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NIETZSCHEAN READING OF TOM MURPHY’S PLAY: “THE SANCTUARY LAMP” AND OVERCOMING NIHILISM

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Author(s): VICTORIA BILGE YILMAZ

Journal: Agathos : an International Review of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 2069-1025

Volume: III;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 59;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Nietzsche | nihilism | will to power | Irish drama | Tom Murphy

ABSTRACT
This article is an analysis of a play by Tom Murphy, “The Sanctuary Lamp”, against the background of Nietzschean philosophical concept of overcoming nihilism as well as an attempt at discovering the parallelisms between Murphy’s characters in their search for the essence of existence and their desire for a meaningful life and Nietzschean philosophy. In the play, self-realisation of an individual, that is, overcoming nihilism, is mainly achieved by means of one’s individual strength, which is characterised by the ability to combine destruction and creation, employ one’s will to power, create new values, affirm life as it is, forget and forgive one’s enemies, and employ art in life. The playwright conveys an individual’s loss of purpose and the inevitable chaos in the aftermath of the death of God and the methods to surmount this nihilistic condition. The study comes to the conclusion that all the above Nietzschean elements build a solid background for Murphy’s drama, where the dramatist draws a picture of systematicity of existence of an individual who struggles to attain meaning.
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