Points for a comparison essay between Apollo and Dionysus?
April 26, 2006 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Points for a comparison essay between Apollo and Dionysus?

I have a classics exam coming, and I've had some trouble finding points comparing Apollo and Dionysus. Are there any resources around that summarize the arguments on this topic?
posted by northernsoul to Religion & Philosophy (6 answers total)
Nietzsche first identified the opposition between the Apollonian and the Dionysian as quintessential to classical Greek thought. Apollo: order, harmony, individualism, rational. Dionysus: disorder, rampant group experience, irrational. But, as Nietzsche understood, this opposition is a way of describing a totality, a way of defining the opposites -- opposites which exist together, uneasily, but together nonetheless -- in the Greek culture and person. On writing about it.
posted by ND¢ at 10:52 AM on April 26, 2006

Could be an interesting toss-in ... Stephen King in Danse Macabre talked specifically about this distinction as being the essense of horror writing -- the Apollonian world (e.g. the bucolic small town) is attacked by the Dionysian force (e.g. a vampire, a werewolf, etc).
posted by frogan at 10:57 AM on April 26, 2006

If you do a google search using "apollo vs dionysus" and "dionysus vs apollo" you'll find a lot of writing on the subject. Most of it covers the same points. I'm a little surprised that all this wasn't discussed to death in your classes and readings.
posted by wryly at 12:12 PM on April 26, 2006

Second NDc's recommendation of Nietzsche. "Birth of Tragedy" is probably the most thorough discussion. I wouldn't necessarily want to read it between now and exams, but maybe you can pick a decent 20-30 page excerpt.
posted by rkent at 3:05 PM on April 26, 2006

Beatles vs Stones. That's what it comes down to. Give me the Stones any day.
posted by TheRaven at 3:39 PM on April 26, 2006

Ha, this won't do as "research" but could serve as a good hook to hang your paper on: the Rush album Hemispheres is about exactly this dichotomy (lyrics). The hemispheres of the title are the two sides of the brain (left = rational, right = artistic).
posted by zanni at 2:09 AM on April 27, 2006

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