IB English HL
The Human Condition in “Zorba the Greek”
In “Zorba the Greek”, Kazantzakis uses imagery to convey his ideas regarding the human condition. All of the quotes indicate that the human condition is ignorance, naivety, and the struggle to attain one’s own happiness. I will talk about each of these in order of how I listed them. Kazantzakis puts a fine line between ignorance between ignorance and naivety which is interesting considering they go hand in hand; ignorance leads unto naivety
In this part of the book, Zorba and the narrator have just begun arguing about whether people should have their eyes opened to the problems in the world around them, or that they should be left in ignorance. “Let people be, boss; don’t open their eyes. And supposing you did, what’d they see? Their misery. Leave their eyes closed, boss, and let them go on dreaming.” (Kazantzakis 61) This quote is from Zorba the character. He’s asking the narrator to let people remain ignorant to the problems around them because it only causes more problems and misery. It gives a glimpse of the kind of person Zorba is. Rather than agree with the narrator and allow him to even attempt to open someone’s eyes, Zorba is firmly against it which shows that he too does not want his eyes opened to the problems surrounding him.
The next quote I have comes as the narrator has just parted way with his best friend, never to see him again. He feels this impulse to look back one last time, but suppresses the urge to do so. “The human soul is heavy, clumsy, held in the mud of the flesh. Its perceptions are still coarse and brutish. It can divine nothing clearly, nothing with certainty.” (Kazantzakis 7) Kazantzakis’ use of imagery here clearly portrays the human condition being muddled, undefined, and rough. The soul is “heavy, clumsy” and unable to define anything clearly. In which case the human condition is naivety mixed with ignorance. I say ignorance...
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