Matthew Homan

Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Gary Shapiro


Creative Redemption and Complete Affirmation in Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra Any reader engaged with Nietzsche's thought, as we are (or about to be), must consider his or her life in relation to one thought, Nietzsche's most abysmal thought, the greatest weight:

This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence - even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust! (GS aphorism 341)

Affirmation, to state it simply, is Yes-saying. The affirmation taught by Nietzsche, however, is far from simple. Nietzsche's affirmation is as total as the greatest weight is great, by definition, as we shall see. To define total, utter affirmation, the affirmation for which Nietzsche strives, we must be more specific and take into account, specifically, this most abysmal thought: the eternal recurrence. Something can be utterly affirmed in life only in relation to the eternal recurrence; only by affirming this thought, will we be able to completely affirm our respective lives; this means that only if we are able to affirm the past, the present, the future, and the eternal repetition of this cycle, will we be utterly affirming life, as Nietzsche would have us affirm it.

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