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The Apollonian and Dionysian paradox of The Odyssey, a modern sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis

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Title:
The Apollonian and Dionysian paradox of The Odyssey, a modern sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis an analysis of the poem and the poet's world view
Creator:
Good, Debra
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
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Language:
English
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vii, 105 leaves : ; 29 cm.

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Humanities)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Humanities
Committee Chair:
Burns, Rex
Committee Members:
Casper, Kent
Amer, Marilyn
Johnston, Shirley

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Subjects / Keywords:
Odyseia (Kazantzakis, Nikos) ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado at Denver, 1994. Humanities
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 102-105).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Humanities.
General Note:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Debra Good.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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31159747 ( OCLC )
ocm31159747

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Full Text
THE APOLLONIAN AND DIONYSIAN PARADOX
OF THE ODVSSfK- MOD£/?/V SfQ(7£L BY NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS
AN ANALYSIS OF THE POEM AND THE POET'S WORLD VIEW
by
Debra Good
B.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1991
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
' in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Humanities
1994


This thesis for the Master of Humanities
degree by
Debra Good
has been approved for the
Humanities Program
jl/^ /?y_
Date


Good, Debra (M.A., Humanities)
The Apollonian and Dionysian Paradox of The Odyssey : A Modern
Sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis An Analysis of The Poem and The
Poet's World View
Thesis directed by Professor Rex Burns
ABSTRACT
This thesis is a study of the epic poem by Nikos Kazantzakis:
The Odyssey : A Modern Sequel. The modern epic of 33,333 lines
picks up where Homer's ancient classic left off: Odysseus
returning home from the Trojan War after twelve years lost at
sea. This study analyzes Kazantzakis' modern approach to the
sequel and the influences contemporary philosophies and the
spiritual struggles of humanity had on it. Odysseus and his crew
represent outcasts and the Dionysian nature of human duality.
The other side of this duality and paradox is the Apollonian ideal
which is symbolized by Odysseus' journey and spiritual quest.


My analysis of the Kazantzakis text focuses on the poet's use
of metaphor and Dionysian nature imagery and the philosophical
ideals which influenced his world view. From the West,
Kazantzakis reflects the existential philosophy of Nietzsche;
from the East, the poet explores the Buddhist influence; and
from his own home, Greece, he brings forth the mythological
heritage of his hero. The dualities of East and West, Apollo and
Dionysus, and flesh and spirit are the human conditions which
Kazantzakis strives to reconcile in The Odyssey : A Modern Sequel.
The journey, however, becomes a spiritual metamorphosis for the
hero rather than a synthesis of dualities. Finally, Odysseus
embraces his Dionysian essence, yet through his journey and
metamorphosis, he attains release from the conflict of these
dualities and thereby his spiritual freedom.


candidate's thesis. I recommen
Signed
Rex Burns


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The successful completion of this thesis depended upon the
cooperation of many people I want to thank, including all the
professors who furthered my education at The University of
Colorado at Denver. My gratitude goes to Rex Burns, Marilyn
Amer, Kent Casper, and Joel Salzberg who donated their time and
guidance during the last two years of this thesis investigation.
In deep appreciation for family and friends who also supported me
in my endeavor, I gratefully dedicate this thesis to Vincent, Wil,
Florence, Gloria, and Paulette.
vi


Contents
Chapter
1. INTRODUCTION.........................................1
Focus of the Thesis..................................2
Background on The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel...........3
Literary Criticism...................................5
2. PUBLICATION HISTORY & PHILOSOPHICAL INFLUENCES.....15
3. TEXT ANALYSIS: PROLOGUE-BOOK XV.....................28
4. TEXT ANALYSIS: BOOK XVI-XX..........................56
5. TEXT ANALYSIS: BOOKS XI-XXIV..........................83
6. CONCLUSION..........................................96
BIBLIOGRAPHY..............................................102
VII


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
In Nikos Kazantzakis' modern sequel to Homer's Odyssey, the
new quest of Odysseus overturns the most sacred values of the
Old World. Homer concludes with Odysseus safe at home on Ithaca
attending to his kingdom and family, while Kazantzakis begins
with Odysseus cutting all domestic and material ties and sailing
off once again. The modern Odysseus sails in search of freedom
and God but discovers instead, a huge abyss and the paradox of
flesh and spirit. The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel emphasizes this
spiritual struggle through Odysseus' contrary yearnings of the
primordial and the ascetic, and also through the duality of
character types which are essentially desperado and messiah
figures.ike Odysseus himself, these characters act within a
framework of potent nature imagery as metaphors for
Kazantzakis' primary theme which strives to synthesize
Dionysian and Apollonian ideals.
1


Focus of the Thesis
In my thesis I focus on Kazantzakis' world view and his use of
metaphor to illustrate the central paradox of The Odyssey:
atavistic passions versus ascetic ideals. As a background to the
formation of Kazantzakis' world view, I explore the early
influences of Henri Bergson, Nietzsche, and Buddha. In reference,
I also examine what has been written about him by the translator
of The Odyssey, Kimon Friar; Kazantzakis' wife, Helen; his
literary companion, Pandelis Prevelakis, and other relevant
critics. In addition, as preparation for a discussion of the text
itself, I focus on another philosophical work by Kazantzakis:
Saviors Of God: Spiritual Exercises, which is considered a
condensed version of his world view and the "seed" of The
Odyssey: A Modern Sequel.^
1 Kimon Friar, Peter Bien, in his "Nikos Kazantzakis" Columbia
Essays on Modern Writers Pamphlet No. 62 (Columbia University
Press,1972)27.
2


Background on The Odvssev: A Modern Sequel
The modern epic of 33,333 lines reflects the works of
Nietzsche and the teachings of Kazantzakis' professor, Henri
Bergson. In his introduction to The Odyssey Kimon Friar writes:
Nietzsche confirmed him in his predilection for the Dionysian as
opposed to the Apollonian vision of life: for Dionysus, the god of
wine and revelry, of ascending life, of joy in action, of ecstatic
motion and inspiration, of instinct and adventure and dauntless
suffering, the god of song and music and dance; as opposed to
Apollo, the god of peace, of leisure and repose, of aesthetic
emotion and intellectual contemplation, of logical order and
philosophical calm, the god of painting and sculpture and epic
poetry. We shall see, however, that though this was for him a
decided predilection and a biased emphasis, it was not at all a
rejection, but rather an assimilation of the Apollonian vision of
life. . Ultimately Kazantzakis wished to combine the two in
what he called the "Cretan Glance," to remind scholars that
Dionysus as well as Apollo was a god of the Greeks, and the
noblest of Greek arts was a synthesis of the two ideals.2
From the beginning of The Odyssey, as Odysseus evolves from the
most savage dimensions of Dionysus toward the ideal of spiritual
clarity in Apollo, Kazantzakis strives for this synthesis. The
influence of Nietzsche also surfaces in Kazantzakis' ideal of
"tragic optimism" and the "exaltation of tragedy as the joy of
2 Kimon Friar, Introduction to The Odyssey : A Modern Sequel, by
Nikos Kazantzakis. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1958.) xiv-xv.
3


life."3 The poet reflects this philosophical paradox through the
nature of Odysseus' struggle and journey. In contrast to
Nietzsche, Friar writes: "Kazantzakis had an intense love for the
common man and a belief in socialistic orders which try to
alleviate poverty and life as oppression."4 Kazantzakis' "love for
the common man is most well known from the character and
novel Zorba The Greek, but is also seen in The Odyssey when
Odysseus chooses his crew. While Zorba is the salt of the earth,
Odysseus' crew are a rougher bunch: Captain Clam is a "grizzly and
trustworthy old sea-wolf," Hardihood, the bronzesmith, is "a red-
haired, burly man from the mountains, sullen, secluded, with a
stain like that of an octopus on his right cheek." Kentaur is a
drunk whom Odysseus finds lying in the middle of the road.
Granite, a young mountaineer, is found roaming restlessly and
brooding over the guilt of killing his brother over a woman. The
poet's socialistic beliefs also are evidenced as Odysseus becomes
involved in rebellious uprisings against decadent rulers on Crete
3 Friar, xv.
4 Friar, xv.
4


in Book VII and in Egypt in Book IX. In these episodes, Odysseus
believes God is liberating him through involvement with the
oppressed slaves as a step towards spiritual purification.
Literary Criticism
The earliest and strongest influence on Kazantzakis' world
view was that of Bergson. Friar writes:
At the core of Kazantzakis' thought and his Dionysian method
lie Bergson's concept of life as the expression of elan vital, a
vital or creative impulse, a fluid and persistent creation that
flows eternally and manifests itself in everchanging eruptive
phenomena. The increasing creativity of life, casting up and
discarding individuals and species as experiments on its way
toward more and more liberation, is what Bergson and
Kazantzakis both meant by God. For both men God is not
omnipotent, but infinite; he is not omniscient, but struggles and
stumbles, impeded by matter, toward more and more
consciousness, toward _t.5
Kazantzakis expresses this image specifically in Saviors Of
God: Spiritual Exercises: "My God is not all knowing. His brain is a
tangled skein of light and darkness which he strives to unravel in
the labyrinth of the flesh."6 Odysseus strives to do the same
with a kind of Bergsonian intuitiveness. Jacques Chevalier
5 Friar, xvii.
6 Nikos Kazantzakis, The Saviors Of God Spiritual Exercises.
(New York: Simon and Schuster,1960)104.
5


writes: The intuition of Bergson seems in so many respects akin
to the heart of Pascal. . Reason proves, and the heart knows."7
Bergson states: "We are free when our acts spring from the whole
personality, when they express it, when they have that
indefinable resemblance to it which one sometimes finds between
the artist and his work."8 In this sense, Kazantzakis leads
Odysseus to be directed by instincts and passion rather than
reason. Reason would have kept him home on Ithaca attending to
the affairs of his kingdom and family.
Odysseus is like Kazantzakis' image of god's brain, "a tangled
skein of light and darkness which he tries to unravel in the
labyrinth of the flesh."9 The conflict of light and darkness is a
theme of Nietzsche's Zarathustra which is based on Zoroaster, a
Christ-like figure who founded a religion whose core is this
duality. Morton Levitt, author of The Cretan Glance, writes:
7 Morton Levitt, The Cretan Glance. (Columbus: Ohio State
University Rress, 1980) 95.
8 Levitt, 97:
9 Kazantzakis, The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises (New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1960), 104.
10 Levitt, 94.
6


"The eclectic Kazantzakis utilizes Bergson much as he does
Nietzsche, selecting those images and ideas that inform and
reinforce his own perception of life, rubbing metaphorically the
'mystic salves' of his teacher in the College de France onto the
deep and hallowed wounds opened by the German precursor."
Nietzche's Zarathustra and the conflict of duality correspond to
the eastern influence of Buddha in Kazantzakis' world view, as
reflected in The Odyssey, of combining Apollonian and Dionysian
ideals. Toward the end of his life Kazantzakis wrote:
My life's greatest benefactors have been journeys and dreams.
Very few people, living or dead have aided my struggle. Those
who left their traces embedded most deeply in my soul are
Homer, Buddha, Nietzsche, Bergson and Zorba: Homer for the
clarity of his vision and style, and Buddha . the bottomless
jet-dark eye in which the world drowned and was delivered.
Bergson relieved me of various unsolved philosophical problems
which tormented me in my youth; Nietzsche enriched me with
new anguishes and instructed me how to transform misfortune,
bitterness and uncertainty into pride; Zorba taught me to love
life and have no fear of death.! 2
The earthy and light-hearted Zorba was based on a Yugoslavian
named George Zorba whom Kazantzakis knew from the village of
n Levitt, 95.
12 Levitt, 88.
7


Mani on the Peloponnesus.13 Zorba contrasts with Odysseus, the
intense and "long suffering man," while the others mentioned by
Kazantzakis form a composite of his hero. However, as The
Odyssey progresses, even Zorba's nature becomes a part of
Odysseus in his affirmation of life while dancing at the edge of
the abyss. This paradox in acceptance of the void, world
renunciation, and life affirmation is synthesized in the
philosophies of Buddha, Nietzsche, and Bergson.evitt writes:
"Buddha is the 'pure soul' which has emptied itself, in him is the
void, he is the Void. There is much of Zarathustra in this
conception of Buddha, and something of Bergson as well:
surrounded by his disciples on a mountain peak, the ascetic
teaches the abnegation of the world, but he does so with unique
vitality and power, the artist too emulates these sources by
struggling to free himself through his art."i4 For Kazantzakis and
the autobiographical character "Boss" in Zorba, they become
enslaved, instead by the practice of renunciation, until they learn
13 Levitt, 89.
14 Levitt, 103.
8


from Zorba "the need for genuine fellowship and love." t 5
Odysseus also must learn about this kind of love even as his
actions parallel Christ in his ascent of the mountain to meditate
for seven days and seven nights in Book XIV.
Odysseus, like Zorba, will also come to celebrate life through
dance. Kazantzakis writes: "Watching Zorba dance [on the beach],
I understood for the first time the fantastic efforts of man to
overcome his weight. I admired Zorba's endurance, his agility and
proud bearing. His clever and impetuous steps were writing on
the sand the demoniac history. 6 Nietzsche, also demoniac,
writes: "In song and dance, man expresses himself as a member of
a higher community; he feels himself a god, he himself now walks
about enchanted, in ecstasy, like the gods he saw walking in his
dreams. He is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art."i7
Still, like Odysseus, Zorba also questions God: "Is there a God?" he
asks; "Who is it who throws these bones to us?" and "Who the
T5 Levitt, 103.
16 Levitt,100.
17 Levitt,101.
9


devil takes us away?" also; "And above all, why do people die?"i8
Zorba and Odysseus both stand at the abyss and dance with
defiance. While both become liberated in this sense, Zorba with
his earthly simplicity is more enviable than Odysseus whose
long-suffering journey is infinitely more complicated.
One aspect of Odysseus' character that brings him down to
earth is his trait of being a desperado. In Nikos Kazantzakis and
His Odyssey: A Study of The Poet and The Poem, Pandelis
Prevelakis contrasts the ideals of the traditional epic hero with
that of the desperado and the picaro:
According to the precept established by three thousand years
of epic poetry, the epic narrates the feats of heroes who often
have divine blood in their veins. In wars and on journeys they
are led by an immutable ideal which gives them strength to
overcome difficulties beyond the measure of man. Epic heroes
are raised up as models for the people: they teach manliness or
sagacity, they inspire daring or sacrifice, they embody the
virtues of the race. The epic poem corresponds to man's
longing for the ideal, it satisfies his primordial yearning for the
gods. The epic scale is suited to gods and demigods. But it
does not violate the human: man recognizes himself among the
characters and actions of the epic poem. ... At the opposite
pole of the epic hero we find the picaro.l 9
18 Levitt,102.
19 Pandelis Prevelakis, Nikos Kazantzakis and His Odyssey- A
Study Of The Poet And The Poem (New York: Simon and
Schuster,1961)123.
10


A picaro is defined by the Dictionary of the Spanish Academy 20
as a shameless, insolent and dissolute type who lives an
unsettled life on the roads of evil; the adjectival meaning is base,
wicked, deceitful, sly, knavish. The word picaro originates in
sixteenth century Spanish texts and refers to the "street urchins,
errant boys, scamps, knaves and vagabonds who lived on the edge
of an aristocratic society who bore them and then cast them out
to become masters of flattery, stealing and trickery."21 The
desperado and picaron aspects of Odysseus' duality enlivens the
hero's Dionysian adventures. The picaro came from a type of
antiheroic Spanish literature called the novella picaresca, which
consisted of satire and parody of the idealistic tales of
knighthood. Prevelakis writes:
The nihilistic theory assimilated by an intelligence; may generate
the hero; assimilated by an ignoramus, it may give birth to the
picaro. St. Paul divides men into spiritual, natural and carnal:
even the spirit of God bears fruit in a different way in each
person [ICor.2-3]. The human types of Kazantzakis' imagination
consisted of heroes and picaros: heroes who act like picaros
and picaros who act heroically. . Who the characters of this
book are to be, Kazantzakis tells us in another text: "The
characters have suddenly got hold of me, I have started to
20 Prevelakis,124.
21 Prevelakis, 124.
n


write novels ...1 have found some old friends, ruffians from the
gallows and the stake, some other good people whom I love and
enjoy myself with." ... Turn a picaro out at the door and he will
come back through the window. The Odyssey is full of them.
From the very first rhapsodies, the "old friends," the ruffians,
those of flesh and bone, are poured into the poem. The royal
banquet with which Odysseus regales them [l,1023ff.]
symbolizes the dissolution of order and the lighting of fires which
take place when civilizations crumble. "Eveiything is perishable!"
Odysseus himself is to be infected with something of the spirit of
his companions: he feasts and carouses with them [II, 933ff.] to
the point of shocking the whole island.22
A rumor spread from town to town that demons lashed their
king who all night long danced in the moon.
[955-56]
The dancing theme in connection with the philosophy of Zorba and
the picaro are central images and ideals which I will explore in
chapters three and four with the analysis of The Odyssey text. In
the passage cited above, the town's disturbance by the actions of
their King parallels the reaction of his own country to
Kazantzakis upon the publication of The Saviors Of God, The
Odyssey's predecessor.
Before discussing the publishing history of Kazantzakis'
works, the following summarizes the philosophical arguments of
the opening section. To begin, the literary criticism by Friar and
22 Prevelakis,124-25.
12


Prevelakis regarding the philosophical influences stresses
Kazantzakis' attempt to synthesize Apollonian and Dionysian
ideals. While Nietzsche most influenced Kazantzakis'
predilection for the Dionysian, the poet's world view as reflected
in his philosophy of the "Cretan Glance" supports his desire to
combine the two. However, the evolution of The Odyssey succeeds
in transforming Odysseus' Dionysian and Apollonian duality.
Odysseus changes greatly from the beginning of The Odyssey to
its end, yet he neither sheds his Dionysian passion completely nor
becomes a saint. He evolves from the savage to the heroic
picaro/revolutionary to the Don Quixote/messiah in his struggle
to know God and reconcile his demons. Kazantzakis' conception of
God, which is condensed in The Saviors Of God and then expanded
in The Odyssey was most influenced by Bergson. Both believed
that God is neither omnipotent not omniscient but more like
Odysseus himself in the Modern Sequel, who struggles toward
consciousness, creativity, and liberation. For Kazantzakis,
Buddha represents renunciation of the material world and
13


embracement of the void. The paradox comes with Kazantzakis'
reverential homage to Zorba who, like Odysseus, dances in spite
of the void and is life affirming. In this fashion Zorba celebrates
the force of individual will and the Dionysian lust for life, as
does Odysseus.
14


CHAPTER 2
PUBLICATION HISTORY AND
PHILOSOPHICAL INFLUENCES
In Athens, in 1939, after the publication of The Saviors Of God,
Kazantzakis was accused of atheism. A trial was set for June 10,
yet he was never summoned.23 Later, in 1953, while writing his
novel about St. Francis, the Greek Orthodox Church wanted to
persecute him for parts of Freedom or Death and for all the
concepts in The Last Temptation of Christ 24 In The Last
Temptation, Kazantzakis presents Christ as a more common man
who is eventually tempted sexually by Mary Magdalene. Similarly,
the religious uproar over the sexual association of Christ with a
prostitute parallels the Islamic persecution of Salman Rushdie
with his presentation of Mohammed in a brothel in Satanic
Verses. Even in the United States, only four years ago in 1989,
when Kazantzakis' Last Temptation was made into a film by
Martin Scorsese, it also was condemned by the church. Religious
23 Prevelakis, 140.
24 prevelakis, 140.
15


intolerance in creative literary interpretations threaten the
status quo universally. Although The Odyssey was condemned by
the Orthodox Church of America, its first publication in 1958 was
still more successful in the United States than in the poet's own
homeland. In a letter to his wife Helen on May 14,1954 from
Anises, Kazantzakis writes:
Freecfom o Death is still enraging the Greeks. The Bishop of
Chios accused it of being shameful, treasonable, antireligious and
a slander against Crete! So you can imagine in what a
barbarous state my native land is wallowing; i.e., the official
Greeks, politicians and churchmen. And the Orthodox Church of
America convened and damned The Last Temptation as
extremely indecent, atheistic, and treasonable, after admitting
that they hadn't read it and based their case on the articles in
Estria. . And I sit here in my solitude, calm, dedicated to my
duty, to the best of my ability, shaping the Greek language and
spirit/ "Ad tuum, domine, tribunal Apello [To thy court I appeal,
0 Lord]," as Tertullian wrote.25
Kazantzakis telegraphed this phrase from Tertullian to the
Commission on the Index, and to the Greek Orthodox Church he
added: "You have execrated me, Holy Fathers; I bless you. I pray
that your conscience may be as clean as mine and that you may be
as moral as I am."26 Aside from the religious uproar over
25 Helen Kazantzakis, Nikos Kazantzakis A Biography ( New York:
Simon and Schuster,1968) 523.
26 Kazantzakis, 524.
16


