The Restriction of Being • 165

Let him not become a companion at my hearth,

nor let my knowing share the delusions

of the one who works such deeds.

The following interpretation is necessarily insufficient, if only because it cannot be constructed on the basis of the whole of this tragedy, much less the poet’s entire work. Neither is this the place to report on the choice of readings and the changes that have been made in the text. We will carry out the interpretation in three phases, and each time we will go through the whole ode in a different respect.

In the first phase we will especially stress what provides the inner integrity of the poem and sustains and permeates the whole, even in its linguistic form.

In the second phase we will follow the sequence of the strophes and antistrophes, and pace off the entire domain that the poetry opens up.

In the third phase we will attempt to attain a stance in the [114|157] midst of the whole, in order to assess who the human being is according to this poetic saying.

The first phase. We seek what sustains and permeates the whole. Actually, we hardly have to seek it. It is threefold, it assails us three times, like a repeated assault, and from the start breaks up all everyday standards of questioning and defining.

First is the beginning: πολλὰ τὰ δεινὰ …

Manifold is the uncanny, yet nothing

uncannier than man bestirs itself, rising up beyond him.

These first two verses cast forth what the following ode as a whole will seek to capture in the details of its saying, and which it must fit into the structure of the word. The human being is, in one word, τὸ δεινότατον, the uncanniest.

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