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Zorba The Greek. By Nikos Kazantzakis. Alexis Zorba is the hero of the story, a free-spirited Greek peasant. He accompanies the narrator of the story to Crete to work a lignite mine.

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zorba the greek

Zorba The Greek

By NikosKazantzakis


Alexis Zorba is the hero of the story, a free-spirited Greek peasant. He accompanies the narrator of the story to Crete to work a lignite mine.


This begins the story of Zorba who is the epitome of an existentialist. He is an exuberant fellow who believes in living life to the fullest with a vitality and a rhythm we rarely see in literature.


Zorba throws himself into life, heart and soul. He says what he thinks and he does what he pleases. Wine, women, song and dance are his stock in trade.

His zest for life is not the hubris of youth. When we meet Zorba, he is in his sixties. His personality is still larger than life.

The one thing that seems to foil him is getting old. His body is held down to earth by the aging process but even this does not suppress his spirit for life.


The author paints us a mental picture of Zorba. “He threw himself into the dance, clapping hands, leaping and pirouetting in the air, falling onto his knees, leaping again with his legs tucked up as if he were made of rubber. He suddenly made tremendous bounds into the air, as if he wanted to conquer the laws of nature and fly away”.


The world was never a dull place for Zorba! The narrator speaks of people like Zorba as being visionaries and poets. “Each morning they see a new world before their eyes. They do not really see it. They create it.”


We’ve heard the saying about carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders~not so with Zorba!“I looked at Zorba and admired the jauntiness and simplicity with which he adapted himself to the world around him. I had never seen such a friendly accord between a man and the universe.”


In conclusion, Zorba is a classic existentialist. He lived life on a grand scale with all the gusto and exuberance he could find. To him, life was a celebration!


For reflection~ Is it better to live fully, make lots of mistakes and suffer, or live life safely, risking little, making fewer mistakes?Do you live like Zorba?