Kazantzakis1 work, The Odyssey created a controversial language
problem within the poet's own country.
The Odyssey was difficult to understand even for Kazantzakis'
own countrymen. Levitt states:
Written in an unfamiliar meter, simplifying conventional spelling
and syntax and abandoning the useless accentual marks
common to the language since Byzantine times (retaining only
the acute accent for emphasis) with an added glossary of some
two thousand words that were familiar to the peasants of
Greece but virtually unknown to its scholars, The Odyssey was
an effort to revolutionize the diction of modern Greek poetry.
Even today, there are literate Greeks who claim to find it more
readable in English translation than in the original Dhemotiki.
"The intellectuals of Athens cannot understand this," Kimon Friar
has said of the epic he translated so well; "I give it to the
boatmen and fishermen, and they have no trouble." The irony
would have delighted the poet.27
In this sense the poet is much like his rebellious hero Odysseus.
What is more significant, as evitt points out, is that
Kazantzakis' poem of 33,333 lines, three times the length of
Homer's Odyssey, bridged the gap of literature between Classical
Athens and the Modernist Age. Until the publication of The
Odyssey, Greek literature was unsure of continuing the way of the
ancients or looking toward the west for a model. "In a sense
27 Levitt,111.
17


then," writes Levitt, "Kazantzakis' Odyssey makes possible the
liberation of Greek literature from its bondage to the past,
providing a way for younger Greek artists to be true both to their
ancestral inheritance and to the modern world in which they
live.28
Kazantzakis' synthesis of the ancient and modern reflects the
poets penchant for blending ideas which are central to his world
view in the "Cretan Glance." In his introduction to The Odyssey,
Friar explains the way in which Kazantzakis formulates his world
within the Cretan glance:
Like all poets, Kazantzakis is not so much a systematic
philosopher as one who, reaching out the tentacles of his mind
and spirit, and grasping whatever might bring him nourishment,
sucks up all into the third inner eye of vision peculiar to himself
alone, and moves the reader with an imaginative view of life so
intense as to be in truth, a new apprehension. Basic to all of
Kazantzakis' vision . has been the attempt to synthesize
what seem to be contraries, antitheses, antimonies. His own life
and personality would seem to be a battleground of
contradictions, unless one looked upon them with the third inner
eye, and from a higher peak, as on an unceasing battle for a
harmony never resolved. This eye, this glance between the eye
of the Orient or Dionysus who came from India or Asia Minor
[and the eye of Hellenic Greece or Apollo] Kazantzakis called the
"Cretan Glance," for he was born on the island of Crete, at the
28Levitt, 112.
18


crossroads between Africa, Asia and Europe.29
Kazantzakis' world view is not purely Greek or Oriental but rather
a synthesis of both Greece and the Orient.3 Dionysus and Apollo
are the contrasting ideals played out in Kazantzakis' Odyssey and
through the poet's hero Odysseus. In Odysseus, like Kazantzakis,
the contradictions and antimonies of the two ideals clash before
finally synthesizing. The Odyssey contains characters and events
representing the primitive demons and disorderly drives of
Dionysus in contrast to the divine ideals of Apollonian
enlightenment and action. Friar writes: "The supreme ideal of
Greece is to save the ego from anarchy and chaos. The supreme
ideal of the Orient is to dissolve the ego into the infinite and to
become one with it." In this sense, Kazantzakis strives to fuse
the two ideals in Odysseus by way of his arduous adventures and
spiritual trials. The essence of the Orient is combined with the
Western ideal in Odysseus' compelling drive toward action. The
adventure commences with the decision to leave his family and
29 Friar, Introduction to The Odyssey A Modern Sequel by Nikos
Kazantzakis, ix-xxxvi.
3 Kazantzakis, xvii-xviii.
19


kingdom on Ithaca forever.
The call to action is fundamental in Kazantzakis' world view
and central to the meaning of The Odyssey. Peter Bien, in his
essay on Modern Writers, comments on the western appeal of
Kazantzakis:
They share his strong determination to adjust the rhythm of
individual behavior to a larger rhythm outside. They also
appreciate his insistence that action, not withdrawal, is the way
to spirituality, his equal insistence that action may take many
forms, and his strict aberrance of a linear laissez-fair activism
based on the gospel of increased gross national product. Uke
Kazantzakis they wish to make the world better in concrete
ways and they therefore value materiality; but at the same time
their consciousness of the H-bomb makes them see how fragile
materialistic progress can be and how right Kazantzakis was in
his obsession with the dark abyss. Caught in Kazantzakis' own
dilemma, they feel that his attempt to synthesize Western
practicality and utopianism with an Eastern vision of universal
vanity may give direction to their own gropings. On the other
hand many people are comforted by the way Kazantzakis
seems unable to avoid Christianity and Hellenism when he bodies
forth his future visions of man. His mixture of traditionalism and
iconoclasm soothes at the same time it disturbs.3l
In The Odyssey, the poet's hero becomes an iconoclast and later
develops a messiah persona. Kazantzakis' iconoclasm is also
clearly reflected in The Last Temptation of Christ and Saviors of
God. Even though Kazantzakis' idea of Christianity is not
31 Bien and Keeley, 27.
20


traditional, Christ became an obsession early in his life. In a
letter, Kazantzakis talks about the importance of this spiritual
influence:
Christ tormented me from my childhood yearsthat union, so
mysterious and so real, of man and God, that Sehnsucht, so
human and so superhuman, for a reconciliation of God and man
on a higher level than one can desire. When I grew up, I wanted
to free myself from that persistent idea with a work of art: at
the age of twenty five I wrote a tragedy in verse, ChristChrist
after the crucifixion, when the Magdalene and the desciples re-
created him in their hearts, and gave him the new immortal
body, resurrecting him. But that tragedy did not liberate me: at
the age of forty-five I was again compelled to confront Christ in
my epic. Later I made a fresh attack: I wrote Christ Recrucified,
and immediately after, The Last Temptation. But in spite of all
these desperate efforts the subject remains for me
inexhaustible, because the mystery of the struggles of man and
God, of the flesh and the spirit, of death and immortality, is
inexhaustible.32
Prevelakis points out that Christ personifies, like Buddha and
Lenin, the "universal power of the human word," as he quotes
Jacques Pirenne asking the question: "The word of Christ, the
word of Buddha, heard but by some thousands of Jews or
IndiansHas it not shaken the world?"33 In The Odyssey, the
mystery of the struggle between humans and God courses through
32 Prevelakis, 182.
33 Prevelakis, 18E.
21


the epic and never is quite resolved. In an article from "The
Mediterranean Review," Colin Wilson writes:
Kazantzakis' importance transcends any question of whether he
finally solved the problems with which his work deals. In fact,
perhaps it is important that he failed to solve them. He thereby
becomes, a more perfect symbol of the man who refuses to
give up the search, who continues to seek the answer until the
moment of his death. . The Odyssey ... is, in a sense the
culmination of [Kazantzakis'] life and work.34
Wilson compares the autobiographical Odyssey of Kazantzakis to
similar themes from Goethe and Dostoevsky. From here on, the
literary criticism of Kazantzakis focuses on comparisons made
with other writers and finally on a mythological approach to The
Odyssey.
Wilson, comparing Kazantzakis to the Romantics of the 19th
century, discusses the intuitive awareness of the great writers
regarding the "Faustian dilemma"35 ( the human desire to know
the mysteries of the devine and immortal):
In a sense, he [Kazantzakis] comes closer to solving it, in the
Seventeenth Book, than Goethe came in Faust. That he did not
recognize his solution and build upon it seems to me a
consequence of his tormented, restless personality. . The
34 Colin Wilson, "Nikos Kazantzakis" in The Mediterranean Review
(Fall 1970), 33-47.
35 Wilson, 33-47.
22


essence of Kazantzakis' work seems to be this "storm and
stress." He differs from most of the romantics of the 19th
century in an essential respect: the "storm and stress" were a
natural expression of his temperament, not a histrionic gesture
or a fashionable pose. , Among other modern writers,
Kazantzakis stands like a colossus, or like a mountain.
Everything about him was big. .. One might summarize both his
strength and his weakness by saying that he is a kind of Greek
Dostoevsky with a strong intermixture of Hemingway. But this,
while true would be superficial. It would be truer to say that he
was a man who never had a fixed image of himself. . What is
so extraordinary about Kazantzakis is that he managed to
surmount this self-mistrust by a curious methodby making it
an essential part of his legend, by stating that man is always
falling into despair, but that his uniqueness lies in the
indestructible toughness that enables him to rise again. So that,
in a way, he becomes one of the most complete and profound
symbols of existential man: of Camus' Sisyphus pushing a rock
uphill knowing it will immediately roll down again or of
Prometheus, suffering new agonies everyday and yet praising
man's spirit.36
Prometheus is one of Odysseus' three forefathers who, along with
Heracles, and Tantalus, spurred the hero on in The Odyssey. From
Prometheus, Odysseus inherited "the mind's blazing brilliance."
Heracles is the forefather who "bathed him in the fire of the
spirits laborious struggle toward purification" and Tantalus
bequeathed to Odysseus his "forever unsatisfied heart." (779)
However, Sisyphus is the mythic figure who most parallels
Odysseus' existential heroism. Embracing the abyss and pushing a
36 Wilson, 33-47.
23


rock up a hill for all eternity exemplifies Kazantzakis' deification
of the void.
In W.B. Stanford's essay, "The Ulysses Theme: A Study in the
Adaptability of a Traditional Hero," he compares Joyce's hero
with Odysseus:
No author in ancient or modern times has attempted to rival the
comprehensiveness of Homer's account until the present
century, when an Irish novelist and a Greek poet have produced
two contemporary interpretations of the much enduring hero:
James Joyce in his Ulysses . and Nikos Kazantzakis in his
Odyssey. . What strikes one first about these two works is
their sheer bulk. In this they far surpass all previous
contributions to the Ulysses tradition. Even the combined llliad
and Odyssey are considerably shorter. Some might see this
merely as a product of the twentieth century diffuseness. But in
fact both Joyce's novel and Kazantzakis' poem fully justify their
bulk by their developments of the theme's content and
symbolism. It says much for the vitality of the myth that its
greatest extensions should emerge almost three thousand years
after its first appearance in literature.37
The symbolism of The Odyssey is essentially the story of human
existence and the struggle to find freedom and meaning within
that existence. Odysseus does this through action; in Joyce's
Ulysses, the title character accomplishes it through a more
psychological route. Stanford discusses these different
37 W.B. Stanford, "The Ulysses Theme: A Study in the Adaptability of a
Traditional Hero" (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1963) 223-24.
24


approaches:
The Odyssey of Kazantzakis and the Ulysses of Joyce differ
considerably in hypothesis, scope, and pattern. The working
hypothesis of Ulysses is the same as that of Homer's Odyssey.
It assumes that Ulysses controlling motive is to reach home
safely, and that he does not seek adventure for its own
sake. ... In contrast Kazantzakis adopts the non-Homeric
hypothesis that Ulysses was an incurable wanderer at heart and
after his return from Troy set out from home again to seek
further adventures. . [Bloom's] whole Odyssey is woven within
the space of about one square mile [while, in contrast,
Kazantzakis1 hero ranges on an uncurving path from Ithaca
through Crete, Egypt, Africa, to the Antarctic regions]. As a
result Bloom's adventures must arise mainly from the agility of
his imagination and the subtlety of his senses, an ordinary tea-
merchants shop, for example, sends his mind off on a vivid flight
to the Far East.38
In contrast to Joyce's Ulysses, there is no such thing as "subtlety
of the senses" for Kazantzakis1 Odysseus. The Odyssey and its
hero exude sensuality on all levels, while driven by primal
atavism and the unsated desires of Odysseus' Tantalean
forefather, all set in a backdrop of lush nature imagery.
In Stanford's contrasting analysis of Kazantzakis' and Joyce's
Ulysses theme, he also discusses their similar ideologies and
regard for the Homeric hero.
First there is the fact that both Joyce and Kazantzakis admire
38 Stanford, 223-24.
25


and like Ulysses, and to some extent feel themselves to be
kindred spirits with him. . Joyce and Kazantzakis try to show
him in almost every typical activity of lifefrom a visit to the
privy to the leadership of a revolution. Further, unlike most of
their predecessors in the tradition, these two authors see
Ulysses not as regional, or a national emblem, but as a
cosmopolitan, supra-national figure. He bears in a sense, the
hopes and fears, the wisdom and folly, both of contemporary
European society and of the whole European literary tradition.
[Both] Joyce and Kazantzakis are rebels, or perhaps exiles
would be a better term, from the traditional beliefs of their
ancestors, Joyce from those of Latin Western Europe,
Kazantzakis from those of the Greek and Slavonic East. In
politics they have repudiated narrow nationalism, in religion
coercive orthodoxy. This personal exile is reflected in their
portraits of Ulysses. But they have used their exile, not in tearful
yearnings like those of Ulysses in Calypso's island, but as a
means of seeing the problems of contemporary life in a clearer
perspective.39
Odysseus' search for freedom and God reflects this sense of
spiritual alienation and exile in contemporary life. In the
beginning of The Odyssey, Odysseus shuns the ancient and
traditional life that his family and kingdom represent. He is
portrayed as a rebel, a picaro, and an iconoclast. Then, in his
exile, he becomes "The Lonely One" and a wandering ascetic. The
portrait of Odysseus combines mythic heroes with contemporary
antihero figures, while The Odyssey encompasses a whole range
of archetypes from the collective unconscious. In mythological
39 Stanford, 224-26.
26


and archetypal approaches to literary criticism, Professor Frye
discusses the contribution of Dr. Carl Jung with his theory of
racial memory and archetypes: "In developing this concept, Jung
expands Freud's theories of the personal unconscious asserting
that beneath this is a primeval, collective unconscious shared in
the psychic inheritance of all members of the human family."
Frye goes on to say: "What Jung called 'myth forming structural
elements' are ever present in the unconscious psyche; he refers to
the manifestations of elements as 'motifs', 'primordial images,'
or 'archetypes'. . Jung was also careful to explain that
archetypes are not inherited ideas or patterns of thought: 'In
reality they belong to the realm of activities of the instincts and
in that sense they represent inherited forms of psychic
behavior."40 Similarly, Kazantzakis endows Odysseus with the
psychic behavior and instincts inherited from his mythic
forefathers. In this way, the mythic forefathers form the
catalyst which set in motion an Odyssey filled with Dionysian and
Apollonian motifs in a sea of archetypes and primordial images.
40 Carl Jung, Psyche and Symbol (NewYork: Doubleday, 1958), xvi.
27


CHAPTER 3
TEXT ANALYSIS: PROLOGUE-BOOK XV
Kazantzakis begins The Odyssey with a Prologue and homage to
the sun which symbolizes the spirit of God and the theme of
spiritual attainment:
0 Sun, my quick coquetting eye, my red haired hound,
sniff out all quarries that I love, give them swift chase,
tell me that you've seen on earth, all that you've heard,
and I shall pass them through my entrails secret forge
till slowly, with profound caresses, play and laughter,
stones, water, fire, and earth shall be transformed to spirit,
and the mud-winged and heavy soul, freed of its flesh,
shall like a flame serene ascend and fade in the sun.
Spiritual transformation, earthly adventures, and irrepressible
exuberance accentuate the poet's Odyssey.ike the "red haired
hound" in the Prologue, Odysseus sets out in a similarly bestial
way. Yet through the transformation that The Odyssey brings
about, he evolves into a more spiritual being, as "the mud-winged
and heavy soul, freed of its flesh, shall like a flame serene
ascend and fade in the sun." Kazantzakis' imagery suggests
transcendence, while the literary criticism of Friar and
28


Prevelakis stresses the poet's attempt to synthesize Dionysian
and Apollonian ideals. Dionysus represents primal nature, excess,
and liberation by destruction as opposed to the Apollonian ideals
of aesthetics, restraint and order. Even when Kazantzakis
himself seems to be caught between the contradictory ideals, his
lush use of imagery in The Odyssey reflects a Dionysian
predilection. However, the prolific use of sun imagery clearly
symbolizes Odysseus' spiritual striving and Apollonian ideals.
Friar notes that the sun represents the central theme of The
Odyssey as:
the unceasing struggle which rages in animate and inanimate
matter to burn away and cast off more and more of its dross
until the rarefied spirit is gradually liberated and ascend
toward its symbolic goal. Concomitant and contrapuntal
themes are also announced: the laughter and joy that rise
above tragedy; the freedom from all shackles which prudence
and comfortable virtues dictate, from all philosophical,
ethical and racial ties; the certainty that for each individual
the phenomena of the universe are but the mind's creations.
And from the beginning of the poem strikes the tone which
he maintains throughout: that of adventurous and dangerous
exploration of both physical and spiritual worlds: a heroic
and serious, yet ironic and playful braggadocio in the face of
annihilation: the accents and the rhythms of folk song, the
tall tale, fable and myth, the passionate yet laughing play
of the poet's imagination with his material as he casts off
from all sure anchorage like a restless mariner and launches
29


into a shoreless sea of no destination:
"Ahoy cast wretched sorrow off, prick up your ears
I sing the sufferings and the torments of renowned Odysseus!"41
The rhythm of the hero's journey which is partly characterized by
torment, is also balanced by his "playful braggadocio." In the
beginning, however, Odysseus is not playful at all; he is a
"dragon," and a cruel and murderous "manslayer" (3). Friar
however, does not mention here that Odysseus, in his journey of
transformation through the extremes of human manifestation,
ultimately represents "Everyday" and humanity. Odysseus thereby
serves humanity by demonstrating that everyman/god must save
himself as in The Saviors Of God, The Odyssey's predecessor.
Book 1 introduces a raging Odysseus who is still seething after
slaying Penelope's suitors: "his loins and belly steamed and thick
blood dripped down from both his murderous palms." (3) Even his
wife, Penelope, hardly recognizes him as her husband: "That's not
the man I've awaited year on year, 0 Gods, this forty-footed
dragon that stalks my quaking house!." (3) After twelve years
lost at sea, Odysseus also was not anxious to be close to her:
41 Friar, 777.
30


"still in his nostrils steamed the blood of the newly slain ... in
coo! night air there swing the new hung slaves, their eyes and
swollen tongues protruding." (4) Odysseus' own son Telemachus,
who helped slay the suitors, was also afraid: "Father, your fierce
eyes burn with blood, your fists are smoking! The cruel
manslayer grabbed his son and roared with laughter; two crows on
two black branches shook with fright, and fled." (6) Here,
Kazantzakis also begins his use of nature imagery which reflects
the bestial and the Dionysian aspect of Odysseus' duality: "Father
and son unbarred the gate and sped stealthily down the road
treading the earth like leopards." (8) As Odysseus and his son
walk, he tells Telemachus of an adventure at sea which further
illustrates his animalike tenacity: "I fought Death in frothing
tombs. ... I held my stubborn soul between my teeth, like meat,
and when day broke, stretched out my hands, grabbed at the
world." (8) While Odysseus' son and wife regard him with
reverential fear, his people have become a raging mob to be
reckoned with:
31


The murderer glared into his peoples eye's, but spoke not;
two roads within him opened up for possible action:
should he unleash on the coarse herd his lion-mind
that men and demigods and even gods disdained,
or pity his poor people, open his arms wide
and merge serenely with his flock like a good sheperd?
He weighed both well, and finding pity to his advantage,
opened his arms and hailed his people with feigned joy.
At this point, Odysseus is more of a wolf than a good shepherd to
his people. They fear him and ultimately bow down to his
intimidating presence. The animal and nature imagery reflects
Odysseus' relationship with the world around him as illustrated
in the mood of his homecoming:
The double shepard led like a bellwether and heard
behind him the mob flooding like a rumbling herd
and suddenly felt his body dead and living both,
a sunburnt, many breasted, many-souled thing full
of eyes and mouths and tentacles that seized his isle
and growled, a shepherd, sheep, sheep dog and wolf all told.
Absurd, contrary longings leapt within his breast,
but he held firm the reigns of his capricious soul
and when he reached his castle, passed in silence through
the blood drenched threshold with its two stone lion guards
and his son followed boldly like a lions whelp.
The torches choked in embers and the stars leapt low
like hungry glaring wolves in a dark wood
Odysseus reached his hairy hands in his wild court
and doublebarred his copper banded groaning gates
The gardens moaned like caverns and the palace roared
till the crowd backed in terror, for in the star's light
it seemed the guardian lions moved their stony jaws ...
The lone man climbed the tower to calm his seething mind.
32


[12]
Odysseus, "the lone man," is alienated from his spiritual nature as
well as his family and people. They represent the chains that
cage him in the bestial realm of his duality. Ithaca represents
the material world of the flesh which keeps him from knowing
the potential of his Apollonian yearnings.
Kazantzakis' Dionysian and primal imagery mirror the darker
aspects of Odysseus' atavistic yearnings. During the feast
Odysseus gives for his people, the origins of his atavistic urges
are revealed as the chief minstrel sings of his ancient
forefathers and the three fates that blessed him in his cradle.
First, there is Tantalus who personifies the Dionysian realm of
his duality and bequeaths to Odysseus his "forever unsatisfied
heart." From Prometheus, the second fate, he inherits "the mind's
blazing brilliance." The third fate that blesses Odysseus is
Heracles who "bathed him in the fire of the spirits laborious
struggle toward purification." The three ancient forefathers
enliven The Odyssey and guide the way for their grandsire's
spiritual metamorphosis.
33


Desire for the journey is first influenced by the nature of
Tantalus. The punishment endured by Tantalus, for crimes against
the gods, was to feel eternal hunger and thirst. He was hung in a
marsh up to his neck, but could not quench his thirst because the
waves of water teased and withdrew each time he bent his head
to drink. Similarly, a tree laden with fruit hung just above him,
and each time he reached for a branch, it sprang away. Tantalus
suffered this eternal torture because he was accused of stealing
ambrosia and nectar from the gods and serving it to mortals. He
was also accused of serving his own son Pelops as a dish when he
ran out of their food at a banquet for the gods. While this last
accusation is particularly gruesome, what is most remembered
about Tantalus is his torture and the word derived from his name:
tantalize. The tantalizing wish to leave home and take a journey
across the sea is part of the Tantalus legacy which compels
Odysseus to forever hunger for adventure and thirst for new
experience.
The second fate to bless Odysseus and influence his journey is
34


