A people which takes as its point of departure the absolute validity of the political instincts will just as necessarily end up following a path of extreme secularization, whose greatest but also most terrifying expression is the Roman imperium. Situated between India and Rome and forced to make a seductive choice, the Greeks managed to invent with classical purity an additional third form, admittedly not one they used personally for long, but for that very reason they achieved immortality. For that the favorites of the gods die young holds true in all things, but it is just as certain that they then enjoy eternal life with the gods. One should not ask of the noblest thing of all that it have the toughness and durability of leather; stout perseverance, as is typical for example of the Roman national drive, is in all probability not one of the necessary predicates of perfection. But when we ask which remedy enabled the Greeks in their period of greatness, at the time of the extraordinary strength of their Dionysian and political drives, to avoid exhausting themselves either in ecstatic brooding or in a consuming pursuit of global power and prestige, and to achieve rather that glorious mixture resembling a noble wine, which both inflames and induces contemplation on the part of the drinker, then we must remember the tremendous power of tragedy which stimulates, purifies, and discharges the whole life of the people; whose highest value we only sense when it draws near us, as in the case of the Greeks, as the epitome of all prophylactic healing powers, as the mediator which holds sway over the strongest and in themselves most disastrous characteristics of the people. (The Birth of Tragedy, trans., Douglas Smith)
I feel myself compelled to the metaphysical assumption that the truly existent primal unity, eternally suffering and contradictory, also needs the rapturous vision, the pleasurable illusion, for its continuous redemption. (The Birth of Tragedy, trans. Walter Kaufmann)
A struggle, more or less unconscious, between the creator and the interpreter is almost inevitable. The interest of a performer is almost certain to be centered in himself: a very slight acquaintance with actors and musicians will testify. The performer is interested not in form but in opportunities for virtuosity or in the communication of his “‘personality’”; the formlessness, the lack of intellectual clarity and distinction in modern music, the great physical stamina and physical training which it often requires, are perhaps signs of the triumph of the performer. The consummation of the triumph of the actor over the play is perhaps the productions of the Guitry.