Memed, My Hawk

by Yaşar Kemal Gökçeli

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Ince Memed

Ince Memed is the protagonist of Memed, My Hawk by Yasar Kemal Gökçeli. Until the age of eleven, Memed lives in the village of Deyirmenoluk with his widowed mother, Deuneh. Ill treatment at the hands of the powerful village landowner, Abdi Agha, drive young Memed to join the gang of the outlaw Mad Durdu. In time, Memed forms his own gang and acquires a reputation for justness; he also falls in love with the beautiful Hatche. Memed is one of the many Robin Hood–like characters that have appeared in literature throughout time and is sworn to free his village from the tyrannical yoke of Abdi Agha. In the end, he does so—before riding away into the mountains, never to be heard from again.


Hatche is the daughter of Osman. She is a childhood friend of Memed’s, and later, the two fall in love. Hatche gives birth to their child before dying in the final gun battle between Memed and the forces of Abdi Agha. She is betrothed against her will to Veli, Abdi Agha’s nephew, but she elopes with Memed. After being accused of Veli’s murder, she is put in jail, where her relationship with Iraz is poignantly detailed.


Jabbar, a young member of Mad Durdu’s gang, forms a friendship with Memed. He tries to counsel Durdu into changing his ways and improving his relationship with the villagers. Jabbar has a sense of humor and is not quite as scrupulous or fair-minded as Memed when dealing with enemies. He eventually chooses the amnesty offered by the law.

Abdi Agha

Abdi Agha is the antagonist of the novel. He is an influential landowner and exercises an unlawful, tyrannical grip on the villagers, forcing them to pay exorbitant taxes in the form of their farms’ yields. Nothing is revealed of his background or what could have molded his brutal nature. His ill treatment of the villagers and Memed in particular results in Memed swearing to wreak vengeance on him and his cohorts. At the conclusion of the novel, Abdi Agha meets his end at Memed’s hand.

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