The artist as sacrificial in Schopenhauer's philosophy
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis examines a potential tension between Schopenhauer’s portrayal of art as a palliative measure undertaken in response to a fundamentally and necessarily painful existence, and the implicit image he sketches of the artist as suffering in order to precipitate this palliative measure. I begin by outlining Schopenhauer’s larger philosophical project in order to contextualize subsequent discussions of his aesthetics. Having laid this expository groundwork, I proceed to explore the concept of sacrifice as Schopenhauer was likely to have understood and utilized it, drawing on both textual evidence (primarily from The World as Will and Representation) and contextual evidence (given the religious, cultural, and intellectual climate at the time of its writing). This strategy of twofold exploration — that is, both textual and contextual — is deployed again in the third portion of this thesis, clarifying the role of “the artist” qua artist for Romantic Era Germans more broadly and for Schopenhauer more narrowly. In the final section, I utilize these earlier explorations to show that the artist is indeed a sacrificial figure in Schopenhauer’s work. Regardless of the fact that Schopenhauer does not confirm the artist-as-sacrificial paradigm explicitly, the claim can be made that he does — and indeed, must — tacitly accept it.