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Friedrich Nietzsche Literature

Zarathustra’s prologue, 7



Meanwhile evening came and the market place hid in darkness. The people scattered, for even curiosity and terror grow weary. But Zarathustra sat beside the dead man on the ground and was lost in thought, such that he lost track of time. Night came at last and a cold wind blew over the lonely one. Then Zarathustra stood up and said to his heart:

“Indeed, a nice catch of fish Zarathustra has today! No human being did he catch[1], but a corpse instead.

Uncanny is human existence and still without meaning: a jester can spell its doom.

I want to teach humans the meaning of their being, which is the Overman, the lightning from the dark cloud ‘human being.’

But I am still far away from them, and I do not make sense to their senses. For mankind I am still a midpoint between a fool and a corpse.

The night is dark, the ways of Zarathustra are dark.[2] Come, my cold and stiff companion! I shall carry you where I will bury you with my own hands.”



The above German-English translation by Adrian del Caro is taken from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Cambridge University Press, 2006). This Cambridge edition lacks the more detailed notes by Andrés Sánchez-Pascual in Así Habló Zaratustra (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2014), translated below.


[1] The term “fisher of men” is evangelical. See the Gospel of Matthew, 4, 19, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Jesus to Peter and Andrew). See also, in the fourth part, “The Honey Sacrifice.”

[2] Slightly modified version of Proverbs 4:19: “Dark is the way of the atheist” (Luther’s translation). Luther used the term gottlos (literally godless), an expression that will become a constant epithet of Zarathustra. But there are the “good and righteous”; see, in the third part, “On Virtue that Makes Small.” Then Zarathustra will appropriate with pride that label. The good and righteous are also the ones who call Zarathustra “the annihilator of morals”; see later, “On the Adder’s Bite.”

One reply on “Zarathustra’s prologue, 7”

“A nice catch of fish Zarathustra has today! No human being did he catch, but a corpse instead!” looks like me trying to convey Nietzsche’s message to a dead race.

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