Prometheus who bequeathed to him "the minds blazing brilliance."
Prometheus, one of the Titans, was considered the wisest of his
race. He was said to have stolen fire from the gods to give to
mankind whom he had created. As punishment for stealing from
Hephaestus' forge, Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock in the
Caucasus Mountains, where each day an eagle ate his liver which
regenerated at night.ater, Heracleswhile passing through the
Caucasus region, killed the eagle with a bow and arrow and
released Prometheus.42 Prophecy was also one of the powers
that Prometheus possessed. He instructed Heracles on how to
obtain the golden apples by informing him that only Atlas could
pick them from the Hesperides garden.43 With Prometheus' legacy
of intelligence and prophecy, Odysseus envisions and realizes the
potential for wisdom and spiritual knowledge that his journey
brings.
Odysseus' third fate and forefather is Heracles, whose original
42 Pierre Grimal. The Dictionary of Classical Mythology
("New YorkBasil Blackwell Publisher1989) 394.
43 Grimal, 394.
35


nameAlcides, means strength.44 Since Heracles was son of Zeus
by Alcemene, from the time he was born, Hera vented her anger at
him. First Hera was said to have sent two huge snakes in his
cradle which he strangled, one in each hand. Later, she struck him
with madness which caused him to murder his children. For his
crime, he served the King of Mycenae, Eurystheus, for twelve
years. Eurystheus also gave Heracles the Twelve Labors with the
main objective of ridding the world of a number of monsters.
According to Pierre Grimal, author of the Dictionary of Classical
Mythology, "In mystical thinking, Heracles' Labors came to be
regarded as tests of his soul, which progressively freed itself
from the domination of the body and his passions until his final
deification. "45 In this sense, these "tests of the soul" and the
strength of Heracles become his legacy for Odysseus as they are
manifested throughout his Odyssey.
In classic mythology it is said that Heracles as a young man
lacked self control. In a rage, he killed Linus and was banished to
44 Grimal, 394.
45 Grimal,196.
36


the countryside where he became known for acts of great
strength. Heracles' gift to mankind was one of service. Myth has
it that two women appeared to him in a vision at a crossroad: "I
am pleasure," said one, "and I have many gifts for you. Here are
ease and luxury and wealth, grateful friends and a happy home and
children that will remember you. You shall want for nothing, you
shall endure no toils. You shall never know sorrow. Come with
me." "I am duty," spoke the other, "choose me and you shall be
ever acquainted with hardship. Rest shall be a stranger to you.
Often shall you suffer pain, and grief will often rend your heart.
But mankind will remember you with gratitude. You shall become
a hero to your people. Your name shall live forever. Come with
me."46 Without hesitation Heracles chose the path of duty
According to Max Herzberg. author of Classical Myths, "duty is
sometimes called 'Heracles' choice'."47 The hardships of duty
come true as Heracles performs the twelve labors and also when
he frees Prometheus, the "Fire Giver" of mankind, from his chains
46 Max J. Herzberg, Classical Mythology. ( Norwood: Norwood
Press,1935), 234.
47 Herzberg, 234.
37


in the mountains. Odysseus, like Heracles, is "Everyman" who
seeks to control primal urges through life's "test of the soul" and
thereby transcend or transform these spiritual labors into human
refinement. For Odysseus, the essence of his journey is this
soulful labor.
In the Kazantzakis epic, before Odysseus leaves Ithaca forever,
a great feast is given and the chief minstrel sings of the three
great fates that blessed him:
Three savage dragons hung like swords, over your head!
And I, who night and day consort with gods and demons,
whose mind like a high threshing floor corrals the wind,
i Saw in the dark and recognized those three great dragons.
First, like a topless cedar tree by lightning seared,
Tantalus stood, forefather of despairing mankind;
with vulturous claws he tore at his voracious chest,
uprooted his abysmal heavy heart, stooped low,
and wedged the graft deep in your own still tender breast,
your cradle blazed as though your entrails had caught fire,
The middle fate then raised its awesome brow,
and I with trembling recognized Prometheus, the minds master,
who in his wounded hand, that softly glowed,
now held the seed of great light, and stooping over your skull
gently unstiched the tender threads, and sowed the seed.
Then the third dragon lit a fire and threw for kindling
huge looms and thrones and gods to swell the unsated blaze.
But I seized him in time, held tight, and whispered in his ear:
"Hold on! These three great fates are gifting your grandson!
that dragon with the red locks of a lion's mane is Heracles,
that iron sword, that famous athlete."
Stumbling, the old man grabbed a column, mute with awe;
38


and when the soaring conflagration licked the roof,
the dragon seized your infant form, flung it in flames,
and you flushed crimson, rose like flickering tongues and leapt
to the gilt beams and fluted with singing blaze.
The whole night through you laughed and played, refreshed in
fire,
and we struck dumb, rejoiced in your salvations wonder,
embraced each other tight as our tears flowed in streams.
The first cock crowed in courts, and the great dragons
scattered like clouds and vanished in the downy air of dawn.
[39]
Upon hearing this, Odysseus became angry with himself for
wanting to settle down and abandon more adventurous paths
toward knowledge and exploration. In Friar's synopsis, he states
that at this point Odysseus realizes he has "a more primitive
atavistic ancestor in his blood." With this revelation, a central
conflict and paradox is introduced as Odysseus begins to
acknowledge his "primitive atavistic" heritage, together with the
desires of his mind and spirit. This conflict is underscored when
Odysseus abandons the material comforts of his family and
kingdom in pursuit of adventure. He is motivated by the legacy of
Tantalus and the primal urges of the flesh while also longing for
greater knowledge and spiritual insight. The chief minstrel sings
of Tantalus as the "forefather of despairing mankind" who
39


bequeaths to Odysseus "a heavy heart." Throughout his journey
Odysseus often despairs over his struggle to reconcile these
seemingly contrary aspects of himself. In this sense, Odysseus is
also like "Everyman" who battles with himself in the struggle
between the flesh and the spirit. Kazantzakis himself must have
identified with Odysseus as "Everyman" and also as "Everyman's
hero/god.M In Savior's of God, the seed of The Odyssey, the idea of
"Everyman," hero, and god are one and the same. The heroic
mythological forefathers, Odysseus' crew of desperados, the
prostitutes, the Don Quixote, the messiah and the Buddha
characters are all aspects of humanity and a composite of
possibilities of "Everyman." All the character images form a
kaleidoscope of Kazantzakis' vision of Odysseus as "Everyman," as
well as an autobiographical conception. Tantalus, Prometheus,
and Heracles, along with the messiah and Buddha figures,
represent aspects of Odysseus that long passionately to serve
mankind. This longing to be of service is also an aspect of the
higher potentials in "Everyman" and all of humanity. After
40


hearing Odysseus lash out at himself for the idea of staying home
on Ithaca, his son is revolted: "Telemachus once more curses a
father who seems to be all that is contradictory, restless and
unappeased, revolutionary yet autocratic, atavistic and savage."
While the restless fate of Tantalus proves to be a mixed blessing,
the second forefather, the "mind's master" gives to Odysseus "the
seed of great light." In this sense Prometheus illuminates the
way of Odysseus' journey. The journey itself is most
characterized by the third forefather and dragon called the "iron
sword," Heracles, who throws the infant Odysseus in the fire. The
sword and fire represent the "tests of the soul" which cut away
the chaff and finally purify the spirit. Similarly, the adventures
of his journey become a kind of trial by fire or battle of the soul
and mind against primitive and atavistic desires.
For companions and crew on his journey, Odysseus recruits
desperado and picaro figures who characterize the more primitive
extensions of himself. As Prevelakis puts it:
Odysseus rails at every kind of taboo. The men he takes with
him on his new wanderings are the dregs of society: a wolf, a
41


glutton, a half wit, a fugitive from justice ... No sooner do they
make a second landing than they steal, seduce and kill. Odysseus
himself tramples on honor and hospitality and later becomes a
mocker of the gods, a pimp, an incendiary and a grave robber.
When he gathers his forces for the exodus in the desert
[Rhapsody XII], he enlists men from the stake and the gallows:
murderers, robbers, perjurers, pregnant harlots and bastards.
He traces a line on the sand with his sword.48
He who has never killed or stolen or not betrayed
or murdered in his mind, let him now rise and leave.
[73-74]
Certainly "Everyman" has "murdered in his mind," therefore,
everyone can join Odysseus' crew. Here again, Odysseus'
desperado crew is a reflection of "Everyman" and one aspect of
mankind's dual nature. Odysseus, the murderer and desperado,
undergoes transformation as The Odyssey evolves, yet he
maintanes his "contempt for established morality, the scorn for
respectability." Prevelakis writes: "The spirit of Odysseus
belongs to the humble, to the hungry, and particularly to the
outcast. He blesses the courtesan Margaro, whom he meets after
his second retreat, and justifies her erotic struggle."
(XVIII,1165-84) Later, when Odysseus sets out on his final
voyage to leave the world, he begs for food from his "painted
48 Prevelakis, 83.
42


sisters" at their brothels. An old whore, Dame Goody, pities him
and brings him all of her pomegranates:
He gently touched the thin knees of the much-kissed whore:
"Dame Goody, if a god exists to pay a man's good deeds,
he'll sit you throned on high beside his greatest warriors ..."
[1385, 1392-94]
Dame Goody, the "limping, white-haired, one toothed" whore
symbolizes human virtue.49 She is another Kazantzakis character
who represents humanity in its duality and potential. She is the
last one to say goodbye to Odysseus upon his final voyage.
Prevelakis writes: "The great vitality of the poem derives mainly
from the energy of the titanic natures of Odysseus and his
companions. There is no need to add that it is the poet who has
given them their blood."5 In this way, with such titanic energy
and Dionysian drives, Kazantzakis enlivens The Odyssey, its hero,
and all his companions. First, Odysseus picks Captain Clam, "the
shaggy, battered old sea wolf. 'Ahoy, new voyages rise in my
heart once more! You've only one life, Captain Clam, don't let it
rot' . Crouched on the sand, old Captain Clam began to growl like
49 prevelakis, 83.
50 Prevelakis, 93.
43


a ship's dog just freed of its confining leash" (53). The second
crewmate he selects is Hardihood, the redhaired hulking
bronzesmith with a red stain like an octopus on his right cheek.
Then after the third day of hunting for his crew, he "found broad-
buttocked Kentaur rolling in the street ... he saw sprawled in the
middle of the road a monstrous beast whose hairy chest dripped
with a mess of wine and food. . Odysseus kicked the drunken pig
with scorn, 'I like this mountain of fat meat your soul lugs round
like a gold scarab rolling its black ball of dung'." (54) Kentaur is
the gluttonous companion who most personifies the Dionysian and
dualistic extension of Odysseus' own nature as well as
humanities:
They've named me Kentaur well, for in my greasy loins
I feel two monstrous rivers clash, then swirl and roar;
the one's called God, the other Beast, and I dead center."
The unsated fisher laughed, then threw his sharp harpoon:
"Follow me then, broad beast, come board my feathery craft
for ballast."
[54]
Kentaur and the rest of the crew built Odysseus' ship by day, ate
and drank by night, and then descended on the village widows:
Time and again at midnight they would disappear,
44


don bullhides, paint themselves like gods, then hug the walls
and poke themselves into the homes of mortal men.
They'd find the lonely widows, girls in their first sleep,
lower their voices, flap their wings and spread their pelts'
pretending to be gods who deigned descend to earth
and plant immortal children deep in thankful mortal wombs....
Thus did the days roll by in work, the nights in play,
A rumor spread from town to town that demons lashed
their king who all night long danced naked in the moon,
assumed a thousand dragon shapes, turned to a ghoul
and ravaged lambs, or fell on babes and ate them whole,
or laughed with sirens by the shore changed to a sprite.
"Witches with your strong brews, your spells, your charms, your
arts, come heal our pain, enchant the choking dog, alas,
that leaps on all our flocks! Bind him with cricks and cramps!"
Thus did the shepard cry, and brought the witches herbs.
[57]
The image of Odysseus dancing naked under moon light and
devouring babies reflects rituals from the cult of Dionysus. Even
while the town was in a panic over their King's behavior,
Odysseus and his companions continued their play at night and
shipbuilding by day. Before their ship was finished they added
two more mates to the crew, Granite a mountaineer, and Orpheus
to play music and sing for them.
but as the wasp clings to the grape and sucks it dry,
so did the comrades seize and glean each fleeting hour.
Where they were going or toward what goal or what they
wished
and what sword hung above them ready to cut them down
they scorned to ask themselves a moment even in thought.
45
[560-64]


Odysseus' only thought was to set sail for Sparta and leave Ithaca
forever. The legacy of Tantalus had already been set in motion.
On Sparta, Odysseus convinces Helen to leave Menelaus and come
away with him to Crete and new adventures. After a three-day
storm at sea they arrive at a harbor near Knossos. Helen and
Odysseus meet a peasant who tells them it is a holy day and that
their senile king, Idomeneus, is communing in a cave with the
Priestess of the Bull-God. Later, Idomeneus orders Helen to be
his ritual bride and Odysseus put to death, but Helen only submits
when Odysseus is finally let go. At the bull rituals, the nature of
Tantalus and Dionysus presides:
Helen lies naked, besides a hollow bronze cow. As a herd of
trained bulls is let loose in the arena, Helen calls out, in ritual to
be saved from the Bull-God, but Diktena and her Holy Harlots
exhort her to submit. Krino defends the body as a chaste and
pure instrument of God, and Diktena as flesh to be offered him in
sacrifice and lustful rites. As the pre-rituals end, and the Holy
Harlots scatter amorously amid the archons, we are given
glimpses of the hard lot of slaves in contrast to the decadent
court... Gradually in Odysseus an almost Christian
consciousness of the world's suffering is being awakened, and a
sense of responsibility toward pain and oppression. He is dazed
by the rot and stench of the civilization. At this moment,
Diktena claims him for her partner in the orgies to be held that
night, and Odysseus resolves, to Hardihood's disgust, not to
spare himself anything of degradation, knowing that a strong
46


soul cannot be soiled.... At the full moon, the lords and ladies
of the court don the masks and hides of various animals, the
serpent sisters raise Helen and place her in the hollow bronze
cow, the lord and ladies engage in orgiastic lust throughout the
arena, Diktena stuffs Odysseus' mouth with the bulls loins, and
both fall into exotic embrace.5l
While Friar's synopsis earlier refers to Odysseus' awakening as an
"almost Christian consciousness of the world's sufferings," with
Diktena in orgiastic lust he still appears well ensconced in the
animal realm of Tantalus and Dionysus. Yet, when Odysseus
resolves to his friend not to spare himself the degradation, he
almost appears the martyr as a subtle shift in consciousness
begins to emerge. After listening to a slave sing of freedom,
Odysseus vows to join the rebels in their overthrow of the senile
king's decadent rule. When the sacking of Knossos is complete,
Odysseus sails toward Thebes and realizes that "beast and god
have always warred in man, as the spirit sought to evolve into
light through dark atavistic roots."52
..
This spirit seeking to evolve into light represents Odysseus
evolution toward the Fates of Prometheus and Heracles. The
struggle toward the light emerging out of dark atavistic roots
51 Friar, Synopsis from The Odyssey, 785.
52 Friar, 789.
47


relates back again to Odysseus' forefather Tantalus. As the crew
rows down up Nile towards Thebes, they come across an old
Egyptian who is trying to free a huge stone Sphinx from the
encroaching sand. The old Egyptian invites Odysseus and the crew
to his home for a humble meal and his daughters sing to them "of
love, yearning, a home and children." All feel the strong
attraction of home and hearth, Rocky most of all, but they all
reject it for the insatiable and faithless heart."53 Tantalus'
forever unsated heart drives them on, yet their "rejection of home
and hearth" also represent "Herculean duty" and service to
humanity. As they continue up the Nile, they encounter poverty,
drought, and hunger and must plunder and steal just to survive.
Odysseus reminds the crew "that he had never promised them
either women or food, but only Hunger, Thirst, and God, these
three great Joys." He leads them further down the Nile:
Amid crocodiles, snakes, and mud villages till they reach the
desert sands. As they penetrate further and further into the
desert's throat, they pass a human skull filled with bees, a
last blade of green grass, huge carved rocks of past civilization
until weak with hunger and thirst, they clamor to return.54
53 Friar, 789.
54 Friar, 792.
48


The image of "a human skull filled with bees" in the "desert's
throat" enlivens the most chaotic and threatening aspects of the
Tantalus legacy and humanitie's potential. Yet, in a practical
sense, Tantalus also drives them on by their desires so that they
eventually find food and water and the source of the Nile. The
source of the Nile is also representative of god and the spiritual
potential of mankind. Here Odysseus decides to build his ideal
city and comes to realize more fully the fates of Prometheus and
Heracles as well as Tantalus. Granite declares:
He now knows for what two causes he'd give his life: for that
which scorns men's comfortable virtues and tirelessly seeks to
find further horizons, and for that which declares that hunger
and thirst are what impel men to explore and to seek.
Odysseus agrees and carries this thought further: that salvation
and destruction are one, for only by the dissolution of what has
been accomplished can man enlarge his spirit and reach his own
salvation.55
Here, Friar's synopsis again implies a synthesis of the dual
aspects of salvation and destruction. Kazantzakis' Buddhist
influence, however, would suggest that this passage refers more
to the transcendence of the ego so that salvation/enlightenment
may be attained. Later, Odysseus evolves further in his
55 Friar, 793.
49


transformation when he climbs to a mountain top to commune
with God and make plans for his ideal city. On top of the
mountain Odysseus stays in a cave for seven days and nights and
connects with primordial memories and the heritage of his
forefathers:
He looks in the yellow eyes of his leopard cub and sees himself
as mankind's prototype, a caveman. Atavistic memories seethe
within him, cruel hates and shameless longings in which his soul
lies smothered; he becomes aware of man's fathomless line of
evolutionary development from inanimate nature to all forms of
animate nature, to man, to spirit. At sunset he sleeps on the
rock and dreams that his heart and mind quarrel like an old
married couple.. .. When the eternal outcry in man shouts for
help, the mind scurries away, but the heart pours out her blood
in order that the phantom forefathers may drink and revive....
Only when his three great Fates approach does Odysseus give
them his blood to drink. Tantalus drinks, and then accuses
Odysseus of planning to build a city and to settle down, of
betraying the unappeasable heart, the restless search. Heracles
drinks, and Odysseus hails him as that hero who in twelve labors
pummeled man's flesh into a refinement of spirit, and weeps to
see him now emaciated by death. Heracles urges Odysseus to
complete the task he himself had left unfinished, to push on to
the thirteenth and final labor (immortality), though he cannot
discern what it may be.56
Here also, Kazantzakis' motif, representative of humanity, is seen
in the yellow eyes of his leopard cub. The cub reflects the
atavistic aspect of mankind and Odysseus. In seeing himself as
56 Friar, 795-96.
50


man's prototype, Odysseus takes on the great responsibility and
service of being a model for humanity. In this sense, the motif of
humanity and salvation reflects Kazantzakis' messiah complex,
which is also seen in The Odyssey's preceding philosophical
thesis Saviors Of God. The old married couple in the above
passage are also representative of humanity by their dual natures
of mind and heart.
Heracles, Odysseus' hero, represents not only service to
humanity, but its salvation as well. In a further parallel to the
myth of Heracles, J.E. Cirlot writes:
As a hero, Heracles became a symbol of the individual freeing
itself in the quest for immortality, expiating his sins and errors
through suffering and "heroic striving." In this way he was able,
for his own sake and for that of his brother, to conquer,
exterminate or master all monsters (symbolic of plagues, vices
and the forces of evil within the ordered and gradual process of
evolutionary struggle).57
Similarly, Odysseus' heroic striving parallels that of his
forefathers as he also must conquer monster; however, his are
more psychological in nature than the twelve labors of Heracles
or his Homeric counterparts. In this way, Kazantzakis combines
57 j.E.Cirlot. A Dictionary of Symbols (New York, Dorset ,1991)
51


his philosophical, religious and political beliefs with
mythological symbolism to recreate the modern version of
Odysseus spiritual struggle.
In Book X, Odysseus becomes involved again in politics with
the rebellion in Egypt against hunger and exploitation. After
suffering a head wound, he is thrown into the Pharaoh's dungeon
with three other revolutionaries: Scarab, Nile, and Hawkeye. They
invite him to join their revolution and "Odysseus replies he does
not know whether he loves the bestial peasant or whether he
simply no longer wants to side with the decadent nobles, but a
cry in his heart urges him to join the revolutionaries." When
Odysseus is freed he tells the Pharaoh that a new race of
barbarians is taking over his land and that the ruling class in
Egypt is doomed. This section of The Odyssey retells human
history and reveals Kazantzakis' socialistic sympathies. When
Odysseus is finally let go and the crew sail to*wards Thebes,
"Odysseus realizes that beast and god have always warred in man,
as the spirit sought to evolve into light throughout dark atavistic
52


roots. He knows now that the ultimate destination is to free God
as far as possible from the beast toward more and more
salvation."58 This realization reflects a certain understanding of
his Dionysian and Apollonian natures while marking a shift in his
own psychic transformation toward the spiritual and creative and
giving service to mankind.
While Tantalus relentlessly pushes Odysseus toward new
trials and discovery, Prometheus reveals and illuminates his mind
and vision. On the fourth day on the mountain:
he sees his third Fate, Prometheus nailed to a rock, and
addresses him as father of flame and brain, as the brave
mind of god-battling man, as one who stabilized man on
earth and yet impelled man's mind toward the sun.. . Odysseus
now plunges beyond his particular race and into a feeling of
brotherhood for all races, realizing that he and all men are units
in the evolutionary stream of all mankind.59
Just as Prometheus gave the gift of fire to mankind, he also
enlightens Odysseus' primordial senses further with the
realization of his synchronous relation to nature and the whole
human race. Still, Odysseus continues the journey that further
tests and refines his soul:
58 Friar, 789.
59 Friar, 796.
53


