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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Fictitious Story About Zorba the Greek

What history tells us about Zorba the Greek is he was a fictional character out of the mind of prolific Cretan author Nikos Kazantzakis; loved music, women, and dance; was boisterous and often unkempt; and exhibited an infectious affinity for life.

Kazantzakis’ 1946 novel, originally written in Greek, was made into a highly successful film in 1964 with the same title. The movie starred Anthony Quinn in the title role, and Alan Bates as the story’s narrator, a young Englishman named Basil.

Many philosophers contend Kazantzakis purposely embodied the personages of the Greek gods Dionysus and Apollo in the two main characters. Dionysus, impetuous and passionate, unreflective and irrational, is said to be embodied in the character of Zorba, played by Quinn. Basil, in contrast, portrayed the rational, reflective, passive, restrained personality emblematic of Apollo.

Facts and observations about the novel and movie Zorba the Greek:

* Kazantzakis (1885-1957) wrote essays, poems, tragedies, travel books, and translations of classics such as Dante’s ‘The Divine Comedy,’ yet didn’t publish his first novel until age 51

* Although born on Crete and a resident of Greece during World War II, much of Kazantzakis’ life, other than the setting for many of his literary works, was spent abroad

* Zorba the Greek begins in Pireaus, where the bookworm Basil first meets Zorba and encourages Zorba to join him on a mining venture in Crete

* Zorba teaches Basil to regain the physical world, even having a role in Basil’s love relationship with a widow

* The mine venture fails, so Zorba talks Basil into investing the remaining bulk of his money in a timber sluice project that proves disastrous

* By now, Basil has caught the carefree spirit of Zorba and doesn’t care about the lost money

What one learns about Zorba the Greek is how much a strong, ebullient man can influence the life of an individual lacking in personal conviction and strength, yet who is willing to adjust and learn a new lifestyle.

By Rocky Wilson
Author Of Sharene - Death: A Prerequisite For Life
Blog writer for Body By Chocolates

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