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Zorba the Greek Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 May 2017

Zorba the Greek

The novel “Zorba the Greek” by Nikos Kazantzakis is among the most prominent examples of Greek literature, which involves both ancient and modern doctrines of Greek culture, comprised by two main components: and, represented by the narrator and Zorba respectively. Exploring both beliefs, the author suggests that it is impossible to achieve absolute fulfillment without combining the passion of Dionysius and the reason of Apollo until the outlook maturates and allows the person actualize him/herself.

The present paper is intended to discuss the peculiarities of both characters’ spiritual beliefs and their rapprochement up to their confluence in the narrator’s consciousness. First of all, it is important to conceptualize spiritual belief: in my own understanding, spiritual belief is the person’s awareness and identity- first and foremost in the universal context of human psychology, in which the identity answers the simple question: “Who am I? ” and therefore shapes human self-perception and outlook.

In Kazantzakis’s novel, two personalities with diametrically opposing, as it seems at first sight, meet after the narrator inherits a small piece of land on Crete and hires Zorba as a cook and assistant. Both Zorba and the Boss engage into the journey towards the romantic and mesmerizing life, but each of them has distinct purposes for this quest: Zorba keeps seeking new impressions as this lifestyle is usual for him, whereas the narrator is simply tired of his hard mental work.

Zorba tries to turn each moment of time into sensation rather than cognition: “Leave their eyes closed, boss, and let them go on dreaming…unless when they open their eyes you can show them a better world that the darkness in which they are gallivanting at present” (Kazantzakis, 1953, p. 61). Zorba has no fear of looking into the most secreted human dreams and actively interacts with natural world, society and subjects himself to his joy and suffering as interesting and unique adventures, even though the physical response to them is normally unchangeable.

It is even possible to state that Zorba views suffering as a form of delight and thus accepts any risks and adventures as the sources of emotions, regardless of their nature. Thus, Zorba is an incorrigible optimist whose motto is “Live life and enjoy it! ” (Kazantzakis, 1953, p. 53), as it doesn’t really matter whether adversities or happiness have been brought about by the life – one can find positive excitement in both.

On the contrary, the narrator believes delight is a form of suffering and therefore seeks to secure himself behind his books and studies. He has researched human psyche a lot, but appears at first incapable of realizing the value of human existence: “We are little grubs, Zorba, minute grubs on the small leaf of a tremendous tree. The small leaf is the earth. The other leaves are the stars that you see moving at night. We make our way on this little leaf examining it anxiously and carefully.

We smell it; it smells good or bad to us. We taste it and find it eatable. We beat on it and it cries out like a living thing” (Kazantzakis, 1953, p. 194). Human being is simply a tiny or even elementary particle of the Universe, which should be aware of this fact as well as of the shortness and misery of their existence, which passes so rapidly that it is impossible to achieve fulfillment and higher spiritual pleasure.

I suspect, the narrator might even regard non-being as much more preferable than the existence and inevitable involvement into the routines, bred by social ambience. For me, the narrator is a typical product of excessive socialization, bonded by responsibilities, restrictions and taboos, thus with respect to all mentioned above, he can also be defined as negativist, who, however, gradually develops his ability to notice and value the traces the exciting experiences has left in his soul – emotions and warm remembrances.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 19 May 2017

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