Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Cecil L. Eubanks


This dissertation explores Nietzsche's political theory through an analysis of his major work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. It is demonstrated that the narrative structure of Zarathustra follows from a politically-grounded critique of collective human existence. Nietzsche critiques the state and mass society as inherently repressive. He critiques the concept of the community and friendship as producing ressentiment and bad conscience. One of the central metaphors in Zarathustra proves to be that of nausea, arising from contempt for the mediocre masses of humanity and the realization of the chaotic and contingent nature of existence. Through nausea, the individual necessarily becomes separated from the masses and is able to begin the process of constructing an individually-actuated selfhood. Nietzsche then discusses the possibility of self-creation, spurred by the confrontation with individual finitude. This project of self-overcoming proceeds thorough an aesthetic ethics of resistance to repression and acts of protean creation. Nietzsche's theory of transmuted selfhood is one that embraces multiplicity and contradiction within the consciousness. It is ultimately shown that the model of selfhood presented in Zarathustra depends upon resistance and solitude, thus precluding the possibility of constructive political theory in the traditional statist sense. Rather, Nietzsche's relevance for politics is the imperative to seek new permutations of personal existence.