Date of Award
Director of Thesis
Dr. Anne Pollok
Dr. John Ceballes
There are few faces or names in the field of philosophy more recognizable than Friedrich Nietzsche’s. His cartoonish, bushy mustache and stern, unwelcoming brow appear in posters on the walls of angsty teens, in the street art and murals of trendy and upcoming urban neighborhoods, and even in the punishingly glossy pages of every high school history textbook. More recognizable still are his ideas, which have found their way into the ears or eyes of just about everyone in the Western world, whether they know it or not. His concept of the Übermensch, or his notion that God is dead, and that we killed him have grown to practically be caricatures of philosophical thought. Yet for all of the appearances Nietzsche makes in the collective consciousness of Western world, he remains horribly misunderstood and constantly misrepresented, especially in film and television. The consistent inaccurate portrayals of Nietzsche and his ideas stem from several important factors, some intentional and some unintentional. The modern misconception of Nietzsche’s ideas boils down to attempts to encapsulate his dense, written ideas in dialogue, misunderstandings of his ideas based on historical factors, and in some cases an oversimplification of his persona and body of work.
Willicut, Jeffrey, "Conceptions of Nietzsche in Popular Film and Television" (2018). Senior Theses. 248.