In the story, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, Friedrich develops a controversial character by the name Zarathustra. The character introduces his ideologies to members of his community upon returning from self-imposed exile in the wilderness. The concepts presented in the story reflect Friedrich’s personal beliefs and revolutionary ideas, especially on the ability to differentiate between good and evil.
In the story, Zarathustra takes the role of a reformed and enlightened philosopher, who after having stayed in the wilderness for ten years, gains knowledge about morality, ethics and best practices recommended for all people. The paper makes an analysis of Zarathustra’s claims and ideologies, their implications towards conventional religions, and controversies surrounding his moral definitions.
One of the significant elements asserted by Zarathustra is ‘overman’, a perfect state of being, which lies past the state of man. In his analysis, Zarathustra claims that man lies between the ‘overman’ and the animal state, but the ‘overman’ state is only achieved through desisting from all evil practices.
In his advocacy for the ‘overman’, Zarathustra makes it clear that God is already dead and the only state within which humans should aspire to achieve is the ‘overman’. His claim that God is dead does not make him an atheist per se. In fact, he makes it clear that it is the lurking atheism, mediocrity and democracy in the world that he fears. Through his analysis of infinite time that holds finite matter, he fears the eternal recurrence, which he attributes to decadence in morality.
Zarathustra is very specific about the contribution of religion to mediocrity, meekness and weak virtues. According to his newfound belief, religion promotes ideas that are not consistent with life, since it emphasizes on the existence of spirits and afterlife.
Zarathustra claims that moral uprightness must be consistent with life dimensions and support the values and virtues within the understanding of man. Issues that go contrary to common life dimensions hinder humans from becoming an ‘overman’, a process that takes places in three stages.
One of the first stages towards achieving the ‘overman’ state requires total and harsh self-discipline, coupled by renouncing of all forms of comfort like a camel does. Through self-discipline, humans generate resilience to differentiate between good and evil.
The second stage requires humanity to declare their freedom boldly as the lion does, in order to enter the last stage of creativity and innocence of a child. Having successfully passed these three stages, Zarathustra claims that humans become ‘overmen’, with freedom and authority to set up personal values and live a perfect life.
Zarathustra argues against religion, and in one instance, he cites three issues, which are highly condemned in most religions and especially Christianity, his most referenced religion. In his analysis of morally justified issues, Zarathustra cites sex, power and selfishness, and gives controversial statements in support of his controversial selection.
Based on his newfound doctrine, Zarathustra claims that these three issues provide humanity with unconditioned satisfaction. It is within these three issues that humans generate the will to live, to co-exist with each other, and to evaluate their personal success.
The story brings about a revolutionary approach to life by provoking social and moral limits of achieving personal goals. By using Zarathustra’s statements, Friedrich brings into focus the implication of beliefs and practices in realizing a satisfactory life. Although the author seems to satirically, refer to and match Zarathustra with Christianity excerpts, like Jesus in the wilderness for forty days, and the last supper, he seems troubled by the lurking spiritless eternal recurrence.