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Ecce Homo or Ecce Animal

By June 11, 2021No Comments

Ecce Homo is a latin phrase which means: Behold the man- from the words of Pontius Pilate when he presented Jesus, crowned with thorns, to the crowd before his crucifixion.

Also, Ecce Homo is the last prose work that Nietzsche wrote. It is true that the pamphlet Nietzsche contra Wagner was prepared a month later than the Autobiography; but we cannot consider this pamphlet as anything more than a compilation, seeing that it consists entirely of aphorisms drawn from such previous works as Joyful Wisdom, Beyond Good and Evil, The Genealogy of Morals, etc. Coming at the end of a year in which he had produced the Case of Wagner, The Twilight of the Idols, and The Antichrist, Ecce Homo is not only a coping-stone worthy of the wonderful creations of that year, but also a fitting conclusion to his whole life, in the form of a grand summing up of his character as a man, his purpose as a reformer, and his achievement as a thinker. As if half conscious of his approaching spiritual end, Nietzsche here bids his friends farewell, just in the manner in which, in the Twilight of the Idols (Aph. 36, Part ix.), he declares that every one should be able to take leave of his circle of relatives and intimates when his time seems to have come—that is to say, while he is still himself while he still knows what he is about, and is able to measure his own life and life in general, and speak of both in a manner which is not vouchsafed to the groaning invalid, to the man lying on his back, decrepit and[Pg viii] exhausted, or to the moribund victim of some wasting disease. Nietzsche’s spiritual death, like his whole life, was in singular harmony with his doctrine: he died suddenly and proudly,—sword in hand. War, which he—and he alone among all the philosophers of Christendom—had praised so whole-heartedly, at last struck him down in the full vigour of his manhood, and left him a victim on the battlefield—the terrible battlefield of thought, on which there is no quarter, and for which no Geneva Convention has yet been established or even thought of.