Zorba the Greek

by Nikos Kazantzakis

Start Free Trial

What are the similarities between Zorba and the narrator in Zorba the Greek?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The narrator is a young English writer (Basil) who has acquired the Greek mining enterprise from a distance.  He brings with him an naïve enterprising spirit built on “gentleman’s agreement” mentality that precludes acting on anything but logic.  Zorba introduces him to a new set of criteria—acting on impulse, from the spirit, answering to the forces of life that have been eliminated from the “civilized” upbringing of the narrator.  But both characters love human contact and are sensitive to the needs of the workers, for example, and to the “rules” of physics.”  The beauty of the novel lies in how the two contrasting characters give their particular gifts to the other, tempering the damage each character may do without the other.  Zorba’s external exuberance and joie de vivre, manifested not only in his gruff manner, but also in his self-destructive behavior, is ameliorated by the narrator’s common sense and ability to look to the future.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial