This philosophical novel by Nietzsche mostly deals with his idea that God is dead. The book tells of the mythical travels and speeches of Zarathustra, a man who has lived alone in a cave for 10 years. He decides to travel and spread the word of his new found love and wisdom, and he also wants to teach humanity about his discovery of the ‘overman’; a man who is free from prejudice and the morality of humanity. Zarathustra has come to the conclusion that humanity is the connection between this overman and the rest of the planets animals, however, when he tells the people of a nearby town, Motley Cow, the majority of people do not seem to understand. This is when Zarathustra decides to concentrate on the people who seem to understand and want to learn about the overman.
The first parts of this novel are mostly speeches by Zarathustra that outline Nietzsche’s philosophy, despite being in allegorical and symbolic forms. Zarathustra is highly critical of mass gatherings, namely, ‘the rabble’; a clear attack on organised religion, and specifically Christianity. This is just one of the many criticisms of Christianity found in the book. Another key point against Christianity are the values of good and evil, and the belief in an afterlife; we have no evidence of this afterlife, so why do we waste our time trying to attain it? This view isn’t really discussed by Zarathustra, but is just taken as truth, there is no afterlife. I think this text is probably the most outspoken about the idea that ‘God is dead’, it does however also reject nationalism and mass politics, two other key ideas of Nietzsche.
I would thoroughly suggest reading this book, it gives an insight into Nietzsche, without the really complicated terminology of other philosophers or historians. It is split into four sections, each with very short chapters which makes it incredibly easy to read. I read most of it in short spurts, reading on or two sections at a time. I think this way of writing philosophy is brilliant as it allows more time for reflection by the reader.