To compare or contrast Nietzsche and Kafka is really a complex job because two philosophers are considered as the finest of their era. They have been able to present ideas and thoughts which have profound impact on the subject of philosophy and its underlying quest to get answers to most fundamental questions related to our existence.
Kafka was one of the finest writers of fiction in Western Europe and is considered as a major influence for generations to come. Most of his work was published posthumously however; it carries a lot of interest in religion specially for Judaism which is basically absent from the works of Nietzsche.
Nietzsche claimed that God is dead and was a strong opponent to the role of religion within an individual’s life however, Kafka was little softer on this issue. It is also important to note that the influence of Nietzsche is much larger than that of the Kafka because the way he presented his ideas on religion, morality as well as culture has much deeper consequences much beyond the subject of philosophy only.
If we compare the literary styles of the two writers, we will come to know that Kafka tend to adopt a unique way of writing which is not found in the work of other writers including Nietzsche. He wrote long sentences, sometimes for a page also and as such truly reflected the uniqueness of German language and its literary superiority. Nietzsche on the other hand however adapted a more unique style and maintained his independence not only in his writing style but also the way he presented his arguments in his famous work. The proclamation that the God is dead is something which not even contemporary writers of this time can dare to write on however, Nietzsche was successfully in that. As opposed to Kafka, who even tries to learn Hebrew and once wanted to live in Palestine, Nietzsche was an independent person who considered religion as an unnecessary thing in the lives of individuals and as such strongly believed that religion was not something which shall be part of the individual’s life. It was also because of this reason that he later recognized that most of his work remain unpublished because of his strong anti-semantic views.
It is often also argued that Kafka’s work was not that much controversial except his Novel Trial which received certain degree of criticism because of his imaginary thinking of how the future concentration camps as well as forced arrests and tortures can be sponsored by the government agencies? His themes in Trial were more or less followed in Orwell’s novel of 1984 which also attempted to provide the same picture however in entirely different settings. On the other hand, Nietzsche was lot more controversial and largely remained unheard of until 1888 when genuine academic effort was undertaken to study his work and its influence over the philosophy and other fields of academic knowledge. (Wolff).
Overall the work of Kafka was critically assessed as the work on the subjects like modernism and magical realism however; on the other hand, the work of Nietzsche was largely focused on religion, morality as well as perspectivism. The basic orientation of both the philosophers is therefore largely different and the focus of their writings was also divergent in nature too.
1. Soccio, Douglas J. Philosophy in Context: A Historical Introduction. London: Wadsworth Publishing Co, 2006.
2. Wolff, Robert Paul. Ten Great Works of Philosophy. London: Signet Classic, 2002.
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