"Man Is A Rope Stretched Between The Animal And The Superman"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In the "Prologue" to Thus Spake Zarathustra, Nietzsche gives his interpretation of the life of Zarathustra, or Zoroaster, as a young man. At the age of thirty Zarathustra goes into the mountains where he lives for ten years, learning all he can. At the end of that time, having made up his mind to teach to mankind what he has learned, he descends into the village. There everyone has gathered at the market-place to see a rope-dancer perform. Zarathustra begins teaching the people about the Superman who will surpass man. He delivers a sermon, attempting to show that adoring the soul to the detriment of the body will keep man in a servile state. He cries out against self-satisfaction and says:

Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that lightning, he is that frenzy!–
When Zarathustra had thus spoken, one of the people called out: "We have now heard enough of the rope-dancer; it is time now for us to see him!" And all the people laughed at Zarathustra. But the rope-dancer, who thought the words applied to him, began his performance.
IV
Zarathustra, however, looked at the people and wondered. Then he spake thus:
Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman–a rope over an abyss.