Steve Bein, Ph.D.
For this project, the main question I set out to answer was is the DC Comics character Superman an accurate representation of Nietzsche’s Super-man theory? In his work Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which was published in four volumes throughout the 1880s, Nietzsche explored the idea of a moral exemplar who would rise above other moral theories and create a new, superior set of morals for all humans. Nietzsche titled this moral exemplar the Übermensch, or Super-man. Beyond the name relation, it felt appropriate to analyze Superman’s ethics because Superman is a popular public figure that is often seen as a force of good with a strong moral compass, a seemingly perfect candidate to rise above humans and lead them to better morals as Nietzsche’s moral exemplar does. I argue that while Superman does meet some of Nietzsche’s criteria for the moral exemplar, he does not meet all of them such as the requirement to develop a new moral system.
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Newman, Mary K., "The Theory Behind the Cape: Research behind Nietzsche’s Super-Man Theory in Concert with DC’s Superman Origins and Evolution" (2023). Honors Theses. 411.
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