Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
On Easter Tuesday of an unspecified year, apparently close to 1920, the Greek elders of Lycovrissi gather to select the principals of the Passion Play that is given every seven years, at Easter time, under the portico of the church. Lycovrissi is a remote village in the mountains of Anatolia. Its poor, illiterate, superstitious peasants, with only dim memories of the greatness of their Hellenic past, have lived under harsh Turkish rule for centuries.
Only two men in the town know anything about the outside world. One is Captain Fortounas, a drunken old sailor retired from his rough seafaring life. The other is the Turkish agha, overlord of the village, a gross, sensual man who spends his days drinking raki and his nights amusing himself with pretty boys.
The elders reveal themselves as an avaricious, corrupt lot as they discuss possible candidates for the Passion Play. Eventually Manolios, a handsome young shepherd betrothed to the archon’s illegitimate daughter, Lenio, is selected as the Christ; Michelis, the archon’s son, as John; Yannakos, a rascally peddler, as Peter; Kostandis, the innkeeper, as James; Panayotaros, a red-bearded, sly man nicknamed Plaster-eater, as Judas; and the widow Katerina, a woman of warm heart and easy virtue, as Mary Magdalene. The principals have to be selected a year in advance so that they can prepare themselves for the responsibilities of their roles in reenacting the story of the Passion and the...
(The entire section is 887 words.)
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