Elsa, Nietzsche and Superman
Parents worn down by their daughters’ incessant singing of “Let it go, let it go” from the Disney movie Frozen might be more upset if they actually paid attention to lyrics from the song:
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
Let it go, let it go
The message for little girls seems to echo the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, whose works included Beyond Good and Evil. The German philosopher argued that the creative powers of the individual should not be stifled by social, cultural, and moral boundaries.
Admittedly, the theme of the movie seems to be that love can fix anything but the actual lyrics sung by Elsa promote the empowering amorality advocated by Nietzsche, who many say inspired the Nazis.
Nietzsche’s concept of an “overman” or “superman” who transcends “herd” morality influenced comic book artists Joe Schuster and Jerry Siegel, who created a Superman who embodied a rejection of Neitzschean values. Their Superman maintains an ice Fortress of Solitude. In Frozen, Elsa, frightened by her superpower to freeze things, flees to the wilderness, where she builds herself an ice palace.
Elsa’s proclamation of “no right, no wrong” and her ice castle may be instances of synchronicity with Nietzsche and Superman, but they may also have been deliberate references inserted by the film creators.
Image Frozen © Walt Disney Pictures, fair use