Meaning of APOLLONIAN AND DIONYSIAN PERSONALITIES

Meaning of APOLLONIAN AND DIONYSIAN PERSONALITIES:

Nietzsche put forward Apollonian and Dionysian as two opposing natures that typify the festivals of Greek gods, Apollo and Dionysus. While Apollo stood for harmony, tranquility and intellect, Dionysus for elation, fervour and inspiration. In his book, The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music (1872), Nietzsche reiterated that Greek tragedy demonstrated a meeting of the two spirits. Borrowing these terms from Nietzsche, Ruth Benedict related cultures to their personality types. According to her, since cultures are unique, it is possible to characterise them according to their ethos and basic personality features. She defined the personality type of Indians of Great Plains such as Sioux, Crow, Dakota, and Blackfoot as Dionysian, that is, an impulsive, violent, outgoing, self assertive, and spontaneous personality. On the other hand, she characterised the personality of Pueblo Indians of the south-west culture area including Zuni as Apollonian, that is, serene, poised, sober, and restrained. Explaining this phenomenon, Benedict emphasised on the frenzy and ecstasy that Dakota men displayed in their dances while Zuni were calm and gracious even during ceremonial dances. There has been criticism of this view. It has been said that even in the most primitive and simple cultures, there cannot be distinct psychological types. This is clearly an oversimplification.