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Review: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche Essay (Critical Writing)

The following is a critical writing on Nietzsche based on his work called Thus spoke Zarathustra. The discussion is a critical approach of the thoughts expressed in his work. It will particularly explore four sections of Nietzsche work namely the prologue, the despisers of body image, self-overcoming and redemption. It looks into how the soul of the last man failed to realize its potential, which is the fully lived life of values and moral excellence. There are ways through which the soul of the last man can overcome the limitations.

The Prologue. In the prologue, Zarathustra starts by acknowledging limitations in men. He discusses his adventure that started at thirty years of age by living a solitary life to explore the meaning of life. Nietzsche argues that the soul of the last man is damned because he is unable to attain the set of the moral ideals set by the law (Nietzsche 121).

Man therefore tries to make meaning out of life like the saint in the forest who lives alone because men are too evil to live with. The saint composes songs and sings them to God all the time. Zarathustra laughs at him because according to him god is dead and the old man is not aware about it.

On the way, he meets dancing ropers who dance on a rope and as they dance, one of the men falls down (Nietzsche 122). The greatest worry that the man had as he died is whether he will go to hell and heaven. Zarathustra affirms that there is no heaven or hell. Man is just like an animal his soul dies together with his body.

His discussion does not appeal to lovers of justice and orthodox and they declare their hatred for him. To humiliate himself he carries the corpse of the dead, which is a humiliating act and takes him to the forest to bury him (Nietzsche 123). On his way back, he had an idea that the solution towards having an essence of human life is becoming a superman (Nietzsche 124).

A superman is someone who does not fear blasphemy or any religious inclination. He is a man who is not virtuous to please the society but does the right thing. The superman is a man who has fully conquered his fears, pride, and body and has mastered them to serve his purposes and create other supermen (Nietzsche 125).

Despisers of the Body. The second part looks into the despisers of the body. The despisers are those who fail to appreciate their bodies and view it as the cause of their misery due to the unwanted longings. According to Nietzsche in his work the body is the Self, it is sagacious. One cannot be a superman or attain perfection without the body (Nietzsche 146).

According to Zarathustra, the soul as well as the spirits is parts of the body and they are not separate entities striving to control each other. The body is like a playfield where the soul and the spirit are the instruments of play and the players (Nietzsche 147). The soul of the last man is unable to have full meaning and value of life as well as things because the last man had despised the body. They have low self-esteem and do not see the self as the master but slaves of forces of nature (Nietzsche 146).

The despisers of the body cannot be supermen. They bruise their ego by allowing outside circumstances control the appreciation of self and their bodies. The last man seeks to annihilate his body in order to attain the moral ideals existing in the society. To overcome this limitation the last men must appreciate their bodies, feelings and ego.

The last man must know that the soul and the spirit are dependent on the body and the body is the sagacious master. Therefore, the despisers of the body will appreciate their bodies and be on their pathway to becoming supermen (Nietzsche 147).

Self-overcoming. Self-overcoming is having the power to surpass and compel oneself to do something. The will is an ingredient of self-overcoming and must be subject to the spirit, which is the mirror and the reflection of self will (Nietzsche 225).

Self-will is the will to power; it is the desire to subject and master the environment. It is determinant of who will be either a slave or the master (Nietzsche 226). The ignorant people do not have self-will because they have surrendered to the forces of nature. They follow the path of least resistance like river stream by avoiding conflict (Nietzsche 227).

The will to power also calls for a surrender life in order to attain the power (Nietzsche 226). The soul of the last man cannot attain fulfillment and sense of life without having self-will. To overcome this limitation of self will one must constantly develop self-will by engaging in tasks that help master the personal confidence. It is mastering ones actions and deciding to do something impulsively without fail. Self-will is the pathway to power and becoming a superman (Nietzsche 226).

In addition, it is the difference between the master and the slaves as well as the follower and the leader. The leader is the person who has attained power by exercising the self-will to the extent of risking his or her life in order to lead. This is because as a leader one is responsible for the actions of the subjects and without self-mastery and self will the responsibility can be overwhelming and dangerous (Nietzsche 227).

Redemption. The fourth part is the aspect and the idea of redemption. It is redeeming what is past to be “what it was” (Nietzsche 248). The concept of redemption is subjecting ones will to the authority.

When discussing about redemption, the author looks into the idea of revenge as a concept of redemption where one incurs penalties of misdeeds in order to restore the soul of the last man. The other idea in this part regards human weakness and deformities. The author asserts that there is no one who is perfect; one is a big ear, a big eye or a big mouth (Nietzsche 249). The author expresses disgust over some people perceived as great men yet they have some weaknesses.

He defines a great man as an individual with little of everything and too much of one thing (Nietzsche 249). The author views revenge as part of human life as it is the only way of restoring the superman through penalties. It is also a way of perpetuating the values and sense of morality among human beings (Nietzsche 249).

The writer is critical of the idea of forgiveness as he views it as an act of submission and a weakness of the last man’s soul (Nietzsche 250). Forgiveness is a limitation of the soul of the last man from becoming a superman. The pain exerted during penalties shapes the superman or the ideal man. Awareness that one’s action will have certain penalties makes the self-will act accordingly (Nietzsche 250).


People must first accept that being human is a journey towards becoming a superman. Being a superman is attaining moral, spiritual and self-mastery, which is power (Nietzsche 122). People cannot attain this power without appreciating their bodies. They must stop despising the bodies and build them to the extent of knowing that they are the supreme rulers of their lives. One must stop seeing the body as a separate entity from the spirit and the soul.

The body incorporates the spirit, the soul and the ego. They all try to dominate and to control the body. Giving the soul dominance means that one attempts to annihilate ones feelings and bodily desires while succumbing to one emotion. In addition, giving the Self over to the ego leads one to pride. To maintain balance one must recognize the essence of the body that it is the Self. It is central and core to existence because the soul, the spirit and the ego cannot thrive out of the body.

To be a superman as well as a leader one must have self-will, which is an intrinsic as well as compelling drive to do something irrespective of one’s feeling or challenges. To develop self-will one must embrace the concept of revenge and the law of repercussion. The actions must be compensated as per the consequences they have brought.

Work Cited

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Portable Nietzsche, Translator Walter Kaufmann. New York: Penguin Books, 1982. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, May 11). Review: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/review-thus-spoke-zarathustra-by-friedrich-nietzsche-critical-writing/

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"Review: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche." IvyPanda, 11 May 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/review-thus-spoke-zarathustra-by-friedrich-nietzsche-critical-writing/.

1. IvyPanda. "Review: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche." May 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/review-thus-spoke-zarathustra-by-friedrich-nietzsche-critical-writing/.


IvyPanda. "Review: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche." May 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/review-thus-spoke-zarathustra-by-friedrich-nietzsche-critical-writing/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Review: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche." May 11, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/review-thus-spoke-zarathustra-by-friedrich-nietzsche-critical-writing/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Review: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche'. 11 May.

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