Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), subtitled A Book for Free Spirits (Ein Buch für freie Geister).

First published in 1878.   A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

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OLD DOUBTS ABOUT THE EFFECT OF ART.  Are pity and fear really discharged through tragedy, as Aristotle claims, so that the spectator goes home cooler and quieter?  Do ghost stories make us less fearful and superstitious?  It is true that in certain physical processes-—the act of love, for example-—the gratification of a need brings with it an alleviation and temporary abatement of the drive.  But fear and pity are not the requirements of particular organs in this sense; they do not need to be relieved.  And, in the long run, a drive is actually strengthened by gratifying it, despite periodic alleviations.  It might be that pity and fear are assuaged and discharged by tragedy in each individual case; nevertheless they might even increase as a whole, due to the tragic effect, and Plato would be right, after all, when he claims that tragedy makes us on the whole more anxious and sentimental.  The tragic poet himself would, of necessity, acquire a gloomy, fearful world view and a weak, susceptible, lachrymose soul; it would agree with Plato's view if tragic poets, and likewise the whole community which took delight in them especially, were to degenerate to ever greater extravagance and licentiousness.  But what right does our age have to give an answer to Plato's great question about the moral influence of art?  Even if we had the art—where do we see the influence, any influence of art?  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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