This insistent struggle toward purer and purer refinement some
call Love, some God, some Death, and some an Outcry. The soul
now seems to Odysseus but a wick which the flaming spirit
consumes as it yearns for other kindling, that it might burn a
more rarefied light. He vows to build an ideal city that will
embody his vision forever. Singing with joy, Odysseus suddenly
sees a vision of God undergoing many forms: as Tantalus, as
Heracles, as Prometheus, as charging armies that symbolize the
military campaign of the spirit, and finally as an old vagabond,
an outcast constantly scorned and persecuted, in whom may be
seen the savage bitterness, the spite, the unfathomed eyes/the
flickering flames that glittered in his eyes like snakesthe
bloodstained road he climbed with grief. Odysseus is wrung with
compassion, and then filled with serenity as the setting sun and
the full moon glow simultaneously on opposite sides of the
horizon.6
The military campaign of the spirit, Tantalus, Prometheus, and
Heracles are the catalytic agents which lead Odysseus in struggle
and spiritual conflict towards transformative revelations. At
this point in The Odyssey, after seven days on the mountain in
meditation, Odysseus has reached a certain level of conciliation
between the warring factions of his mind and heart, and his
primordial and spiritual nature, symbolized by "the setting sun
and the full moon glowing simultaneously on opposite sides of the
horizon." Tantalus, Heracles, and Prometheus, as the charging
armies of the spirit, along with the old vagabond who is the
60 Friar, 797.
54


persecuted outcast, collectively represent humanity while
Odysseus awakens to his synchronous connection to them.
Apollonian inspiration leads Odysseus to build an "ideal city" as a
gift to his new found sense of humanity. The passages of
Odysseus through Dionysian and Apollonian realms of flesh and
spirit can be drawn from Kazantzakis' text and from Friar's
synopsis. Yet, what is equally striking and perhaps more
significant, is the collective motifs representative of humanity
and the journey itself representing the life of mankind.
55


CHAPTER 4
TEXT ANALYSIS: BOOK XVI-XX
In Book Sixteen, Nietzsche's ideal of tragic optimism bears out
as Odysseus' crew and new community prepare to celebrate the
completion of his "ideal city." After harsh seasons of labor, the
gay and festive mood of the people contrast an ominous and
foreboding sky as the city awaits its Christening by their leader.
Even though Odysseus is not Christ-like, neither is he the
seething desperado who left Ithaca. His forefather Tantalus
spurred him on, yet now Odysseus takes on the benevolence of
Prometheus towards his fellow man. At this point however, he is
still somewhere between Dionysian wildness and Apollonian
reason. His manner and severity are reminiscent of Moses:
"Brothers, our fingertips flash fire like God's own;
when our hands touch the world, the world's face is
transformed.
Each soul holds round itself its special threshing floor
of passions, dreams, and thoughts, of mortals, beasts, and
trees.
Forward, my brothers, free them and you free your souls!
If you're a worker, plow the earth, help her to bear;
if you're a soldier, throw the sharp spear ruthlessly
56


for its your task to kill, though others may show pity.
God smothers in the foe, he chokes and cries out, "Help!
0, kill this body, Son, that I may climb still further!"
If you're a woman choose your mate with extreme care,
yoke tight the strongest man like a great ox with smiles
and tears to sow you children in your fecund womb;
the female God within you chooses him, not you!
[476-77]
Whether male or female, Odysseus' ideal of god/woman/man is
not a passive one. In Odysseus' "ideal city" the meek do not
inherit the earth or heaven. In Odysseus, Kazantzakis conjures up
the image of Moses laying down the law with the passion of fire
and brimstone. Unlike Moses however, Odysseus proclaims that it
is man's duty to continually free the god within himself:
When the archer saw the sun, he seized his chiseling tools
and walked about his city walls to carve new laws,
loud voices and commands tormented his dark head ...
Sparks flew until his slabs of stone caught fire,
his beard and hair filled with blue smoke and flying chips,
but he bent low and hewed his God to bind him tight
in thick and mystic snares that he might never flee ...
He chiseled ten dark slabs of rock with ten commands:
"God groans, he writhes within my heart and cries for help."
"God chokes within the ground and leaps from every grave."
"God stifles in all living things, kicks them, and soars."
"All living things to right or left are his co-fighters."
"Love wretched man at length, for he is you my son.
"ove plants and beasts at length, for you were they, and now
they follow you in war like faithful slaves."
"Love the whole earth, and all its waters, soil, and stones;
on these I cling to live, for I've no other steed."
"Each day deny your joys, your wealth, your victories, all."
57


"The greatest virtue on earth is not to become free
but to seek freedom in a ruthless, sleepless strife."
He seized the last rock then and carved an upright arrow
speeding high toward the sun with pointed thirsty beak;
the last command leapt mutely on the empty stone
to the archer's joy as though he'd shot his soul into the sun.
Odysseus' ten commands and building the "ideal city" as his duty
and gift to mankind, symbolize his attempt at uniting humanity
and himself with the spirit of God, "as though he'd shot his soul
into the sun." Still the "ideal city" cannot be a reality and
Odysseus' faith crumbles just as his buildings do. Odysseus
glorifies in the attempt, but loses faith when he sees the whole
city vanish into nothingness. He cannot fathom Nietzche's
"exaltation of tragedy as the joy of life," yet later he will.
Kazantzakis' entrancing imagery contrasts mankind's hopes and
dreams in the building and subsequent destruction of Odysseus'
"ideal city":
The air grew more ethereal, smelled of mountain musk ...
The lone man's full heart danced, his spreading city
gleamed,
white and untouched, like a bulcalf just bom that lifts
its large eyes slowly to the world for the first time.
When in his brain he'd hatched it like an egg, he had
not thought such a bright, wide winged hawk would burst in
air.
58


always the soul casts up high, unexpected peaks!
The archers eyelids fluttered with great happiness:
"0 my bright city, shield of God, my body's thought"
[480]
A heavy heat and stifling clouds rolled down, rocks broiled,
the lead sky slowly melted in thick sweating drops
and not a single tree leaf rustled or wing moved ...
[480]
In ironic contrast to the heavy and ominous skies, the city down
below is a bustling with joy and preparing for a bright future:
The bride-wreathed streets and byways smelled of flowering
boughs,
and noisy childfilled courtyards chirped like poplar trees
that, as the sun sets, sing with nests and fluttering wings.
In all the women's quarter, new-baked wheaten bread
swelled in the ovens and filled all hearts with fragrant scent,
a plump maid who would soon give birth, heaved a deep sigh ...
The archons proud eyes filled with tears of brimming joy.
Give birth, increase on earth, lie in each other's arms ...
He murmured, then stopped in joy before a curly boy
who swaggered proudly by in the conceit of youth,
his bold eyed slashed by inexpressible deep dreams.
The young man swung like a cock, and every lane
burst into bloom, the cobbles shone like precious stones,
the rooftops sprang like banners, young girls cast their musk,
and even the humble hungry hen plumed like a peacock;
Death held a crimson rose and waved it in his hand.
[482]
A crimson rose symbolizes the beauty and passion of life, and
here it is surrounded by burgeoning images of humanity: babies
being born, bread baking, and young girls casting their musk
around swaggering young men. Then, Death waves a crimson rose
59


and Odysseus' ideal vision turns to ashes: "The suffering man
watched how the leprous shadow ate the full moon's cool
refreshing face that rose with calm till only the white brow
remained like a lean scythe. Night swooped on earth with greedy
lips, stars burst to view, and silent flashes flickered at the sky's
dark rim" (483). The annihilation of Odysseus' ideal city
symbolizes the destruction of hope in the midst of awesome
beauty. Odysseus rages against God:
0 ungrateful wretch!...
Never shall I forgive and bend down to that vain,
that senseless dark which blots the holy light of man!
Then he trashed out with rage against his ruthless god
"You fool, how in your greatest need can you abandon
most glorious man who lives and fights to give you shape?
You fill our hearts with cries and vehement desires,
then sink your ears in silence and refuse to listen;
but man's soul will fight on, you coward, without your help!"
His heart leapt high, spurned Death, and in the black air cut
a thousand roads to fly through on a thousand wings,
then, screeching like a hawk, strove to unwind what fate
had woven.
Odysseus' rage at God is also "Everyman's" rage and frustration in
the face of terrible pain and desolation. Odysseus, like Christ,
accuses God of abandoning humans. Like Odysseus and Tantalus,
60


"Everyman" has wondered and been tormented by desires that go
unfulfilled and prayers that seem unheard. Victory and defeat can
be compared to the journey and the destination. It is the
undaunting and valiant effort that makes the journey victorious
and this is the great affinity that Odysseus shares with humanity.
In spite of his apparent dejection, he attains new vitality and
direction. While the survivors curse God as the destroyer who
burned away their loved ones, along with all hope, Odysseus' hair
turns white as he witnesses the carnage and suffering around
him: "I see new seed before me and a new race of men. He spoke
and once again their shriveled hearts grew bold." (493) The
rejection of God and Odysseus' reference to a "new race of men"
reflects the existentialist influence of Nietzsche and the
Promethean aspirations of his second forefather. Nietzche's "new
race of men" parallels Prometheus' intention when he stole fire
from Zeus so that humans could have intelligence. For
Prometheus' indescretion against the gods, he was cast out and
bound to a mountain. Similarly dejected, Odysseus and what is
61


left of his crew approach the existential abyss:
"From now on Death and God are one! May they be cursed!"
God seemed to him a crocodile in the sea's midst
that shuts its cunning black eyes and pretends to sleep;
then man takes courage, climbs its scaly back,
grabs trowel, clay, and stone and builds his tall dream-town,
then couples on the savage scales and fills his cradles;
but when the brainless monster suddenly flicks its back;
ail, souls and rocks and swaddling clothes, roll in the waves.
[494]
The primitive crocodile is a metaphor and image often used by
Kazantzakis to portray the savage power of God who also reflects
nature as well as man himself. The metaphor symbolizes an
impersonal God who is also like the power of nature itself.
When Granite later finds Odysseus sitting cross-legged on the
ground, "his white hair like dandelion fluff was plucked and swept
in the sun and wind" (495). Granite panics at the thought that his
captain might be giving up:
"Great Captain, rise!
The earth is good, don't leave her now, take up your arms,
become your people's guide once more and cleave new roads!"
These words surged up and hung on Granites trembling lips
but his voice choked in his tight throat, he staggered back,
for the lone man turned slowly, speared him with his dark eyes
as his mind marched beyond all sorrow, joy, or love
desolate, lone, without a godand followed there
deep secret cries that passed beyond even hope or freedom.
62


[495]
From the depths of despair, Odysseus regains the strength of
Heracles as Kazantzakis' illustrates his renewal with dramatic
nature imagery. His recovery is portrayed as a metamorphosis:
Untamed Odysseus raised his head on high and hung
above the chasm and sank into the terror of thought.
The contours of his brain glittered like mountain peaks ...
his soul cut cleanly from the worm, became all silk,
and slowly wove its fine cocoon in the empty air.
As the fierce sun grew dim, his memory grew sweet,
leopards passed by like sighs, and the worlds holy myth
like an enchanted prince was drowned in the swift stream.
The inner rose burst into bloom and sucked his heart,
his mind grew light, and the starved flesh turned into spirit.
[496]
In Odysseus' rejection of God as "the world's holy myth," he turns
more toward an existentialist reality and embraces the Dionysian
and primal spirit in nature and himself:
Now, the great forest sups and clacks its tongue with greed,
varied sweet fruit perch on its palate, slowly melt,
and on its bitter lips bees drip pure wild honey.
Far off a pomegranate softly burst and flung its fruit
and the archer's breast was filled with pomegranate seed.
His nostrils quivered as he smelled deeply in woods
fragrance of rotted leaves, waters, and steaming soil,
white hidden jasmine sprays that blossomed in dark wells,
until the great ascetic's eyes brimmed full of tears
and his brains smelled of laurel, thyme, and golden furze,
his fingers dripped with the thick musk of too much love....
As days and nights plucked off their hours like daisy petals
Odysseus questioned all like a great lover in pain.
63


[498]
Odysseus revels in the sensations of his own flesh and then
rejects the painful distortions aroused by the dichotomy of the
mind and body: "What do I want with the mind's hollow
satisfactions, why should I seek god in the clouds." (500) Here,
Odysseus realizes the essence he gives to his own existence in
contrast to the delusion of it descending out of the clouds.
Kazantzakis' existential metaphor, of Odysseus giving essence
and divinity to himself rather than seeking it from God, is
enlivened through his use of evocative and sensual imagery:
One morning as his body glowed rose-red in the sun,
and all his senses, his five bronze-etched weapons, shone,
he fondled his lean sides, his loins, his armored head,
and its hide shuddered to recall all it had borne
and joyed in-sun, rain, sea-drift, women, wounds-until
he suddenly felt a tender love for his maligned,
most faithful body, raised his hands and blessed it wholly.
[498]
with his swift dancing till it dwindled and cast sharks
like a shy bride surrendering in a man's wild arms ...
I rise high on the shores of time, I shape, reshape
with water, blood, and sand the adventures of all man ...
When the great dancer had danced his fill, he shrank like fire,
the burning stones grew calm, the world stood still once more,
and as he panted, the brain sucking man could hear
hjs blood leap frothing through his flesh from head to toe.
64


The ever present "flesh" in Kazantzakis' rhapsodies reflects
Odysseus' existential identity embodying Dionysian sensuality.
As the existential hero becomes more enlivened, The Odyssey
paradox becomes even more distinct. Odysseus, now the
existential ascetic, is still mired in flesh:
His soul hung over the cliff, all phallus and all womb.
I'm the warm womb that gives me birth,
the grave that eats me.
The circle is now complete, the snake has bit its tail.
He felt he tossed the sun and moon in both hands.
It must be an ascetic who dwells in flesh of flame!
It must be an ascetic who cools his soul in fire.
[516]
[518]
[518]
[518]
[523]
By Book XVII, Odysseus the ascetic has acquired a following that
reveres him as a messiah. Still there is something of the warrior
and the heritage of Heracles that stays with him as he fights
another war inside himself:
"Always a sweet light drunkenness impels my heart.
I've passed through mountains, countries, seas,
I've conquered towns
I've juggled women's heads and breasts high in the air,
and through my open fingers blood-rubies flow,
but still my hearts not gorged, nor are my hands replete.
I always think I've touched a girl for the first time.
65


climbed up a castle for the first time or held it tight
like a red apple, cooled my hand for the first time.
My heart strains like a ships sail and my body creaks,
black women wave from beaches with white lotuses."
The striking image of black women and white lotuses illustrates
Kazantzakis' continuing motif and paradox of humanity: the flesh
and the spirit. The black and white images also figure as vivid
symbols for the Dionysian and Apollonian conflict. "Mind" and
"War" are also evidenced in the paradox of humans which Odysseus
reconciles in the following passage:
for in his heart the brother's Mind and War embraced,
and he stood still to enjoy the whole conciliation ...
which was hethe first son, War, or darling Mind,
then laughed, knowing that this was but an ancient myth,
and that both Mind and War, frail thought or sturdy deed,
feather of peacock or the war's unpitying blade,
changed places freely in his juggling hands, just as he pleased.
Odysseus' newfound sense of conciliation between the warring
factions of his soul, mind, heart, and flesh allow him to finally
feel at home in the world.
In Book XVIII, Odysseus dreams of a Dionysian festival:
small hairy demons danced with horse-tails stiffly straight
and beautiful brown-haired Nereids reeled in flowering fields.
Two girls with heads thrust back in rapture beat their drums,
66


an old potbellied satyr dragged a lean he-ass
with cackling cries, a wineskin slung across his back.
A shaggy youth danced in the lead and held aloft
a fertile phallus, that full-weaponed head of hope;
bare-bosomed maenads danced, and flaming apples clashed
and clashed again in apple trees and glowed in night.
A red-haired maiden loosed her hair till flames rushed down
her back, another spread a leopard hide and placed
her virgin thighs as offering to the lurid sky.
The wedding pomp passed through the glen like a swift stream
till youthful Greece's azure seashores gleamed and glowed
as gentle light dripped softly on old olive trees.
[556]
Here again, Odysseus is enraptured in the the sensual delights of
nature and Bacchus and all that is Dionysian. He is nostalgic,
especially for his youth and for his home, Greece, which are both
portrayed in a dreamy mood of eroticism. When Odysseus awoke
from his dream of Greece, he was weak from hunger. A young
negro pitied him and gave him some food to eat. Odysseus'
experience of Africa is a metaphor for the most primal and
atavistic aspects of mankind's heritage of devouring and
insatiable Tantalean desires:
In Africa, night growled like a tall virgin forest
where stars in darkness mutely glowed with dreadful eyes
as though fierce lions, leopards, tigers lay in wait
while scorpio coiled and dripped its venom on the world.
Sometimes night seemed (ike a black rose that drove men wild,
and Death like a small honeydrop lodged in its heart.
67
[559]


Death, fear, and survival are the primal motivations in the wilds
of Africa and in the essential nature of mankind. Darkest Africa,
in its wildness, also represents the darker and bestial nature in
Odysseus. His mind then becomes a metaphor for his ship and the
darker nature of the flesh.
"Good voyage, brimming mind of salvation! Go!
The poor poets of our wretched earth can't hold you now;
and do not deign, 0 Free Heart, ever to return
its sweet to scatter in the dream of nonexistence."
The full-rigged mind then turned and sweetly smiled in shade.
[560]
Odysseus is about to realize a great sense of freedom when he is
approached in a dream by the Black Tempter. The episode is
reminiscent of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the desert:
"The earth has hatched the flame of freedom much to quickly;
I'll rise and smother it with clouds of dust!"
It spoke and a small Negro boy sprang from the ground
with carmine painted nails and gold bells round his throat,
who crawled toward the tree's bole and held in his plump hands
some heavy dust to cast on the loan man's soaring flame.
Odysseus is now referred to as the savior. Like Christ, Odysseus
suffered in his existence and now wants to ease the suffering of
mankind. His gift to humanity is the truth that brings freedom
68


from ignorance and suffering. Odysseus rejects the Black
Tempter:
"Ah, old arch-cunning comrade, my mind's ancient cloak ...
my mind has climbed earth's highest peaks and knows this truth:
I am the savior, and no salvation on earth exists!"
[562]
The cooling flame of freedom wrapped him like a cloak,
life and death merged as though he gently held
jasmine and April roses till their fragrance mingled.
He gleaned within him the double joys of man and god;
in the same luscious meadow, dreams and firm flesh browsed,
his hands rejoiced in fondling all the upper world
and yet his mind rejoiced to scatter it far and wide.
His backbone then began to play like a long flute;
"My house is azure atmosphere, the stones are clouds,
my two town gates are sun and moon, the rafters dreams,
and in my minds green pasture s all thoughts graze like flocks;
my slaves, the gods, stoop low and fetch me fantasies
and in my fingers glow the castles keys, the flame!
Freedom ascends like smoke and holds up the whole world,
my children are the lightnings flash, the winds, the seas,
and death is a bitten apple, an unfolded rose
which I press to my chest till my mind faints with fragrance.
The hornet has lost his pain packed sting, his yellow goad,
and flies on my white-flowered head.
all in my brains distill to quintessential pith,
a puff of blue green smoke, the secret of the world."
[562]
The secret of the world is Odysseus' gift to mankind, yet he does
not quite realize the essence of it himself.
In a caravan, a prince called Motherth seeks out Odysseus, the
ascetic and savior. Prince Motherth's story parallels that of the
69


Buddha before he finds enlightenment. The prince is haunted by
the harsh realities of human existence, such as suffering and
death. Here again, Buddhist ideology is reflected through
Odysseus. Buddhist philosophy says that the root of mankind's
suffering is his desires. Odysseus also points this out:
"Forward! Saved now from the hearts passions, the minds ills,
we freely hang upon this crackling flaming air
all mankind's joys, and write his burning history there!
Some crackpots search for God, thinking perhaps he lurks
somewhere amid the branches of the flesh and mind;
some squander precious life, chasing the empty air
But others, great brain-archers, know the secret well:
By God is meant to hunt God through the empty air!
These tread the high peaks, these hunger satiates;
such border-guards fight bravely on despair's sharp edge.
Odysseus relieves Prince Motherth's despair, yet the
contradiction of Tantalean desires and Buddhist thought remains
unresolved, except for a sense that the hero attains a growing
acceptance of ms nature, in all its aspects. As Odysseus and
Prince Motherth enter the next village, Kazantzakis draws
another parallel with the "world famous" courtesan Margaro and
her equally famous biblical counterpart Mary Magdalene.
Odysseus says to Margaro:
70


