Anyone who forgets you
how to compose
sweet song.(Hymn VII – “Hymn to Dionysos”, HH, 105)
Nietzsche closes section 10 by castigating Euripides, the third major tragic playwright along with Aeschylus and Sophocles. “Wicked Euripides” (BT, 54), Nietzsche charges, has forsaken the Dionysiac spirit of music, which animated earlier tragedy, and in doing so his plays are bereft of the tragic moment, the moment of the artistic transfiguration of suffering. “And because you deserted Dionysos, Apollo, too, has deserted you” (BT, 54), Nietzsche scolds, heralding that the symbiotic genius of the Apolline-Dionysiac balance in tragedy is lost. With Euripides, there is no Apolline glorification of Dionysiac excess and suffering, and there is no longer the Dionysiac rapture to captivate the tragic revellers and satyrs of the City Dionysia. For this reason Nietzsche tells us that Greek tragedy “died by suicide”, but that while it died at Euripides' hands, its death was necessary, and that it died “as the result of an irresolvable conflict, which is to say tragically” (BT, 54).
To understand what this “irresolvable conflict” was, we should determine where Euripidean tragedy differed from its Aeschylean and Sophoclean counterparts. Nietzsche's appraisal of Euripidean tragedy has several branches: he criticizes its Apolline component as conjuring realism to the stage instead of the idealism of the pre-Euripidean hero, affecting both dialogue and action; he argues that the Dionysiac devices of early tragedy are dispensed with in favour of a moral-rational undercurrent, affecting the mood and musical dynamics of the drama; and Nietzsche criticizes the play-wright himself, binding his personality to the stoically scientific Socrates.