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Zorba the Greek

Zorba the Greek

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Published by: powell.gordon on May 14, 2009
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07/12/2009

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ZorbatheGreek:aJungiananalysis
Inthemovie“ZorbatheGreek”,basedonnovelwrittenbytheGreekauthorNikosKazantzakis,eachofthemaincharacterscanbeunderstoodasarepresentationoftheelementsofthehumanpsyche.Theauthorusestheinteractionsbetweenthenamelesspoet,therascalZorba,thelonelywidowandMmeHortenseasametaphorforeveryartist’sattempt(inthiscase,apoet)atintegration(ie.individuation)andareconnectionwithhiscreativeforces.Thepoet,ahalfGreekEnglishman,representsthepersonaofthearchetypicalman:reasonable,educatedanddrivenbylogicalmotivations.Becauseheisnolongerconnectedtotheotherelementsofhispersonality,hiscreativeenergyhasdriedup;hehasn’twrittenpoetryinmanymonths.HeisreturningtoCrete,perhapstofindhimself,andtore‐openaminethathasbeeninhisfamily’spossessionforgenerations.ThecharacterofZorbarepresentstheshadowfigure,ortrickster.AlexisZorbaispassionate,uncontrollable,lasciviousandagreatloveroflifeinawaythatthepoetcannotbe.Whiletheviewermayinitiallyseethesemenastwodifferentpeople,theyrepresentelementsofthearchetypalman:therationalouterpersonaandtheimpulsiveinnershadow.Thewomeninthefilm(andnovel)arerepresentationsoftheanima,orfemaleprinciplethatthepoetmustcometounderstandandintegrateorbeunfulfilled.Thewidow(theEveelement)andMadameHortense(theHelenelement)aredifferentincarnationsofthispowerfulforce.(1)Inthestory,thepoetisheadingforCreteinordertore‐openafailedlignitemine.(Theislandcanbeunderstoodasa“type”forthecradleofcivilizationandthusofartisticexpressionandpersonality;Creteisalsoreferredtoas“thecradleofmusicanddance.”)(2)ThisishighlysymbolicinJungianterms.Ligniteisaformofsoftcoalthatisusedinthispartoftheworldasanenergysource.Theauthorofthestoryistakingusintothepersonal,andcollectiveunconsciousofthepoet(ie.themine)toopenupthedeepcreativeforcesthathavedriedup.(Remember,hehasbeenunabletocomposepoetryformonths.)Andbecausethepoet(persona)isemployingZorba(thetrickstercharacter)tobetheforeman,weseethecriticalrolethattheshadownatureplaysinre‐connectingwiththeelementalenergyoftheunconscious.WithoutZorba,therecanbenomine,noenergy,nosuccess.Themovie(andnovel)portraysthearchetypalmetaphoricaljourneyofanartist,recountingthereintegrationofpersona,animaandshadow.Itisthroughthisre‐integrationthatheisabletoconnectwiththeprimordialcreativeforcesthatmakehisArtapossibility.Endnotes:1.Animaandanimus.(n.d.).Wikipedia.RetrievedMay12,2009,fromAnswers.comWebsite:http://www.answers.com/topic/anima‐and‐animus

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