chapter  4
7 Pages

The Übermensch as a union of opposites

Nietzsche does not explain in detail what he means by the Übermensch. This scarcity of explanation, and wanton vagueness, has led to multiple interpretations of what he might have had in mind, some of which are fanciful and even absurd.1

It is therefore essential that any attempt at an explanation be kept in check and correspond appropriately to such meagre and piecemeal textual evidence as there is. The fragments that Nietzsche provides imply a submerged richness of thought, but we are denied any further insight into this thought, which is frustrating. Keith May takes the sense of frustration further by maintaining that Nietzsche himself does not know what the Übermensch means (May, 1990, pp. 167-168). Kurt Rudolph Fischer, however, claims that this frustration and lack of definition are necessary aspects of the Übermensch, for ‘it is part of the determination of the “Übermensch” not to be determined’ (cited in Aschheim, 1992, p. 8).