Keywords: Friedrich Nietzsche; Aesthetics; Tragedy; Metaphysics; Appearance.
The paper aims at discussing the relevance that Nietzsche's metaphysical and aesthetical stance in the "Birth of Tragedy" holds for the following developments of the philosopher's thought. From this point of view the analysis of how Nietzsche understands the concept of appearance in relation to Plato and Schopenhauer is of great importance. Thus, it can be argued that - despite Schopenhauer's influence - Nietzsche, in his early masterpiece of 1872, already rejects - on the basis of Kant's criticism - any kind of metaphysical foundation. Moreover, he claims the radically phenomenal character of human experience and knowledge for the understanding of which art becomes paradigmatic.