Friedrich Nietzsche said “The great end of art is to strike the imagination with the power of a soul that refuses to admit defeat even in the midst of a collapsing world.“
I know what this means to me, but what does this mean to anyone else?
To me (and I don’t care so much if what he says is right or wrong, but it’s an interesting hypothesis) I believe it fits with how a great story draws to an end:
Something cataclysmic has happened. Our protagonist must be changed. Our protagonist remains the same. In that instant, he is both doomed and heroic, no matter how foolish his goal or mindset has appeared up to now.
We all end in doom, but who amongst us has the courage to remain steadfast to the end? Might we crumble in our final moments? Should we not consider the possibility we are wrong? Hedge our bets?
I have no hero, apart from an unrepentant, independently-spirited aunt, who defied everything even to the end. She was outrageously non-conformist and never wavered through weeks and months of the certainty of Death.