Zorba the Greek
Zorba the Greek research papers show that Zorba the Greek is a novel steeped in the philosophical wonderings of Nikos Kazantzakis. Kazantzakis uses the characters of the narrator (“Boss”), Zorba, Madam Hortense, and the widow to illustrate his beliefs on the role of women in relationships, society, and in the scheme of world. The narrator of the story represents rationality and the clear-cut meanings of the world that man finds in doctrine or in written word already explored by other men. Zorba represents passion and living a life of action to discover meaning in the world and man’s purpose. While the novel fails, and rightly so, to give answer to the question of the meaning of life, what is reveled along the way are many truths in Cretan life as well as an man’s life throughout the world. In Zorba’s passionate world, a woman is many things and can represent the depths of destruction for a man or the only paradise man will ever know.
Zorba the Greek explores what the emotional element of manhood entails. Feminine traits were shameful, despite both Zorba’s and Boss’s deep emotional tie. Boss struggled with the concept of manhood often throughout the novel. In the beginning he states, “He knew it was shameful not to be to control one’s feelings. Tears, tender words, unruly gestures, common familiarities, all seemed to him weaknesses unworthy of man”. Feminine attributes such as emotions were referred to as “pathetic”. Men were said to have their own set of weapons in which they deployed to take the place of emotions: laughter, smiles and chaff.
Zorba served to dispel this notion of lack of emotion in Boss with other men. Zorba stated “I’m not ashamed to cry, if it’s in front of men. Between men there’s some unity, isn’t there? It’s no disgrace”. By the end of the novel, Boss claimed to know what a real man was when he witnessed Zorba’s reaction to the widow’s death.