Beloved fellow warrior of my dreadful strife,
I saw you somewhere as I fought with shadows once;
I thirsted, you scooped water in your slender palms
and I knelt down like a shy fawn and drank until
I sprouted many-branched and manly horns from joy;
my dear, I shall descent to eat in your cool cool garden shades.
[575]
Odysseus makes love to Margaro in the same way Kazantzakis
portrays Jesus being tempted by Mary Magdalene in The Last
Temptation of Christ. The elaboration here, however, is far more
erotic and sensational:
As the sun dropped on earth like a lush honeyed fig,
the mortal wedding pomp stopped at an arched door
with shameless and erotic signs on its red lintels,
and the old athlete leapt like a youth in the whores court...
His lustrous hand slid slowly on her new-washed hair
then softly licked her temples, ears, her lips, her cheeks,
lingered upon her fluttering lashes, then once more
ascended slowly smoothly to her fragrant hair
till all at once her lovely face grew thin and faded
as though the unsated fingers ate without compassion
The strong soul-snatcher looked at her with pain
then raised his flesh devouring hovering hand above her head:
"Salvation may be sought by seven secret-paths,
and you, Oh much-kissed body, are the most occult.
May the soft mattress of your labors be thrice blessed,
for in your deep refreshing gardens' azure shades
your worldly-wise, forbearing body all night long
draws back the bolts of our salvation with caresses.
Some bring the earths salvation with the mind's bright toys
some with the fruitful drudging goodness of the heart
or with a high proud silence and child bearing deeds
or with the grey horseman, war the murderer.
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But you take lover's lane, open your door with stealth,
clench myrtle sprays between your teeth, place Lethe's flower
a blue bloom on the cliff, within your bosoms cleft.
You merge all bodies into one.
Odysseus redeems Margaro and Kazantzakis once again glorifies
the outcast and desperado. In this manner Odysseus also redeems
humanity as the outcast of what is believed to be divine and
virtuous and upholds the ideal of spiritual grace even within the
"debased flesh."
In Odysseus' encounter with Margaro and Prince Motherth he
again reflects the Buddhist influence. Odysseus is often referred
to as the godslayer which parallels the Buddhist saying "if you
meet the Buddha on the road, slay him." This idea also reflects
the premise upheld in the Renaissance Humanist movement of the
divinity of humans. Odysseus tells Margaro, "there's no you or I,
for ife and Death are one!" Buddhism has it that there is no
separation in "you" or "I" and "Life" and "Death." Odysseus goes on
to say:
Seven well hidden paths lead to salvations grace
and I shall take the path of black despair
and empty my heart of sorrows passions, joys,
forswear, Motherth, all virtues, qlories, deeds and minds!
72


Foreswear earth's creations they are but fantasies.
[575]
Here, earth's fantasies relate to the world of delusions which
Buddhism refers to as unenlightened human perception. Earlier,
Odysseus also refers to the seven paths leading to salvation
which parallel Buddhist ideology in its Eightfold Path and the
eight classes of consciousness from birth to death. 61
With this infusion of Buddhist influence into The Odyssey,
Kazantzakis portrays Odysseus as a man who ultimately embraces
the flesh as well as the mind/spirit because essentially they are
all one, according to Eastern thought. The delusions and despair
that human's suffer are the result of their own conceptions of
"debased flesh" and their mind's distorted preconceptions of how
to act and seek spiritual grace. The Buddhist influence here is
important because it allows Kazantzakis to draw from a personal
philosophic ideal and impart it to his hero so that he thereby is
enabled to embrace the flesh, as well as the spirit.
By the end of Book Eighteen, Odysseus prepares to depart from
61 Philip Kapleau. The Three Pillars Of Zen ( New York :Doubleday
Publishing Group, 1965) 247.
73


his sensual surroundings and matters of the flesh:
As the soul snatcher crossed the young whore's garden plot
he stood upon the threshold with resounding heart
and dragged all things in his eyes for the last time:
the fragrant body of the maid, the downy youth
For a brief flash his eyes grew glazed, he pitied man ...
Behold how here, in Margaro's wide court, my word
leapt up like fire, a pomegranate tree whose boughs
hang heavily down with seven different kinds of fruit....
the sensual whore strains hard to pluck the one most sweet,
but the sad prince would choose with pride the bitter fruit...
"But soon that day will come when freedom and despair
wild brother, savage sister, will meet beneath my word ...
and seven varied fruits will merge in one whole fruit"...
He was once more alone, and turned his white haired head,
nor did his feet know now what road to take, nor did
his mind, that great road-pointer, know what to command;
his soul spread like an open sea, and roads ran everywhere.
[581-82]
"his soul spread like an open sea," and roads running everywhere
relates to the Buddhist idea of Oneness. Odysseus gains this
sense of a synchronous relationship between others and himself
through these exchanges with the world around him. Odysseus
transforms Margaro and Prince Motherth, as well as himself,
through these encounters. For Margaro, Odysseus points out that
she also, in her own way, gives a loving service to humanity and
is worthy of salvation. Prince Motherth is inspired by their
74


meeting and sheds his princely garments and crown to become
more like the ascetic Odysseus. At the crossroads once again,
after meeting the prince and prostitute, Odysseus continues his
journey alone.
In Book XIX, Odysseus begins to confront Death in various
guises:
"I see a dragon in the sky with thrashing tail,
he swoops with open mouth to swallow sun and all!"
"That is no dragon friends, that is no raging storm,
I see Death dash across the fields on his black steed!"
Thus did the eagles quarrel on airs tumultuous peak
while down below on flimsy earth's worm eaten crust
Odysseus stood erect in the fresh dawn and watched ...
He had no God or master now: the four winds blew,
and in his chest his compass-heart led on toward Death
The lone man's mind grew vast, he took a new road then
hung a carnation on his ear and bit his lips
as life flared up and faded on his salty gills
and Death perched like a cricket on his shoulder blade ...
Push on toward the blue sea, 0 slayer! I'll greet you there!"
The sea rose in his loins and flooded all his mind
Thus did Odysseus push on toward his mother, the sea.
[586]
Odysseus' descent out of primitive and Dionysian Africa, back
towards the sea, symbolizes the hero's metamorphosis of flesh
and spirit: "All Flesh had to turned to spirit now, all soul to flesh,
all to swift dance and counter dance led by the mind until he trod
75


on earth no more but like the wrath of a dead saint danced
without wings above his head." (586) The theme of transmutation
and dancing continue to illustrate Odysseus' catharsis and
spiritual evolution. Along the way, back to the sea, "to the vast
womb," Odysseus nurtures his encounters with humanity. The
motif of the sea and the womb reflect further the Buddhist
thought. In the Three Pillars of Zen, Roshi Philip Kapleau states:
'This life is not unlike a wave on the vast ocean; its brief
existence seems apart from the ocean; and in a sense it's not the
oceanbut in substance it is not other than the ocean, out of
which it arose, into which it will recede, and from which it will
emerge again as a new wave. In just the same way individual
consciousness issues from pure consciousness and in its
essential nature is indistinguishable from it.62 Kapleau goes on
to say that their common element is the Void. Odysseus has yet
to fully embrace the Void, which also involves facing his own
immortality.
On his way back to the sea, Odysseus' next human encounter is
62 Kapleau, 362.
76


with Captain Sole who parallels Cervante's Don Quixote:
"Alas, I've studied well our master's air-brained skull:
it billows like an empty gourd with not one seed.
If he goes off his bean, my lads, and takes a shine
to war, and comes to unhook us from our cobwebbed nails,
then farewell bedbugs, idle comforts, beds of dust,
for no soul shall escape our master, Captain ankiest!"
The battered shield once more poked out its timid head
to urge with gallant speech that all withstand their lord ...
He was lean, gangly, gawky, his head flat as a pie,
his hair was matted and his ancient scars were dyed;...
in the sun a bony ancient camel wheezed.
'Lightning, rise up, we're off to war! Let the world flash."
Captain Sole tells his old mother that he's off to war: "Mother I
pity mankind and I hate injustice. I'm off to bring bread, love and
freedom to all mankind." Instead of mistaking windmills for
dragons as Don Quixote does, Captain Sole mistakes a flock of
sheep for the enemy:
But he still flailed his rusty sword in the wilderness
then cupped his eyes against the sun and strained to see
whether the foe or white sheep gleamed on the mountains ridge.
He perked his ear and gaped, yet could not quite make out
whether he heard the clash of arms or a flocks bleating
"Follow me lads, attack! Cut them to shreds! Assault
Lightning take wing, lets reach that manly threshing floor!"
But his old camel reared, then fell flat on her face,
and the bold rider tumbled, stumbled, sprained his ankle.
When Odysseus comes upon old Captain Sole he knows that he has
77


met a kindred spirit. While he admires the old man's fighting
spirit, he can't abide his impracticality. Odysseus rescues
Captain Sole from cannibals and still the old man wants to fight
them. Odysseus tells the old man:
"You're a disarmed old fool! Let well enough alone!:"
But the old codger raged: his dreamy eyes flashed fire:
"So long as slavery, fear, injustice rack the world,
I've sworn my friend never to let my sharp sword rest."
[623]
Captain Sole represents another image of human virtue. In spite
of his unwjtting actions, he reflects the human capacity for
righteous fortitude. Finally, Odysseus admires his friend and
says goodbye:
"You know that you will burn and fade in flame one day
but you assault the deep abyss, turn flame to wing!
Good luck to you, my friend, may your mind know no better-
for you are the earth's crimson wing, the only one she has!"
The "earth's crimson wing," Captain Sole, also represents purity
and freedom in his incorruptible battle of justice for humanity.
In Books XIX and XX, the encounters with the prostitute, the
prince, Captain Sole, and the hedonist demonstrate patterns of
human nature and levels of spiritual potential. The meaning of
78


these encounters reflects aspects of Odysseus himself, as well
as the world at large. The pattern of meaning in these encounters
is left for Odysseus to ponder and understand as he makes his way
out of the forest and back to the sea. In this final passage,
Odysseus encounters others who illuminate more positively the
potential for divinity in the human spirit. The Lord of The Tower,
however, demonstrates the opposite potential.
Captain Sole makes a striking contrast with Odysseus' next
human encounter: The Lord of the Tower. The Lord's surroundings
tell much about the condition of his soul:
sunk in foul stagnant waters, drowned in warm quagmires,
"How can the soul of man live in such vile morass?"
the lone man mused, and longed to meet the tower's lord,
to see what human soul's become in flowering bogs.
[628]
The Lord of the Tower represents the stagnant decadent aspects
of human potential. In contrast to Captain Sole who possessed
purity of spirit and passion for justice, The Lord of the Tower is
devoid of human virtue:
this man nor loved nor hated, all great passions passed
and were refined to nothing in his barren heart;
he was earth's final shriveled bloom, the sterile chaff.
79


[629]
The Lord of the Tower invites Odysseus to a cockfight to study
his reaction. The cockfight is bloody and gruesome and draws the
human parallel of war and man's inhumanity to man. Odysseus is
disgusted by the Lord and his bloody demonstration:
"Time is a clinging shirt of flame that wraps my soul;
for you it's but a cooling muck in which you sink,
slowly with piglike pleasure till all joy is smirched;
aye, lord of mud, farewell, my slim flame says goodbye."
he felt his shaken head pulse as though with cares,
as though he'd seen the last excrescence of the world;
when earth would grow diseased and strength disperse like
smoke,
such sallow shriveled souls would slowly molt in loom.
Odysseus is sickened by his encounter with the ord of the Tower
and gladly resumes his seaward destination. Since the
destruction of Odysseus' Ideal City, his ascetic wanderings
through Africa have provided a universal composite of human
types and potentials. First, there was Margaro, the prostitute.
For Odysseus, she represented the flesh and the primal Dionysian
side of himself. Yet, he also realizes the Apollonian side that
even she possesses. Margaro gives of herself in a way that
involves more than flesh and sex. She gives comfort which is
80


also a form of love, as Odysseus sees it. In his encounter with
the prince, who represents the young Buddha, Odysseus reconciles
the young prince to the realities of suffering in the world, so that
he may go on towards his path of enlightenment. Like the teacher
or healer, Odysseus affirms to those he encounters truths that he
also is trying to realize. With Captain Sole/Don Quixote,
Odysseus recognizes a soulmate in the comic knight's fighting
spirit. Even though Kazantzakis calls him Captain Lackwitts and
Odysseus recognizes the impracticality of his mission, their fight
for humanity is performed in all sincerity. The next encounter
with the hedonist contrasts everything Captain Sole exemplifies,
although he can barely stand. Still, Odysseus can not help but
know that this creature too (the hedonist) is also a part of
humanity and a part of his own atavistic nature to some degree as
well. They reflect multidimensional humanity with its polar
capacities for Apollonian and Dionysian manifestations. Odysseus
consumes the heritage of his forefathers: Tantalus the unsated,
Prometheus "father of flame and brain," and Heracles the tireless
81


warrior of the spirit, thereby transforming himself along with
the humanity he encounters and shares. He absorbs and reflects
his impressions of these encounters in their synchronous relation
to the wheel of life and freedom, as it is either enhanced or
diminished depending on the nature of their heart and actions.
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CHAPTER 5
TEXT ANALYSIS: BOOKS XXI-XXIV
In Book XXI, Odysseus finally reaches the sea again and his
final homecoming. The sea reminds him of his mother, and later,
while playing in the waves, Odysseus remembers his faithful dog
Argus, from Homer's original epic.
The holy voyage once more formed in the archer's mind,
and as he watched the emerald wash in the ships wake ...
The white-haired athlete smiled, took up the road once more
and he dashed down toward the sea, his mother's breast...
He dashed down to the sea shore, caressed the frothing mane,
recalled the other faithful dog, dark eons past,
who in his sullied courtyard wagged its hairless tail
and in defiance of the suitors dashed to greet him.
"Argus !" he cried out in his mind, and the dog leapt
from his far grave, besmirched with mud, and wagged its tail...
He played and shouted with the waves a long time ...
he slept by the sea's foam for many hours....
perhaps his sleepless thoughts like arrowy shuttles sped
from East to West and wove the embroiders he desired.
The embroiders of East and West symbolize the still divided
aspects of Dionysian and Apollonian longings and the atavistic
and spiritual qualities he still desires to hold on to. Not all
aspects of the dualities are desirable or abhorrent; e.g., the
83


hedonist and merciless savage at one extreme, and the
passionless and cold ideal of an ordered and disciplined existence
at the other extreme. The spectrum allows for a maze of
dimensions and possibilities contained in the paradox of human
duality and mythological metaphor:
"By God, at times the whole world seems like a strange myth,
the mind like a bewitched and pallid prince who flings
the hundred gold gates of a haunted palace wide,
all doors adorned with different knockers, varied signs,
but the mind holds key-clusters, opens and walks through."
Before Odysseus ends his own myth, he savors his last earthly
pleasures with a black woman on the beach:
"Let this be my last fondling of a woman's flesh!"...
He smiled softly and fondled the earth within his mind.
When the snow-captain took his fill of the girl's hugs,
he placed about her ankle a bronze ring for thanks.
After this last encounter with a woman's flesh, he becomes
hungry and heads for the town harbor for food. Along the way he
is touched by an old man tending his orchard:
an orchard bloomed where the old gardener stooped
and stroked with tenderness the mane of a bent pine
and pulled it gently down that it might fall with grace
like a large peacock's emerald tail and deck the ground;
84


with an unpitying love, with gentle stubbornness,
the old man swerved and tamed the wild pine's destiny,
until Odysseus marvelled at the mystic strife:
"if only by such fondling I could turn the course
of Death!" the lone man thought, watching the old man
battle the dreadful powers with patience and mute joy.
Just like a skillful, pitiless, erotic hand
he thought, fights with our hearts, and some men call it God,
some fate and humbly bow, but I call it a man's soul
that now has freed itself and takes what shape it wills.
[660-66]
'* i
Odysseus reveres the "mystic strife" of the old gardener in his
blooming orchard and admires the deftness by which he takes hold
of the world around him. The garden symbolizes nature itself
with its dreadful Dionysian powers and the gardener symbolizes a
Godlike human with a "skillful, pitiless, erotic hand."
As Odysseus passes through the town walls, he finds nimself
amid "crooked and expensive lanes of lust":
The sun had set, and rutting males came down in drives
like sting cocks puffing out their glistening feathered chests,
and giggling women waited, row on naked row.
Like shiphead gorgons covered with bright heavy paints,
each stood firm-breasted by her door and laughed as sweat
ran down and thick rough cracked on their wet cheeks, and
dripped.
"Well met, my painted sisters! Your good health and joy!"
Odysseus shouted, right and left, with a wide grin,
but the young hens played shamelessly with his white hair
and the whole district clacked with goading jeers and laughs:
"Welcome to grandpap! Hail to his empty saddlebags!"
The laughter rolled along the lanes like tumbling stones
85


and lone Odysseus felt ashamed, sought where to flee,
like a rhinoceros pecked by myriad goldfinch flocks.
An ancient hag with sagging dugs stood by her door
and held to bursting pomegranates in her hands,
an old, old warrior of love who still could fight
with gallant strive on her worn mattress, old Dame Goody;
and now she ran to help the archer escape the jeers:
"Forgive them, they're still young, old man; youth knows no pity;
here, take these pomegranates to refresh your soul."
Dame Goody illustrates another desperado/picaro who possesses
grace in the midst of decadence. Again, Kazantzakis presents the
paradoxical juxtaposition of human grace in the face of its most
primal appearance. In this sense, Odysseus' experience of the
human tapestry of dualities encompasses the whole
Dionysian/Apollonian paradox. However, his transformation by
these experiences is not quite finished. Odysseus continues on
his way through the village as a beggar and, with bowl in hand, he
receives some bread from a new bride. This gives him enough
strength to begin building his new ship the next day:
He hacked away three days to pile wood for his ship,
and the blue sea washed in and out and drowned his mind.
Dear God, to build one's coffin, to heap high the logs,
to come close swiftly to your tomb with each ax cut,
to carol like a bridegroom blithely, to sink down
together with the sun and swim in the cool sea!
He thought how on sun-haired Calypso's distant isle
86


he had once swiftly built a ship to reach his home.
[665]
Soon he will cast off for his final home, yet he still has one last
encounter with a young Negro fisherlad who represents the Christ
figure. The young man says: "Blessed be the grace of God, our
eternal father! It's He who from His love created fish and sea.
It's He who brims our nets and fills our hearts with joy." (672)
Odysseus' encounter with the Christ figure is like the meeting of
an old sea wolf with a lamb. An angry young man says:
"If an unjust man would strike me hard
on my right cheek what is my duty then, 0 fool?
0 then my brother, turn your other cheek, and smile!"
The archer listened and with terror shook;
he'd never heard on earth before so sweet a voice,
but his mind mocked, denied those gentle words, and mused:
He crept behind the youth, then raised his hand and struck
the unsuspecting lad hard on his tingling cheek ...
"0 white-haired brother strike again to ease your heart!"
But the sun archers hand hung down in shame:
Forgive me, friend, I longed to measure your strange mind.
Odysseus is deeply moved by the encounter which parallels Christ
in the Bible, yet he resists the words of the Christ-like
fisher lad, who also represents Apollonian ideals. Still Odysseus
is prideful in how he has lived his life:
87


"To think I hastened with swift pace to leave this world!"
Time passes now, the North Wind blows, my swift ship leaps
but yet I keep my passions reined and can't drink deep
enough of your strange words that herald love and peace.
I fought on earth, the zigzag path I took was drenched
in blood, I conquered till my backbone glowed with light,
and now I hoist red sails to keep my tryst with Death,
[p-#]
Odysseus converses with the Negro fisher lad about the ideals of
their own myth. Finally, Odysseus tells him:
"You love that giddy golden finch, the soul of man,
that's caught in the lime twigs of flesh and flaps its wings
high toward the empty airbrained sky and strives to flee
but I love man's sad flesh, his mind, his stench, his teeth,
the mud-soaked loam I tread upon, the sweat I spout,
but best of all that dreadful hush when war has ceased.
Farewell!! Our meeting was most good, and good your words,
but better still the parting which will last forever."
[677]
In this moment, Kazantzakis reveals that there has been no
synthesis of flesh and spirit for Odysseus, as criticism has
suggested. Rather, Odysseus' journey has transformed and
transmuted his mind's gleaning and apprehension of the God
within who possesses a Dionysian predeliction and also a
spirit of Apollonian longing. Yet, they are not synthesized.
Odysseus' metamorphosis is like a patterned mosaic that
encompasses chthnonian and erotic nature and the spiritual
88


longings of the ascetic and creative ideals of Apollo. He is like a
lusty ascetic who wants the best of both worlds.
By the end of Book XXI, Odysseus casts off for the South Pole
and says farewell to Dame Goody who has come with an apron full
of pomegranate for his last journey:
"Ahoy how I love this last gift which earth hands me now!...
Your health, dear friend! The fruit is good! Hail and Farewell!"
The old recruit of kisses heard her praises told,
and her loins filled with joy, her sagging dugs grew firm,
her long life glittered like a pomegranates tree,
her bed clashed like a war-shield in the strife of love,
like a young girl she danced among her garden blooms
and all the contours of her face glowed with loves flame.
Odysseus leapt into his skiff, a youth renewed ...
gripped all the landscape with his reaching glance, then loosed
his minds fine tentacles and fondled all the earth.
An octopus in rut who flings a tenacle
on his unmoving mate with slowly sucking pores,
then draws it softly back and casts another arm
and strokes her mutely in the depths for hour on hour
thus did the dying man's long mind reach out to stroke
the earth with all his smell, his touch, his taste, to clasp
her tightly in his arms and speak his last farewell ...
The sun sank and the face of the widowed earth grew dark
as though she wept because her lover was now leaving.
[679]
As Odysseus sails from earth and all that flourishes there, he
sets out on the vast abyss of water he has come to love so well.
Chthonian, fluid, and explosive Dionysian nature, however,
89


flourishes at sea as well as on earth. Still, the sea remains a
symbol of the spiritual journey and Apollonian search for higher
knowledge. On this last leg of the journey, Odysseus' mind shifts
to thoughts of his impending death and how his spirit has driven
him.
In Book XXII, as Odysseus sails closer to death, he is not
without fear for the state of his spiritual grace:
0 Virtue, precious and light sleeping daughter of man,
how you rejoice when, all alone, biting your lips,
poor, persecuted, thrust into the desolate wastes,
you find no friend on whom to cling, no straw to clutch ...
He sailed in his coffin all day, all night long.
[680]
Yet, on the seventh day when sharks begin to circle his boat, he
hollers: '"Farewell!, Turn to your prey, I'm not yet food for sharks,'
the boatman mocked, and cast off fish and birds like old soiled
clothes, and breathed the crystal solitude, stripped bare." (681)
Later, fear disappears:
In that black whirlpool hour of parting when the soul
clutches the body in great fear and won't let go,
the lone man's savage heart quailed not, his mind shook not,
but in the just scales of his inner pride he weighed
his soul well, wing and claw, and found it was not wanting ...
90


