Site Map



The chapter “On Poets” in Thus Spoke Zarathustra reveals much about Nietzsche’s ideas on language and poetry. While being critical of poetry, poets and the abuse of language, Nietzsche fashioned himself to be a poet of a specific kind, the term ‘poet’ understood both in a limited and a broad sense. This critique of Nietzsche’s runs like a current from his early essay, “Truth and Lies in a Non-moral Sense,” and The Birth of Tragedy to his later reflections on language as in On the Genealogy of Morals and Beyond Good and Evil. This essay will focus on the themes of the aforementioned chapter of Zarathustra: what lie means in a poetic context, the function and make-up of poetry and poets, and the affects poetry creates on its audience; the last one has to do with the question of spectacle and spectacular forces. While showing the connection of this chapter to Nietzsche’s other works, the essay attempts to bring out his unique conception of poesy in which all things come together such as music, poetic techniques, and a specific kind of wisdom at the level of language’s re-creation in myth and metaphor.

Zarathustra too is a poet; he too is a liar, but a different kind of a liar. He is not a fabricator of dishonest lies such as the lie of an after-life; he is not a maker of ideals because for him permanence is a parable and a lie of the poets. He has come to know the body better, he has plunged into the bottom of thinking to bring depth into his poetry, and he does not dress like a peacock to attract buffaloes. In the first part of the paradox of the lying poets Zarathustra showed that all poets lie and how they lie; in the second part he presented himself as a different kind of a poet; and finally in the last part he exposed how poets, out of vanity, seek spectators indiscriminately to place themselves at the center of all attention. Zarathustra, himself a poet but of a different kind, a poet who has seen through the vanity of the poet, sees the rise of new poetry out of the ashes of the old poets...

to continue reading, download entire essay as Adobe PDF format ...

Support Us

Please consider donating! The NC is a not-for-profit organization. As an independent organization that receives no assistance from any institution, the NC relies on your magnanimity to sustain itself. Please help support the activities of the NC with a donation Donations of any kind, whether of money, services, equipment, or in-kind gifts, are all of great necessity and deeply appreciated.


To receive site updates, news, and announcement from NC via email. To do so, you simply need to provide your email address below.