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Literature: Also Sprach Zarathustra
"And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh."

Also Sprach Zarathustra ("Thus Spoke Zarathustra") is the Magnum Opus of Friedrich Nietzsche. It's known to be one of the most important philosophical works from the 19th century and the foundation for Existentialism. (Nietzsche never used this term, but existentialists like to claim him as one of their own.) It was originally written in German in 1883-5, and was highly controversial from the beginning. It opposed Christianity, Good and Evil, and the purpose of humans and what they are ought to do when they exist.

One might be forgiven for not realising it's also a novel. Although the book uses an almost-but-not-quite Author Avatar to explain Nietzsche's thoughts, there is actually a plot and a narrative. The book starts with a hermit philosopher called Zarathustra - like the founder of Zoroastrianism - who leaves the wilderness to tell the people of the Übermensch and the Death of God. This message doesn't go down so well and Zarathustra decides to play it a little more tactical, forming a small group of followers around him. Ultimately, he left them to return to the mountain, where he finally meets the first breed of Übermenschen.

Also Sprach Zarathustra named the following tropes:


  • All of the Other Reindeer: The people laugh and insult Zarathustra for his revelation and wisdom.
  • Appease the Volcano God: Subverted, as Zarathustra goes to the volcano, has a chat with him and leaves.
  • Be Yourself/Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: A major theme in his philosophy and this book.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Some parts of the book feature no background, setting or even other characters than Zarathustra.
  • Determinator: Convinced of the rise of the Übermensch, Zarathustra does not give in.
  • Excuse Plot
  • Hermit Guru: Zarathustra
  • Individuality Is Illegal: Criticised by Zarathustra, because Übermenschen should not bow to such villain morality.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Nietzsche is often described as the Darker and Edgier philosopher.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Zarathustra does not think very highly of his fellow humans.
  • The State: The State is the biggest monster of all monsters. It speaks cold lies that crawl out of his mouth. The state lies in all spoken languages, and whatever he possesses, he stole it. The state bites with stolen teeth.
  • Take That: In the first part.
    They meet an invalid, or an old man, or a corpse—and immediately they say: "Life is refuted!"
    But they are only refuted, and their eye, which seeth only one aspect of existence.
    Clearly, he's talking about prince Siddharta, who (after meeting an invalid, an old man and a corpse) gave up his family and his kingdom to go to the wilderness and become Buddha.
  • What Is Evil?: An important topic of the story.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Zarathustra meditates deeply at midnight on man, sleep, awakening, the world, woe, pleasure and eternity, all between the first and twelfth strokes.

All Quiet on the Western FrontGerman LiteratureThe Alchemaster's Apprentice
The Brothers GrimmUsefulNotes/GermanyDoctor Faustus

alternative title(s): Thus Spake Zarathustra
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