"I've no quarrel with the world,
and if the mind at my last breath, grow suddenly weak
and start to curse, dont listen.ifethe wretch is mad;
may you be blessed with all your laughter, all your tears!"
[683]
As Odysseus leaves life behind and reflects on all that it has
been, he has nothing to repent. There are no regrets for his
savage actions or remorse for his Dionysian lust for life. Still,
as Odysseus drifts and waits for death, in between salty gales
and delirious dreams, he grows physically weaker and vacillates
in his courage and steadfastness:
Odysseus shuddered one cold dawn, for in his mind
the swift thought flashed: this was no current or plain sea
but an unleashed mute whirlpool that now swirled toward death.
"Ahoy, my gallant soul; didn't wimper, swift-eyed girl;
life's but a song, sing it before your throat is cut."
[688]
"What is life, what secret governs it?
There was a time I called it lavish longing God,
and talked and wept and battled by his side
and thought he too, laughed and wept and battled beside me,
but now I suddenly feel I've talked to my own shadow!
God is a labyrinthine quest deep in our heads;
weak slaves think he's the isle of freedom, and moor close,
all the incompetent cross their oars, then cross their hands,
laugh wearily and say, 'The Quest does not exist'
But I know better in my heart, and rig my sails:
God is wide waterways that branch throughout man's heart."
[689]
ifeyou've a thousand faces, and love them all!"
[693]
91


In "wide waterways that branch through a man's heart,"
Kazantzakis gives essence and divinity to Odysseus in the
existential sense whereby his hero finds God and spiritual virtue
in the relationship between himself and existence. Yet, his
atavistic and Dionysian heritage is not deminished nor is it
synthesized. The paradox remains even though Odysseus has
undergone a metamorphosis of spirit. The Odyssey is like the
sculptor or the old gardener who prunes and sculpts the orchard
so that it may possess grace. The trials of the journey have
tempered Odysseus, but they have not tamed his passion. For
Odysseus, the journey enlivened his hunger and thirst for
knowledge in the Apollonian and spiritual sense.
In Books XXIII and XXIV, Odysseus dies slowly as he drifts
between atavistic and delirious dreams of the past and fond
memories of family and friends and crew. As death encroaches in
his final moments, his friends and crew suddenly appear, dream-
like and back from the dead, to bid him one last farewell:
"all faithful forms I've loved, all hearts and souls come ...
Broad-buttocked Kentaur squirmed, his bones knit once again ...
"Don't weep, my wimpering friend, I don't smell of the grave
though worms drip from my eyebrows still and from my hair...
9Z


friend don't get lost, don't question, follow your dream only.
[746]
Then appears Captain Sole: "Captain Sole stopped benignly by the
seashore's rim, grasped lightly his long empty sheath with his
left hand and place his right hand on his chest to show esteem."
(749) His old crewmate Hardihood also pays his respects: "If it's
true murderer, that you called, and that I leapt out of my grave,
I'll seize the sword once more and stand at your right side to burn
that famous town once more." (749) The next to pay their
respects were Dame Goody and Margaro, the old prostitute and the
younger courtesan: "Our great Beloved called and we leapt from
our graves and now rush swiftly to adore his bloody feet. Thus
the two women swiftly passed with heads held high and old age
slowly fell from them like fetid moss." (751) The two whores
conversed: "I praised God because he gave me breasts and womb.
Aye, Margaro, I've studied love in this world well, there's much on
earth I've suffered, yet I don't repent and now that lifes come
back, I'll take the same road twice!" Then came were Rocky and
Granite. Odysseus thought he must be drowning, still he embraced
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Full Text

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THE APOLLONIAN AND DIONYSIAN PARADOX OF THE ODYSSEY: A MODERN SEQUEL BY NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS AN ANALYSIS OF THE POEM AND THE POET'S WORLD VIEW by Debra Good B.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1991 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities 1994

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This thesis for the Master of Humanities degree by Debra Good has been approved for the Humanities Program Rex Burns Lf@o / 9<; Date

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Good, Debra (M.A., Humanities) The Apollonian and Dionysian Paradox of The Odyssey : A Modern Sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis An Analysis of The Poem and The Poet's World View Thesis directed by Professor Rex Burns ABSTRACT This thesis is a study of the epic poem by Nikos Kazantzakis: The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. The modern epic of 33,333 lines picks up where Homer's ancient classic left off: Odysseus returning home from the Trojan War after twelve years lost at sea. This study analyzes Kazantzakis' modern approach to the sequel and the influences contemporary philosophies and the spiritual struggles of humanity had on it. Odysseus and his crew represent outcasts and the Dionysian nature of human duality. The other side of this duality and paradox is the Apollonian ideal which is symbolized by Odysseus' journey and spiritual quest. iii

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My analysis of the Kazantzakis text focuses on the poefs use of metaphor and Dionysian nature imagery and the philosophical ideals which influenced his world view. From the West, Kazantzakis reflects the existential philosophy of Nietzsche; from the East, the poet explores the Buddhist influence; and from his own home, Greece, he brings forth the mythological heritage of his hero. The dualities of East and West, Apollo and Dionysus, and flesh and spirit are the human conditions which Kazantzakis strives to reconcile in The Odyssey : A Modern Sequel. The journey, however, becomes a spiritual metamorphosis f6.r the hero rather than a synthesis of dualities. Finally, Odysseus embraces his Dionysian essence, yet through his journey and metamorphosis, he attains release from the conflict of these dualities and thereby his spiritual freedom. iv

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This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommen Rex Burns v

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The successful completion of this thesis depended upon the cooperation of many people I want to thank, including all the professors who furthered my education at The University of Colorado at Denver. My gratitude goes to Rex Burns, Marilyn Amer, Kent Casper, and Joel Salzberg who donated their time and guidance during the last two years of this thesis investigation. In deep appreciation for family and friends who also supported me in my endeavor, I gratefully dedicate this thesis to Vincent, Wll, Florence, Gloria, and Paulette. vi

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Contents Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................... 1 Focus of the Thesis .............................................................................. 2 Background on The Odyssey: A Modern Seque/ ............................ 3 U C... 5 terary nt1c1sm ................................................................................. 2. PUBLICATION HISTORY & PHILOSOPHICAL INFLUENCES ........ 1 5 3. TEXT ANALYSIS: PROLOGUE-BOOK XV ......................................... 28 4. TEXT ANALYSIS: BOOK XVI-XX ......................................................... 56. ,. 5. TEXT ANALYSIS: BOOKS XI-XXIV .................................................... 83-e, 6. CONCLUSION ............................................................................................ 96 BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................... : ................................................................ 1 02 vii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In Nikos Kazantzakis' modern sequel to Homer's Odyssey, the new quest of Odysseus overturns the most sacred values of the Old World. Homer concludes with Odysseus safe at home on Ithaca attending to his kingdom and family, while Kazantzakis begins with Odysseus cutting all domestic and material ties and sailing off once again. The modern Odysseus sails in search of freedom and God but discovers instead, a huge abyss and the paradox of flesh and spirit. The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel emphasizes this spiritual struggle through Odysseus' contrary yearnings of the primordial and the ascetic, and also through the duality of character types which are essentially desperado and messiah figures. Like Odysseus himself, these characters act within a framework of potent nature imagery as metaphors for Kazantzakis' primary theme which strives to synthesize Dionysian and Apollonian ideals. 1

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Focus of the Thesis In my thesis I focus on Kazantzakis' world view and his use of metaphor to illustrate the central paradox of The Odyssey: atavistic passions versus ascetic ideals. As a background to the formation of Kazantzakis' world view, I explore the early influences of Henri Bergson, Nietzsche, and Buddha. In reference, I also examine what has been written about him by the translator of The Odyssey, Kimon Friar; Kazantzakis' wife, Helen; his literary companion, Pandelis Prevelakis, and other relevant critics. In addition, as preparation for a discussion of the text itself, I focus on another philosophical work by Kazantzakis: Saviors Of God: Spiritual Exercises, which is considered a condensed version of his world view and the "seed" of The Odyssey: A Modern Seque/.1 1 Kimon Friar, Peter Bien, in his "Nikos Kazantzakis" Columbia Essays on Modern Writers Pamphlet No. 62 (Columbia University Press, 1972), 27. 2

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Background on The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel The modern epic of 3 3, 3 3 3 lines reflects the works of Nietzsche and the teachings of Kazantzakis' professor, Henri Bergson. In his introduction to The Odyssey Kimon Friar writes: Nietzsche confirmed him in his predilection for the Dionysian as opposed to the Apollonian vision of life: for Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry, of ascending life, of joy in action, of ecstatic motion and inspiration, of instinct and adventure and dauntless suffering, the god of song and music and dance; as opposed to Apollo, the god of peace, of leisure and repose, of aesthetic emotion and intellectual contemplation, of logical order and philosophical calm, the god of painting and sculpture and epic poetry. We shall see, however, that though this was for him a decided predilection and a biased emphasis, it was not at all a rejection, but rather an assimilation of the Apollonian vision of life. . Ultimately Kazantzakis wished to combine the two in what he called the "Cretan Glance," to remind scholars that Dionysus as well as Apollo was a god of the Greeks, and the noblest of Greek arts was a synthesis of the two ideals.2 From the beginning of The Odyssey, as Odysseus evolves from the most savage dimensions of Dionysus toward the ideal of spiritual clarity in Apollo, Kazantzakis strives for this synthesis. The influence of Nietzsche also surfaces in Kazantzakis' ideal of "tragic optimism" and the "exaltation of tragedy as the joy of 2 Kimon Friar, Introduction to The Odyssey : A Modern Sequel, by Nikos Kazantzakis. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1958.) xiv-xv. 3

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life. "3 The poet reflects this philosophical paradox through the nature of Odysseus' struggle and journey. In contrast to Nietzsche, Friar writes: "Kazantzakis had an intense love for the common man and a belief in socialistic orders which try to alleviate poverty and life as oppression. "4 Kazantzakis' "love for the common man is most well known from the character and novel Zorba The Greek, but is also seen in The Odyssey when Odysseus chooses his crew. While Zorba is the salt of the earth, Odysseus' crew are a rougher bunch: Captain Clam is a "grizzly and trustworthy old sea-wolf," Hardihood, the bronzesmith, is "a redhaired, burly man from the mountains, sullen, secluded, with a stain like that of an octopus on his right cheek." Kentaur is a drunk whom Odysseus finds lying in the middle of the road. Granite, a young mountaineer, is found roaming restlessly and brooding over the guilt of killing his brother over a woman. The poet's socialistic beliefs also are evidenced as Odysseus becomes involved in rebellious uprisings against decadent rulers on Crete 3 Friar, xv. 4 Friar, xv. 4

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in Book VII and in Egypt in Book IX. In these episodes, Odysseus believes God is liberating him through involvement with the oppressed slaves as a step towards spiritual purification. Literary Criticism The earliest and strongest influence on Kazantzakis' world view was that of Bergson. Friar writes: At the core of Kazantzakis' thought and his Dionysian method lie Bergson's concept of life as the expression of elan vital, a vital or creative impulse, a fluid and persistent creation that flows eternally and manifests itself in everchanging eruptive phenomena. The increasing creativity of life, casting up and discarding individuals and species as experiments on its way toward more and more liberation, is what Bergson and Kazantzakis both meant by God. For both men God is not omnipotent, but infinite; he is not omniscient, but struggles and stumbles, impeded by matter, toward more and more consciousness, toward light.S Kazantzakis expresses this image specifically in Saviors Of God: Spiritual Exercises: "My God is not all knowing. His brain is a tangled skein of light and darkness which he strives to unravel in the labyrinth of the flesh. "6 Odysseus strives to do the same with a kind of Bergsonian intuitiveness. Jacques Chevalier s Friar, xvii. 6 Nikos Kazantzakis, The Saviors Of God Spiritual Exercises. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960) 104. 5

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writes: The intuition of Bergson seems in so many respects akin to the heart of Pascal. ... Reason proves, and the heart knows. "7 Bergson states: "We are free when our acts spring from the whole personality, when they express it, when they have that indefinable resemblance to it which one sometimes finds between the artist and his work. "8 In this sense, Kazantzakis leads Odysseus to be directed by instincts and passion rather than reason. Reason would have kept him home on Ithaca attending to the affairs of his kingdom and family. Odysseus is like Kazantzakis' image of god's brain, "a tangled skein of light and darkness which he tries to unravel in the labyrinth of the flesh. "9 The conflict of light and darkness is a theme of Nietzsche's Zarathustra which is based on Zoroaster, a Christ-like figure who founded a religion whose core is this duality.l o Morton Levitt, author of The Cretan Glance, writes: 7 Morton Levitt, The Cretan Glance. (Columbus: Ohio State University Rress, 1980) 95. '\ 8 Levitt, 97; 9 Kazantzakis, The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960), 104. 1 o Levitt, 94. 6

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"The eclectic Kazantzakis utilizes Bergson much as he does Nietzsche, selecting those images and ideas that inform and reinforce his own perception of life, rubbing metaphorically the 'mystic salves' of his teacher in the College de France onto the 'deep and hallowed' wounds opened by the German precursor. "1 1 Nietzche's Zarathustra and the conflict of duality correspond to the eastern influence of Buddha in Kazantzakis' world view, as reflected in The Odyssey, of combining Apollonian and Dionysian ideals. Toward the end of his life Kazantzakis wrote: My life's greatest benefactors have been journeys and dreams. Very few people, living or dead have aided my struggle. Those who left their traces embedded most deeply in my soul are Homer, Buddha, Nietzsche, Bergson and Zorba: Homer for the clarity of his vision and style, and Buddha ... the bottomless jet-dark eye in which the world drowned and was delivered. Bergson relieved me of various unsolved philosophical problems which tormented me in my youth; Nietzsche enriched me with new anguishes and instructed me how to transform misfortune, bitterness and uncertainty into pride; Zorba taught me to love life and have no fear of death.1 2 The earthy and light-hearted Zorba was based on a Yugoslavian named George Zorba whom Kazantzakis knew from the village of 11 Levitt, 95. 1 2 Levitt, 88. 7

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Mani on the Peloponnesus.1 3 Zorba contrasts with Odysseus, the intense and "long suffering man, 11 while the others mentioned by Kazantzakis form a composite of his hero. However, as The Odyssey progresses, even Zorba's nature becomes a part of Odysseus in his affirmation of life while dancing at the edge of the abyss. This paradox in acceptance of the void, world renunciation, and life affirmation is synthesized in the philosophies of Buddha, Nietzsche, and Bergson. Levitt writes: "Buddha is the 'pure soul' which has emptied itself, in him is the void, he is the Void. There is much of Zarathustra in this conception of Buddha, and something of Bergson as well: surrounded by his disciples on a mountain peak, the ascetic teaches the abnegation of the world, but he does so with unique vitality and power, the artist too emulates these sources by struggling to free himself through his art. 1114 For Kazantzakis and the autobiographical character "Boss" in Zorba, they become enslaved, instead by the practice of renunciation, until they learn 13 Levitt, 89. 14 Levitt, 103. 8

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from Zorba "the need for genuine fellowship and love." 1 5 Odysseus also must learn about this kind of love even as his actions parallel Christ in his ascent of the mountain to meditate for seven days and seven nights in Book XIV. Odysseus, like Zorba, will also come to celebrate life through dance. Kazantzakis writes: "Watching Zorba dance [on the beach], I understood for the first time the fantastic efforts of man to overcome his weight. I admired Zorba's endurance, his agility and proud bearing. His clever and impetuous steps were writing on the sand the demoniac history." 1 6 Nietzsche, also demoniac, writes: "In song and dance, man expresses himself as a member of a higher community; he feels himself a god, he himself now walks about enchanted, in ecstasy, like the gods he saw walking in his dreams. He is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art." 1 7 Still, like Odysseus, Zorba also questions God: "Is there a God?" he asks; "Who is it who throws these bones to us?" and "Who the 15 Levitt, 103. 1 6 Levitt, 1 00. 17 Levitt, 101. 9

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devil takes us away?" also; "And above all, why do people die?"18 Zorba and Odysseus both stand at the abyss and dance with defiance. While both become liberated in this sense, Zorba with his earthly simplicity is more enviable than Odysseus whose long-suffering journey is infinitely more complicated. bne aspect of Odysseus character that brings him down to earth is his trait of being a desperado. In Nikos Kazantzakis and His Odyssey: A Study of The Poet and The Poem, Pandelis Prevelakis contrasts the ideals of the traditional epic hero with that of the desperado and the picaro: According to the precept established by three thousand years of epic poetry, the epic narrates the feats of heroes who often have divine blood in their veins. In wars and on journeys they are led by an immutable ideal which gives them strength to overcome difficulties beyond the measure of man. Epic heroes are raised up as models for the people: they teach manliness or sagacity, they inspire daring or sacrifice, they embody the virtues of the race. The epic poem corresponds to man's longing for the ideal, it satisfies his primordial yearning for the gods. The epic scale is suited to gods and demigods. But it does not violate the human: man recognizes himself among the characters and actions of the epic poem .... At the opposite pole of the epic hero we find the picaro. 1 9 1 a Levitt, 1 02. 1 9 Pandelis Prevelakis, Nikos Kazantzakis and His OdysseyA Study Of The Poet And The Poem (New York: Simon and Schuster,1961) 123. 10

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A picaro is defined by the Dictionary of the Spanish Academy 20 as a shameless, insolent and dissolute type who lives an unsettled life on the roads of evil; the adjectival meaning is base, wicked, deceitful, sly, knavish. The word picaro originates in sixteenth century Spanish texts and refers to the "street urchins, errant boys, scamps, knaves and vagabonds who lived on the edge of an aristocratic society who bore them and then cast them out to become masters of flattery, stealing and trickery. "21 The desperado and picaron aspects of Odysseus' duality enlivens the hero's Dionysian adventures. The picaro came from a type of antiheroic Spanish literature called the novella picaresca, which consisted of satire and parody of the idealistic tales of knighthood. Prevelakis writes: The nihilistic theory assimilated by an intelligence; may generate the hero; assimilated by an ignoramus, it may give birth to the picaro. St. Paul divides men into spiritual, natural and carnal: even the spirit of God bears fruit in a different way in each person [1Cor.2-3]. The human types of Kazantzakis' imagination consisted of heroes and picaros: heroes who act like picaros and picaros who act heroically .... Who the characters of this book are to be, Kazantzakis tells us in another text: "The characters have suddenly got hold of me, I have started to 20 Prevelakis, 124. 21 Prevelakis, 1 24. 11

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write novels ... I have found some old friends, ruffians from the gallows and the stake, some other good people whom I love and enjoy myself with ...... Turn a picaro out at the door and he will come back through the window. The Odyssey is full of them. From the very first rhapsodies, the .. old friends,,. the ruffians, those of flesh and bone, are poured into the poem. The royal banquet with which Odysseus regales them [1, 1 023ff.] symbolizes the dissolution of order and the lighting of fires which take place when civilizations crumble. ,.Everything is perishable! .. Odysseus himself is to be infected with something of the spirit of his companions: he feasts and carouses with them [II, 933ft.] to the point of shocking the whole island.22 A rumor spread from town to town that demons lashed their king who all night long danced in the moon. [955-56] The dancing theme in connection with the philosophy of Zorba and the picaro are central images and ideals which I will explore in chapters three and four with the analysis of The Odyssey text. In the passage cited above, the town's disturbance by the actions of their King parallels the reaction of his own country to Kazantzakis upon the publication of The Saviors Of God, The Odyssey's predecessor. Before discussing the publishing history of Kazantzakis' works, the following summarizes the philosophical arguments of the opening section. To begin, the literary criticism by Friar and 22 Prevelakis, 124-25. 12

