too-great pity" (Z IV, 373/320), thereby answering in the affirmative Zarathustra's question concerning his strangulation. Here the etiology of God's demise is due to the inherent pathology of pity. Pity is a pill too bitter for even a God to swallow, so it lodges in his throat and chokes him to death. The ugliest man soon follows the old pope and confesses to Zarathustra that he slew God: "His pity knew no shame .... This most curious, overobtrusive, overpitying one had to die.... Man cannot bear that such a witness should live" (Z IV, 379/327). So if God choked to death, it was due to the ugliest man's strangling him. Here God's pity provoked the ugliest man's revenge against the witness. It is significant, then, that Zarathustra actually commits his last sin, survives, and is transformed to speak thusly: "Well then, that [pity] has had its time! My suffering and my pitying for suffering--what does it matter? Am I concerned with happiness [G/f/cke]? I am concerned with my work"(Z IV, 439/ 4o4)." Zarathustra's confrontation with his pity for the higher man is one of the central themes, if not the motif, of Part IV. Its centrality is suggested both by Nietzsche's use of the quote from the infamous "On the Pitying" section from Part II which prefaces Part IV, and Zarathustra's closing monologue, which announces that its transcendence...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 49-69
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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