Anna Karenina as a Nietzschean Superman
Tolstoy wrote Anna Karenina almost fifty years before Nietzsche described his philosophy of the Superman.Readers, however, can easily apply the descriptive framework of Nietzsche's theory of the Superman to Anna in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.Anna displays an overwhelming amount of characteristics that Nietzsche would have expected to see in his Superman.Nietzsche's theory must be applied retrospectively to Tolstoy, so it is certain that Tolstoy was not trying to create a character who fit the mold of a Nietzschean Superman, but it is certain that Nietzsche was no stranger to the writings of Tolstoy, and that unlike Tolstoy, Nietzsche would admire Anna.If one applies the attributes of a superman to Anna, then Tolstoy created a character that one could view as a sort of presuperman, but a Superman nonetheless.The argument of this paper is that, despite Tolstoy's intentions to condemn Anna for her selfishness, readers can find characteristics in Anna that appear as possibl!
e inspirations to Nietzsche in developing his Superman.
Nietzsche uses the character Zarathustra to reveal his definition of a Superman.At the end of his travels, Zarathustra reaches a state where he has renounced current historical values and created his own value system that ignores the influences of others.By creating his own value system, Zarathustra becomes a Superman.According to Nietzsche, only certain higher men had it within themselves to become a Superman, and while transforming themselves into a Superman their life was like a journey.While on this journey, Nietzsche compares man to a rope stretched between man's base animal instincts and the instincts of the Superman.Nietzsche does this in order to depict man's life as a passage and not as an end (Kennedy, 168).If life were an end, when the Superman began living by his own personal morals, then the Superman'…

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