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Prevelakis regarding the philosophical influences stresses Kazantzakis' attempt to synthesize Apollonian and Dionysian ideals. While Nietzsche most influenced Kazantzakis' predilection for the Dionysian, the poet's world view as reflected in his philosophy of the .. Cretan Glance .. supports his desire to combine the two. However, the evolution of The Odyssey succeeds in transforming Odysseus Dionysian and Apollonian duality. Odysseus changes greatly from the beginning of The Odyssey to its end, yet he neither sheds his Dionysian passion completely nor becomes a saint. He evolves from the savage to the heroic picaro/revolutionary to the Don Quixote/messiah in his struggle to know God and reconcile his demons. Kazantzakis' conception of God, which is condensed in The Saviors Of God and then expanded in The Odyssey was most influenced by Bergson. Both believed that God is neither omnipotent not omniscient but more like Odysseus himself in the Modern Sequel, who struggles toward consciousness, creativity, and liberation. For Kazantzakis, Buddha represents renunciation of the material world and 13

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embracement of the void. The paradox comes with Kazantzakis reverential homage to Zorba who, like Odysseus, dances in spite of the void and is life affirming. In this fashion Zorba celebrates the force of individual will and the Dionysian lust for life, as does Odysseus. 14

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CHAPTER 2 PUBLICATION HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHICAL INFLUENCES In Athens, in 1939, after the publication of The Saviors Of God, Kazantzakis was accused of atheism. A trial was set for June 10, yet he was never summoned.23 Later, in 1953, while writing his novel about St. Francis, the Greek Orthodox Church wanted to persecute him for parts of Freedom or Death and for all the concepts in The Last Temptation of Christ. 24 In The Last Temptation, Kazantzakis presents Christ as a more common man who is eventually tempted sexually by Mary Magdalene. Similarly, the religious uproar over the sexual association of Christ with a prostitute parallels the Islamic persecution of Salman Rushdie with his presentation of Mohammed in a brothel in Satanic Verses. Even in the United States, only four years ago in 1989, when Kazantzakis' Last Temptation was made into a film by Martin Scorsese, it also was condemned by the church. Religious 23 Prevelakis, 140. 24 Prevelakis, 140. 15

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intolerance in creative literary interpretations threaten the status quo universally. Although The Odyssey was condemned by the Orthodox Church of America, its first publication in 1958 was still more successful in the United States than in the poet's own homeland. In a letter to his wife Helen on May 14, 1954 from Anises, Kazantzakis writes: Freedom or Death is still enraging the Greeks. The Bishop of Chios accused it of being shameful, treasonable, antireligious and a slander against Crete! So you can imagine in what a barbarous state my native land is wallowing; i.e., the official Greeks, politicians and churchmen. And the Orthodox Church of America convened and damned The Last Temptation as extremely indecent, atheistic, and treasonable, after admitting that they hadn't read it and based their case on the articles in Estria .... And I sit here in my solitude, calm, dedicated to my duty, to the best of my ability, shaping the Greek language and spirit/ "Ad tuum, domine, tribunal Apello [To thy court I appeal, 0 Lord]," as Tertullian wrote.25 Kazantzakis telegraphed this phrase from Tertullian to the Commission on the Index, and to the Greek Orthodox Church he added: "You have execrated me, Holy Fathers; I bless you. I pray that your conscience may be as clean as mine and that you may be as moral as I am."26 Aside from the religious uproar over 25 Helen Kazantzakis, Nikos Kazantzakis -A Biography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968) 523. 26 Kazantzakis, 524. 16

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Kazantzakis' work, The Odyssey created a controversial language problem within the poet's own country. The Odyssey was difficult to understand even for Kazantzakis' own countrymen. Levitt states: Written in an unfamiliar meter, simplifying conventional spelling and syntax and abandoning the useless accentual marks common to the language since Byzantine times (retaining only the acute accent for emphasis) with an added glossary of some two thousand words that were familiar to the peasants of Greece but virtually unknown to its scholars, The Odyssey was an effort to revolutionize the diction of modern Greek poetry. Even today, there are literate Greeks who claim to find it more readable in English translation than in the original Dhemotiki. "The intellectuals of Athens cannot understand this," Kimon Friar has said of the epic he translated so well; "I give it to the boatmen and fishermen, and they have no trouble." The irony would have delighted the poet.27 In this sense the poet is much like his rebellious hero Odysseus. What is more significant, as Levitt points out, is that Kazantzakis' poem of 33,333 lines, three times the length of Homer's Odyssey, bridged the gap of literature between Classical Athens and the Modernist Age. Until the publication of The Odyssey, Greek literature was unsure of continuing the way of the ancients or looking toward the west for a model. "In a sense 27 Levitt, 111. 17

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then," writes Levitt, "Kazantzakis' Odyssey makes possible the liberation of Greek literature from its bondage to the past, providing a way for younger Greek artists to be true both to their ancestral inheritance and to the modern world in which they live.28 Kazantzakis' synthesis of the ancient and modern reflects the poet's penchant for blending ideas which are central to his world view in the "Cretan Glance." In his introduction to The Odyssey, Friar explains the way in which Kazantzakis formulates his world within the Cretan glance: Like all poets, Kazantzakis is not so much a systematic philosopher as one who, reaching out the tentacles of his mind and spirit, and grasping whatever might bring him nourishment, sucks up all into the third inner eye of vision peculiar to himself alone, and moves the reader with an imaginative view of life so intense as to be in truth, a new apprehension. Basic to all of Kazantzakis' vision . has been the attempt to synthesize what seem to be contraries, antitheses, antimonies. His own life and personality would seem to be a battleground of contradictions, unless one looked upon them with the third inner eye, and from a higher peak, as on an unceasing battle for a harmony never resolved. This eye, this glance between the eye of the Orient or Dionysus who came from India or Asia Minor [and the eye of Hellenic Greece or Apollo] Kazantzakis called the "Cretan Glance," for he was born on the island of Crete, at the 28Levitt, 112. 18

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crossroads between Africa, Asia and Europe.29 Kazantzakis' world view is not purely Greek or Oriental but rather a synthesis of both Greece and the Orient.30 Dionysus and Apollo are the contrasting ideals played out in Kazantzakis' Odyssey and through the poet's hero Odysseus. In Odysseus, like Kazantzakis, the contradictions and antimonies of the two ideals clash before finally synthesizing. The Odyssey contains characters and events representing the primitive demons and disorderly drives of Dionysus in contrast to the divine ideals of Apollonian enlightenment and action. Friar writes: "The supreme ideal of Greece is to save the ego from anarchy and chaos. The supreme ideal of the Orient is to dissolve the ego into the infinite and to become one with it." In this sense, Kazantzakis strives to fuse the two ideals in Odysseus by way of his arduous adventures and spiritual trials. The essence of the Orient is combined with the Western ideal in Odysseus' compelling drive toward action. The adventure commences with the decision to leave his family and 29 Friar, Introduction to The Odyssey A Modern Sequel by Nikos Kazantzakis, ix-xxxvi. 30 Kazantzakis, xvii-xviii. 19

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kingdom on Ithaca forever. The call to action is fundamental in Kazantzakis' world view and central to the meaning of The Odyssey. Peter Bien, in his essay on Modern Writers, comments on the western appeal of Kazantzakis: They share his strong determination to adjust the rhythm of individual behavior to a larger rhythm outside. They also appreciate his insistence that action, not withdrawal, is the way to spirituality, his equal insistence that action may take many forms, and his strict aberrance of a linear laissez-fair activism based on the gospel of increased gross national product. Like Kazantzakis they wish to make the world better in concrete ways and they therefore value materiality; but at the same time their consciousness of the H-bomb makes them see how fragile materialistic progress can be and how right Kazantzakis was in his obsession with the dark abyss. Caught in Kazantzakis' own dilemma, they feel that his attempt to synthesiZe Western practicality and utopianism with an Eastern vision of universal vanity may give direction to their own gropings. On the other hand many people are comforted by the way Kazantzakis seems unable to avoid Christianity and Hellenism when he bodies forth his future visions of man. His mixture of traditionalism and iconoclasm soothes at the same time it disturbs.31 In The Odyssey, the poet's hero becomes an iconoclast and later develops a messiah persona. Kazantzakis' iconoclasm is also clearly reflected in The Last Temptation of Christ and Saviors of God. Even though Kazantzakis' idea of Christianity is not 31 Bien and Keeley, 27. 20

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traditional, Christ became an obsession early in his life. In a letter, Kazantzakis talks about the importance of this spiritual influence: Christ tormented me from my childhood years-that union, so mysterious and so real, of man and God, that Sehnsucht, so human and so superhuman, for a reconciliation of God and man on a higher level than one can desire. When I grew up, I wanted to free myself from that persistent idea with a work of art: at the age of twenty five I wrote a tragedy in verse, Christ-Christ after the crucifixion, when the Magdalene and the desciples recreated him in their hearts, and gave him the new immortal body, resurrecting him. But that tragedy did not liberate me: at the age of forty-five I was again compelled to confront Christ in my epic. Later I made a fresh attack: I wrote Christ Recrucified, and immediately after, The Last Temptation. But in spite of all these desperate efforts the subject remains for me inexhaustible, because the mystery of the struggles of man and God, of the flesh and the spirit, of death and immortality, is inexhaustible.32 Prevelakis points out that Christ personifies, like Buddha and Lenin, the "universal power of the human word," as he quotes Jacques Pirenne asking the question: 'The word of Christ, the word of Buddha, heard but by some thousands of Jews or Indians-Has it not shaken the world?"33 In The Odyssey, the mystery of the struggle between humans and God courses through 32 Prevelakis, 182. 33 Prevelakis, 182. 21

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the epic and never is quite resolved. In an article from "The Mediterranean Review," Colin Wilson writes: Kazantzakis' importance transcends any question of whether he finally solved the problems with which his work deals. In fact, perhaps it is important that he failed to solve them. He thereby becomes, a more perfect symbol of the man who refuses to give up the search, who continues to seek the answer until the moment of his death ... The Odyssey ... is, in a sense the culmination of [Kazantzakis'] life and work.34 Wilson compares the autobiographical Odyssey of Kazantzakis to similar themes from Goethe and Dostoevsky. From here on, the literary criticism of Kazantzakis focuses on comparisons made with other writers and finally on a mythological approach to The Odyssey. Wilson, comparing Kazantzakis to the Romantics of the 19th century, discusses the intuitive awareness of the great writers regarding the "Faustian dilemma"35 ( the human desire to know the mysteries of the devine and immortal): In a sense, he [Kazantzakis] comes closer to solving it, in the Seventeenth Book, than Goethe came in Faust. That he did not recognize his solution and build upon it seems to me a consequence of his tormented, restless personality .... The 34 Colin Wilson, "Nikos Kazantzakis" in The Mediterranean Review (Fall 1970), 33-4 7. 35 Wilson, 33-47. 22

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essence of Kazantzakis' work seems to be this "storm and stress." He differs from most of the romantics of the 1 9th century in an essential respect: the "storm and stress" were a natural expression of his temperament, not a histrionic gesture or a fashionable pose .... Among other modern writers, Kazantzakis stands like a colossus, or like a mountain. Everything about him was big .... One might summarize both his strength and his weakness by saying that he is a kind of Greek Dostoevsky with a strong intermixture of Hemingway. But this, while true would be superficial. It would be truer to say that he was a man who never had a fixed image of himself .... What is so extraordinary about Kazantzakis is that he managed to surmount this self-mistrust by a curious method-by making it an essential part of his legend, by stating that man is always falling into despair, but that his uniqueness lies in the indestructible toughness that enables him to rise again. So that, in a way, he becomes one of the most complete and profound symbols of existential man: of Camus' Sisyphus pushing a rock uphill knowing it will immediately roll down again or of Prometheus, suffering new agonies everyday and yet praising man's spirit.36 Prometheus is one of Odysseus' three forefathers who, along with Heracles, and Tantalus, spurred the hero on in The Odyssey. From Prometheus, Odysseus inherited "the mind's blazing brilliance." Heracles is the forefather who "bathed him in the fire of the spirits laborious struggle toward purification" and Tantalus bequeathed to Odysseus his "forever unsatisfied heart." (779) However, Sisyphus is the mythic figure who most parallels Odysseus' existential heroism. Embracing the abyss and pushing a 36 Wilson, 33-47. 23

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rock up a hill for all eternity exemplifies Kazantzakis' deification of the void. In W.B. Stanford's essay, "The Ulysses Theme: A Study in the Adaptability of a Traditional Hero," he compares Joyce's hero with Odysseus: No author in ancient or modern times has attempted to rival the comprehensiveness of Homer's account until the present century, when an Irish novelist and a Greek poet have produced two contemporary interpretations of the much enduring hero: James Joyce in his Ulysses . and Nikos Kazantzakis in his Odyssey .... What strikes one first about these two works is their sheer bulk. In this they far surpass all previous contributions to the Ulysses tradition. Even the combined 11/iad and Odyssey are considerably shorter. Some might see this merely as a product of the twentieth century diffuseness. But in fact both Joyce's novel and Kazantzakis' poem fully justify their bulk by their developments of the theme's content and symbolism. It says much for the vitality of the myth that its greatest extensions should emerge almost three thousand years after its first appearance in literature.3 7 The symbolism of The Odyssey is essentially the story of human existence and the struggle to find freedom and meaning within that existence. Odysseus does this through action; in Joyce's Ulysses, the title character accomplishes it through a more psychological route. Stanford discusses these different 3 7 W .B. Stanford, "The Ulysses Theme: A Study in the Adaptability of a Traditional Hero" (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1963) 223-24. 24

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approaches: The Odyssey of Kazantzakis and the Ulysses of Joyce differ considerably in hypothesis, scope, and pattern. The working hypothesis of Ulysses is the same as that of Homer's Odyssey. It assumes that Ulysses controlling motive is to reach home safely, and that he does not seek adventure for its own sake .... In contrast Kazantzakis adopts the non-Homeric hypothesis that Ulysses was an incurable wanderer at heart and after his return from Troy set out from home again to seek further adventures .... [Bloom's] whole Odyssey is woven within the space of about one square mile [while, in contrast, Kazantzakis' hero ranges on an uncurving path from Ithaca through Crete, Egypt, Africa, to the Antarctic regions]. As a result Bloom's adventures must arise mainly from the agility of his imagination and the subtlety of his senses, an ordinary tea merchants shop, for example, sends his mind off on a vivid flight to the Far East.38 In contrast to Joyce's Ulysses, there is no such thing as "subtlety of the senses" for Kazantzakis' Odysseus. The Odyssey and its hero exude sensuality on all levels, while driven by primal atavism and the unsated desires of Odysseus' Tantalean forefather, all set in a backdrop of lush nature imagery. In Stanford's contrasting analysis of Kazantzakis' and Joyce's Ulysses theme, he also discusses their similar ideologies and regard for the Homeric hero. First there is the fact that both Joyce and Kazantzakis admire 38 Stanford, 223-24. 25

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and like Ulysses, and to some extent feel themselves to be kindred spirits with him .... Joyce and Kazantzakis try to show him in almost every typical activity of life-from a visit to the privy to the leadership of a revolution. Further, unlike most of their predecessors in the tradition; these two authors see Ulysses not as regional, or a national emblem, but as a cosmopolitan, supra-national figure. He bears in a sense, the hopes and fears, the wisdom and folly, both of contemporary European society and of the whole European literary tradition. [Both] Joyce and Kazantzakis are rebels, or perhaps exiles would be a better term, from the traditional beliefs of their ancestors, Joyce from those of Latin Western Europe, Kazantzakis from those of the Greek and Slavonic East. In politics they have repudiated narrow nationalism, in religion coercive orthodoxy. This personal exile is reflected in their portraits of Ulysses. But they have used their exile, not in tearful yearnings like those of Ulysses in Calypso's island, but as a means of seeing the problems of contemporary life in a clearer perspective.39 Odysseus' search for freedom and God reflects this sense of spiritual alienation and exile in contemporary life. In the beginning of The Odyssey, Odysseus shuns the ancient and traditional life that his family and kingdom represent. He is portrayed as a rebel, a picaro, and an iconoclast. Then, in his exile, he becomes "The Lonely One" and a wandering ascetic. The portrait of Odysseus combines mythic heroes with contemporary antihero figures, while The Odyssey encompasses a whole range of archetypes from the collective unconscious. In mythological 39 Stanford, 224-26. 26

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and archetypal approaches to literary criticism, Professor Frye discusses the contribution of Dr. Carl with his theory of racial memory and archetypes: "In developing this concept, Jung expands Freuds theories of the personal unconscious asserting that beneath this is a primeval, collective unconscious shared in the psychic inheritance of all members of the human family." Frye goes on to say: "What Jung called myth forming structural elements are ever present in the unconscious psyche; he refers to the manifestations of elements as motifs, primordial images,' or archetypes .... Jung was also careful to explain that archetypes are not inherited ideas or patterns of thought: n reality they belong to the realm of activities of the instincts and in that sense they represent inherited forms of psychic behavior."'40 Similarly, Kazantzakis endows Odysseus with the psychic behavior and instincts inherited from his mythic forefathers. In this way, the mythic forefathers form the catalyst which set in motion an Odyssey filled with Dionysian and Apollonian motifs in a sea of archetypes and primordial images. 40 Carl Jung, Psyche and Symbol (NewYork:. Doubleday, 1958), xvi. 27

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CHAPTER 3 TEXT ANALYSIS: PROLOGUE-BOOK XV Kazantzakis begins The Odyssey with a Prologue and homage to the sun which symbolizes the spirit of God and the theme of spiritual attainment: 0 Sun, my quick coquetting eye, my red haired hound, sniff out all quarries that I love, give them swift chase, tell me that you've seen on earth, all that you've heard, and I shall pass them through my entrails secret forge till slowly, with profound caresses, play and laughter, stones, water, fire, and earth shall be transformed to spirit, and the mud-winged and heavy soul, freed of its flesh, shall like a flame serene ascend and fade in the sun. [ 1] Spiritual transformation, earthly adventures, and irrepressible exuberance accentuate the poet's Odyssey. Like the "red haired hound" in the Prologue, Odysseus sets out in a similarly bestial way. Yet through the transformation that The Odyssey brings about, he evolves into a more spiritual being, as "the mud-winged and heavy soul, freed of its flesh, shall like a flame serene ascend and fade in the sun." Kazantzakis' imagery suggests transcendence, while the literary criticism of Friar and 28

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Prevelakis stresses the poet's attempt to synthesize Dionysian and Apollonian ideals. Dionysus represents primal nature, excess, and liberation by destruction as opposed to the Apollonian ideals of aesthetics, restraint and order. Even when Kazantzakis himself seems to be caught between the contradictory ideals, his lush use of imagery in The Odyssey reflects a Dionysian predilection. However, the prolific use of sun imagery clearly symbolizes Odysseus' spiritual striving and Apollonian ideals. Friar notes that the sun represents the central theme of The Odyssey as: the unceasing struggle which rages in animate and inanimate matter to burn away and cast off more and more of its dross until the rarefied spirit is gradually liberated and ascend toward its symbolic goal. Concomitant and contrapuntal themes are also announced: the laughter and joy that rise above tragedy; the freedom from all shackles which prudence and comfortable virtues dictate, from all philosophical, ethical and racial ties; the certainty that for each individual the phenomena of the universe are but the mind's creations. And from the beginning of the poem strikes the tone which he maintains throughout: that of adventurous and dangerous exploration of both physical and spiritual worlds: a heroic and serious, yet ironic and playful braggadocio in the face of annihilation: the accents and the rhythms of folk song, the tall tale, fable and myth, the passionate yet laughing play of the poet's imagination with his material as he casts off from all sure anchorage like a restless mariner and launches 29

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into a shoreless sea of no destination: "Ahoy cast wretched sorrow off, prick up your ears1 sing the sufferings and the torments of renowned Odysseus!"41 The rhythm of the hero's journey which is partly characterized by torment, is also balanced by his "playful braggadocio." In the beginning, however, Odysseus is not playful at all; he is a "dragon," and a cruel and murderous "manslayer" (3). Friar however, does not mention here that Odysseus, in his journey of transformation through the extremes of human manifestation, ultimately represents "Everyday" and humanity. Odysseus thereby serves humanity by demonstrating that everyman/god must save himself as in The Saviors Of God, The Odyssey's predecessor. Book I introduces a raging Odysseus who is still seething after slaying Penelope's suitors: "his loins and belly steamed and thick blood dripped down from both his murderous palms." (3) Even his wife, Penelope, hardly recognizes him as her husband: "That's not the man I've awaited year on year, 0 Gods, this forty-footed dragon that stalks my quaking house!." (3) After twelve years lost at sea, Odysseus also was not anxious to be close to her: 41 Friar, 777. 30

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"still in his nostrils steamed the blood of the newly slain . in cool night air there swing the new hung slaves, their eyes and swollen tongues protruding." ( 4) Odysseus' own son T elemachus, who helped slay the suitors, was also afraid: "Father, your fierce eyes burn with blood, your fists are smoking! The cruel manslayer grabbed his son and roared with laughter; two crows on two black branches shook with fright, and fled." ( 6) Here, Kazantzakis also begins his use of nature imagery which reflects the bestial and the Dionysian aspect of Odysseus' duality: "Father and son unbarred the gate and sped stealthily down the road treading the earth like leopards." ( 8) As Odysseus and his son walk, he tells Telemachus of an adventure at sea which further illustrates his animal-like tenacity: "I fought Death in frothing tombs .... I held my stubborn soul between my teeth, like meat, and when day broke, stretched out my hands, grabbed at the world." ( 8) While Odysseus' son and wife regard him with reverential fear, his people have become a raging mob to be reckoned with: 31

