Nietzsche’s Dance With Zarathustra
In 1885 Nietzsche finished writing Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in which he has the prophet proclaim many Nietzschean ideas in parables and epiphets. Constantine Sandis asks why Nietzsche particularly chose Zarathustra.
In M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero film Unbreakable, the fragile-boned Elijah believes that somewhere out there he has an enemy with the exact opposite property, whom he eventually identifies as the ‘unbreakable’ security guard David Dunn. A similar kind of reasoning led Nietzsche to name the protagonist of his religious parody Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-5) after Zoroaster (‘Zarathustra’ is a Westernised version of the name). Nietzsche viewed the Persian prophet as his arch rival: an opponent of similar power and stature, whom he admired but could never fully overcome. In the character of ‘Zarathustra’, Nietzsche attempts to create his own spokesman worthy of Zoroaster’s greatness.