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The murderer glared into his peoples eye's, but spoke not; two roads within him opened up for possible action: should he unleash on the coarse herd his lion-mind that men and demigods and even gods disdained, or pity his poor people, open his arms wide and merge serenely with his flock like a good sheperd? He weighed both well, and finding pity to his advantage, opened his arms and hailed his people with feigned joy. [1 0] At this point, Odysseus is more of a wolf than a good shepherd to his people. They fear him and ultimately bow down to his intimidating presence. The animal and nature imagery reflects Odysseus' relationship with the world around him as illustrated in the mood of his homecoming: The double shepard led like a bellwether and heard behind him the mob flooding like a rumbling herd and suddenly felt his body dead and living both, a sunburnt, many breasted, many-souled thing full of eyes and mouths and tentacles that seized his isle and growled, a shepherd, sheep, sheep dog and wolf all told. Absurd, contrary longings leapt within his breast, but he held firm the reigns of his capricious soul and when he reached his castle, passed in silence through the blood drenched threshold with its two stone lion guards and his son followed boldly like a lions whelp. The torches choked in embers and the stars leapt low like hungry glaring wolves in a dark wood Odysseus reached his hairy hands in his wild court and doublebarred his copper banded groaning gates The gardens moaned like caverns and the palace roared till the crowd backed in terror, for in the star's light it seemed the guardian lions moved their stony jaws ... The lone man climbed the tower to calm his seething mind. 32

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[1 2] Odysseus, "the lone man," is alienated from his spiritual nature as well as his family and people. They represent the chains that cage him in the bestial realm of his duality. Ithaca represents the material world of the flesh which keeps him from knowing the potential of his Apollonian yearnings. Kazantzakis' Dionysian and primal imagery mirror the darker aspects of Odysseus' atavistic yearnings. During the feast Odysseus gives for his people, the origins of his atavistic urges are revealed as the chief minstrel sings of his ancient forefathers and the three fates that blessed him in his cradle. First, there is Tantalus who personifies the Dionysian realm of his duality and bequeaths to Odysseus his "forever unsatisfied heart." From Prometheus, the second fate, he inherits "the mind's blazing brilliance." The third fate that blesses Odysseus is Heracles who "bathed him in the fire of the spirits laborious struggle toward purification." The three ancient forefathers enliven The Odyssey and guide the way for their grandsire's spiritual metamorphosis. 33

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Desire for the journey is first influenced by the nature of Tantalus. The punishment endured by Tantalus, for crimes against the gods, was to .feel eternal hunger and thirst. He was hung in a marsh up to his neck, but could not quench his thirst because the waves of water teased and withdrew each time he bent his head to drink. Similarly, a tree laden with fruit hung just above him, and each time he reached for a branch, it sprang away. Tantalus suffered this eternal torture because he was accused of stealing ambrosia and nectar from the gods and serving it to mortals. He was also accused of serving his own son Pelops as a dish when he ran out of their food at a banquet for the gods. While this last accusation is particularly gruesome, what is most remembered about Tantalus is his torture and the word derived from his name: tantalize. The tantalizing wish to leave home and take a journey across the sea is part of the Tantalus legacy which compels Odysseus to forever hunger for adventure and thirst for new experience. The second fate to bless Odysseus and influence his journey is 34

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Prometheus who bequeathed to him "the minds blazing brilliance." Prometheus, one of the Titans, was considered the wisest of his race. He was said to have stolen fire from the gods to give to mankind whom he had created. As punishment for stealing from Hephaestus' forge, Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock in the Caucasus Mountains, where each day an eagle ate his liver which regenerated at night. Later, Heracles, while passing through the Caucasus region, killed the eagle with a bow and arrow and released Prometheus. 42 Prophecy was also one of the powers that Prometheus possessed. He instructed Heracles on how to obtain the golden apples by informing him that only Atlas could pick them from the Hesperides garden.43 With Prometheus legacy of intelligence and prophecy, Odysseus envisions and realizes the potential for wisdom and spiritual knowledge that his journey brings. Odysseus third fate and forefather is Heracles, whose original 42 Pierre Grimal. The Dictionary of Classical Mythology ( New York, Basil Blackwell Publisher, 1989) 394. 43 Grimal, 394. 35

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name, Alcides, means strength.44 Since Heracles was son of Zeus by Alcemene, from the time he was born, Hera vented her anger at him. First Hera was said to have sent two huge snakes in his cradle which he strangled, one in each hand. Later, she struck him with madness which caused him to murder his children. For his crime, he served the King of Mycenae, Eurystheus, for twelve years. Eurystheus also gave Heracles the Twelve Labors with the main objective of ridding the world of a number of monsters. According to Pierre Grimal, author of the Dictionary of Classical Mythology, "In mystical thinking, Heracles Labors came to be regarded as tests of his soul, which progressively freed itself from the domination of the body and his passions until his final deification. "45 In this sense, these "tests of the soul" and the strength of Heracles become his legacy for Odysseus as they are manifested throughout his Odyssey. In classic mythology it is said that Heracles as a young man lacked self control. In a rage, he killed Linus and was banished to 44 Grimal, 394. 45 Grimal, 196. 36

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the countryside where he became known for acts of great strength. Heracles' gift to mankind was one of service. Myth has it that two women appeared to him in a vision at a crossroad: "I am pleasure," said one, "and I have many gifts for you. Here are ease and luxury and wealth, grateful friends and a happy home and children that will remember you. You shall want for nothing, you shall endure no toils. You shall never know sorrow. Come with me." "I am duty," spoke the other, "choose me and you shall be ever acquainted with hardship. Rest shall be a stranger to you. Often shall you suffer pain, and grief will often rend your heart. But mankind will remember you with gratitude. You shall become a hero to your people. Your name shall live forever. Come with me. "46 Without hesitation Heracles chose the path of duty; According to Max Herzberg. author of Classical Myths, "duty is sometimes called 'Heracles' choice'. "47 The hardships of duty come true as Heracles performs the twelve labors and also when he frees Prometheus, the "Fire Giver" of mankind, from his chains 46 Max J. Herzberg, Classical Mythology. ( Norwood: Norwood Press, 1935), 234. 4 7 Herzberg, 2 34. 37

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in the mountains. Odysseus, like Heracles, is "Everyman" who seeks to control primal urges through life's "test of the soul" and thereby transcend or transform these spiritual labors into human refinement. For Odysseus, the essence of his journey is this soulful labor. In the Kazantzakis epic, before Odysseus leaves Ithaca forever, a great feast is given and the chief minstrel sings of the three great fates that blessed him: Three savage dragons hung like swords, over your head! And I, who night and day consort with gods and demons, whose mind like a high threshing floor corrals the wind, I Saw in the dark and recognized those three great dragons. First, like a topless cedar tree by lightning seared, Tantalus stood, forefather of despairing mankind; with vulturous claws he tore at his voracious chest, uprooted his abysmal heavy heart, stooped low, and wedged the graft deep in your own still tender breast, your cradle blazed as though your entrails had caught fire, The middle fate then raised its awesome brow, and I with trembling recognized Prometheus, the minds master, who in his wounded hand, that softly glowed, now held the seed of great light, and stooping over your skull gently unstiched the tender threads, and sowed the seed. Then the third dragon lit a fire and threw for kindling huge looms and thrones and gods to swell the unsated blaze. But I seized him in time, held tight, and whispered in his ear: "Hold on! These three great fates are gifting your grandson! that dragon with the red locks of a lion's mane is Heracles, that iron sword, that famous athlete." Stumbling, the old man grabbed a column, mute with awe; 38

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and when the soaring conflagration licked the roof, the dragon seized your infant form, flung it in flames, and you flushed crimson, rose like flickering tongues and leapt to the gilt beams and fluted with singing blaze. The whole night through you laughed and played, refreshed in fire, and we struck dumb, rejoiced in your salvations wonder, embraced each other tight as our tears flowed in streams. The first cock crowed in courts, and the great dragons scattered like clouds and vanished in the downy air of dawn. Upon hearing this, Odysseus became angry with himself for wanting to settle down and abandon more adventurous paths [39] toward knowledge and exploration. In Friar's synopsis, he states that at this point Odysseus realizes he has "a more primitive atavistic ancestor in his blood." With this revelation, a central conflict and paradox is introduced as Odysseus begins to acknowledge his "primitive atavistic" heritage, together with the desires of his mind and spirit. This conflict is underscored when Odysseus abandons the material comforts of his family and kingdom in pursuit of adventure. He is motivated by the legacy of Tantalus and the prrrnal urges of the flesh while also longing for greater knowledge and spiritual insight. The chief minstrel sings .of Tantalus as the "forefather of d.espairing mankind" who 39

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bequeaths to Odysseus "a heavy heart." Throughout his journey Odysseus often despairs over his struggle to reconcile these seemingly contrary aspects of himself. In this sense, Odysseus is also like "Everyman" who battles with himself in the struggle between the flesh and the spirit. Kazantzakis himself must have identified with Odysseus as "Everyman" and also as "Everyman's hero/ god." In Savior's of God, the seed of The Odyssey, the idea of "Everyman," hero, and god are one and the same. The heroic mythological forefathers, Odysseus' crew of desperados, the prostitutes, the Don Quixote, the messiah and the Buddha characters are all aspects of humanity and a composite of possibilities of "Everyman." All the character images form a kaleidoscope of Kazantzakis' vision of Odysseus as "Everyman," as well as an autobiographical conception. Tantalus, Prometheus, and Heracles, along with the messiah and Buddha figures, represent aspects of Odysseus that long passionately to serve mankind. This longing to be of service is also an aspect of the higher potentials in "Everyman" and all of humanity. After 40

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hearing Odysseus lash out at himself for the idea of staying home on Ithaca, his son is revolted: "T elemachus once more curses a father who seems to be all that is contradictory, restless and unappeased, revolutionary yet autocratic, atavistic and savage." While the restless fate of Tantalus proves to be a mixed blessing, the second forefather, the "mind's master" gives to Odysseus "the seed of great light." In this sense Prometheus illuminates the way of Odysseus' journey. The journey itself is most characterized by the third forefather and dragon called the "iron sword," Heracles, who throws the infant Odysseus in the fire. The sword and tire represent the "tests of the soul" which cut away the chaff and finally purify the spirit. Similarly, the adventures of his journey become a kind of trial by fire or battle of the soul and mind against primitive and atavistic desires. For companions and crew on his journey, Odysseus recruits desperado and picaro figures who characterize the more primitive extensions of himself. As Prevelakis puts it: Odysseus rails at every kind of taboo. The men he takes with him on his new wanderings are the dregs of society: a wolf, a 41

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glutton, a half wit, a fugitive from justice ... No sooner do they make a second landing than they steal, seduce and kill. Odysseus himself tramples on honor and hospitality and later becomes a mocker of the gods, a pimp, an incendiary and a grave robber. When he gathers his forces for the exodus in the desert [Rhapsody XII], he enlists men from the stake and the gallows: murderers, robbers, perjurers, pregnant harlots and bastards. He traces a line on the sand with his sword.48 He who has never killed or stolen or not betrayed or murdered in his mind, let him now rise and leave. [73-74] Certainly "Everyman" has "murdered in his mind," therefore, everyone can join Odysseus crew. Here again, Odysseus desperado crew is a reflection of "Everyman" and one aspect of mankind's dual nature. Odysseus, the murderer and desperado, undergoes transformation as The Odyssey evolves, yet he maintanes his "contempt for established morality, the scorn for respectability." Prevelakis writes: "The spirit of Odysseus belongs to the humble, to the hungry, and particularly to the outcast. He blesses the courtesan Margaro, whom he meets after his second retreat, and justifies her erotic struggle." (XVIII, 1165-84) Later, when Odysseus sets out on his final voyage to leave the world, he begs for food from his "painted 48 Prevelakis, 83. 42

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sisters" at their brothels. An old whore, Dame Goody, pities him and brings him all of her pomegranates: He gently touched the thin knees of the much-kissed whore: "Dame Goody, if a god exists to pay a man's good deeds, he'll sit you throned on high beside his greatest warriors ... [ 1385, 1392-94] Dame Goody, the "limping, white-haired, one toothed" whore symbolizes human virtue.49 She is another Kazantzakis character who represents humanity in its duality and potential. She is the last one to say goodbye to Odysseus upon his final voyage. Prevelakis writes: "The great vitality of the poem derives mainly from the energy of the titanic natures of Odysseus and his companions. There is no need to add that it is the poet who has given them their blood. "50 In this way, with such titanic energy and Dionysian drives, Kazantzakis enlivens The Odyssey, its hero, and all his companions. First, Odysseus picks Captain Clam, "the shaggy, battered old sea wolf. 'Ahoy, new voyages rise in my heart once more! You've only one life, Captain Clam, don't let it rot' ... Crouched on the sand, old Captain Clam began to growl like 49 Prevelakis, 83. so Prevelakis, 93. 43

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a ship's dog just freed of its confining leash" (53). The second crewmate he selects is Hardihood, the redhaired hulking bronzesmith with a red stain like an octopus on his right cheek. Then after the third day of hunting for his crew, he "found broadbuttocked Kentaur rolling in the street . he saw sprawled in the middle of the road a monstrous beast whose hairy chest dripped with a mess of wine and food. .. Odysseus kicked the drunken pig with scorn, 'I like this mountain of fat meat your soul lugs round like a gold scarab rolling its black ball of dung'." (54) Kentaur is the gluttonous companion who most personifies the Dionysian and dualistic extension of Odysseus' own nature as well as humanities: They've named me Kentaur well, for in my greasy loins I feel two monstrous rivers clash, then swirl and roar; the one's called God, the other Beast, and I dead center." The unsated fisher laughed, then threw his sharp harpoon: "Follow me then, broad beast, come board my feathery craft for ballast." [54] Kentaur and the rest of the crew built Odysseus' ship by day, ate and drank by night, and then descended on the village widows: Time and again at midnight they would disappear, 44

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don bullhides, paint themselves like gods, then hug the walls and poke themselves into the homes of mortal men. They'd find the lonely widows, girls in their first sleep, lower their voices, flap their wings and spread their pelts' pretending to be gods who deigned descend to earth and plant immortal children deep in thankful mortal wombs .... Thus did the days roll by in work, the nights in play, A rumor spread from town to town that demons lashed their king who all night long danced naked in the moon. assumed a thousand dragon shapes, turned to a ghoul and ravaged lambs, or fell on babes and ate them whole. or laughed with sirens by the shore changed to a sprite. "Witches with your strong brews, your spells, your charms, your arts, come heal our pain, enchant the choking dog, alas, that leaps on all our flocks! Bind him with cricks and cramps!" Thus did the shepard cry, and brought the witches herbs. The image of Odysseus dancing naked under moon light and [57] devouring babies reflects rituals from the cult of Dionysus. Even while the town was in a panic over their King's behavior, Odysseus and his companions continued their play at night and shipbuilding by day. Before their ship was finished they added two niore mates to the crew, Granite a mountaineer, and Orpheus to play music and sing for them. but as the wasp clings to the grape and sucks it dry, so did the comrades seize and glean each fleeting hour. Where they were going or toward what goal or what they wished and what sword hung above them ready to cut them down they scorned to ask themselves a moment even in thought. 45 [560-64]

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Odysseus' only thought was to set sail for Sparta and leave Ithaca forever. The legacy of Tantalus had already been set in motion. On Sparta, Odysseus convinces Helen to leave Menelaus and come away with him to Crete and new adventures. After a three-day storm at sea they arrive at a harbor near Knossos. Helen and Odysseus meet a peasant who tells them it is a holy day and that their senile king, ldomeneus, is communing in a cave with the Priestess of the Bull-God. Later, ldomeneus orders Helen to be his ritual bride and Odysseus put to death, but Helen only submits when Odysseus is finally let go. At the bull rituals, the nature of Tantalus and Dionysus presides: Helen lies naked, besides a hollow bronze cow. As a herd of trained bulls is let loose in the arena, Helen calls out, in ritual to be saved from the Bull-God, but Diktena and her Holy Harlots exhort her to submit. Krino defends the body as a chaste and pure instrument of God, and Diktena as flesh to be offered him in sacrifice and lustful rites. As the pre-rituals end, and the Holy Harlots scatter amorously amid the archons, we are given glimpses of the hard lot of slaves in contrast to the decadent court .... Gradually in Odysseus an almost Christian consciousness of the world's suffering is being awakened, and a sense of responsibility toward pain and oppression. He is dazed by the rot and stench of the civilization. At this moment, Diktena claims him for her partner in the orgies to be held that night, and Odysseus resolves, to Hardihood's disgust, not to spare himself anything of degradation, knowing that a strong 46

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soul cannot be soiled .... At the full moon, the lords and ladies of the court don the masks and hides of various animals, the serpent sisters raise Helen and place her in the hollow bronze cow, the lord and ladies engage in orgiastic lust throughout the arena, Diktena stuffs Odysseus' mouth with the bulls loins, and both fall into exotic embrace.5 1 While Friar's synopsis earlier refers to Odysseus' awakening as an "almost Christian consciousness of the world's sufferings," with Diktena in orgiastic lust he still appears well ensconced in the animal realm of Tantalus and Dionysus. Yet, when Odysseus resolves to his friend not to spare himself the degradation, he almost appears the martyr as a subtle shift in consciousness begins to emerge. After listening to a slave sing of freedom, Odysseus vows to join the rebels in their overthrow of the senile king's decadent rule. When the sacking of Knossos is complete, Odysseus sails toward Thebes and realizes that "beast and. _go'd -. :: .. -= have always warred in man, as the spirit sought to evolve into light through dark atavistic roots. "52 This spirit seeking to evolve into light represents Odysseus evolution toward the Fates of Prometheus and Heracles. The struggle toward the light emerging out of dark atavistic roots 51 Friar, Synopsis from The Odyssey, 785. 52 Friar, 789. 47

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relates back again to Odysseus' forefather Tantalus. As the crew rows down up Nile towards Thebes, they come across an old Egyptian who is trying to free a huge stone Sphinx from the encroaching sand. The old Egyptian invites Odysseus and the crew to his home for a humble meal and his daughters sing to them "of love, yearning, a home and children." All feel the strong attraction of home and hearth, Rocky most of all, but they all reject it for the insatiable and faithless heart." 53 Tantalus' forever unsated heart drives them on, yet their "rejection of home and hearth" also represent "Herculean duty" and service to humanity. As they continue up the Nile, they encounter poverty, drought, and hunger and must plunder and steal just to survive. Odysseus reminds the crew "that he had never promised them either women or food, but only Hunger, Thirst, and God, these three great Joys." He leads them further down the Nile: Amid crocodiles, snakes, and mud villages till they reach the desert sands. As they penetrate further and further into the desert's throat, they pass a human skull filled with bees, a last blade of green grass, huge carved rocks of past civilization until weak with hunger and thirst, they clamor to return.54 53 Friar, 789. 54 Friar, 792. 48

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The image of "a human skull filled with bees" in the "desert's throat" enlivens the most chaotic and threatening aspects of the Tantalus legacy and humanitie's potential. Yet, in a practical sense, Tantalus also drives them on by their desires so that they eventually find food and water and the source of the Nile. The source of the Nile is also representative of god and the spiritual potential of mankind. Here Odysseus decides to build his ideal city and comes to realize more fully the fates of Prometheus and Heracles as well as Tantalus. Granite declares: He now knows for what two causes he'd give his life: for that which scorns men's comfortable virtues and tirelessly seeks to find further horizons, and for that which declares that hunger and thirst are what impel men to explore and to seek. Odysseus agrees and carries this thought further: that salvation and destruction are one, for only by the dissolution of what has been accomplished can man enlarge his spirit and reach his own salvation.5 5 Here, Friar's synopsis again implies a synthesis of the dual aspects of salvation and destruction. Kazantzakis' Buddhist influence, however, would suggest that this passage refers more to the transcendence of the ego so that salvation/enlightenment may be attained. Later, Odysseus evolves further in his 55 Friar, 793. 49

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transformation when he climbs to a mountain top to commune with God and make plans for his ideal city. On top of the mountain Odysseus stays in a cave for seven days and nights and connects with primordial memories and the heritage of his forefathers: He looks in the yellow eyes of his leopard cub and sees himself as mankind's prototype, a caveman. Atavistic memories seethe within him, cruel hates and shameless longings in which his soul lies smothered; he becomes aware of man's fathomless line of evolutionary development from inanimate nature to all forms of animate nature, to man, to spirit. At sunset he sleeps on the rock and dreams that his heart and mind quarrel like an old married couple .... When the eternal outcry in man shouts for help, the mind scurries away, but the heart pours out her blood in order that the phantom forefathers may drink and revive .... Only when his three great Fates approach does Odysseus give them his blood to drink. Tantalus drinks, and then accuses Odysseus of planning to build a city and to settle down, of betraying the unappeasable heart, the restless search. Heracles drinks, and Odysseus hails him as that hero who in twelve labors pummeled man's flesh into a refinement of spirit, and weeps to see him now emaciated by death. Heracles urges Odysseus to complete the task he himself had left unfinished, to push on to the thirteenth and final labor (immortality), though he cannot discern what it may be.SG Here also, Kazantzakis' motif, representative of humanity, is seen in the yellow eyes of his leopard cub. The cub reflects the atavistic aspect of mankind and Odysseus. In seeing himself as 56 Friar, 795-96. 50

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man's prototype, Odysseus takes on the great responsibility and service of being a model for humanity. In this sense, the motif of humanity and salvation reflects Kazantzakis' messiah complex, which is also seen in The Odyssey's preceding philosophical thesis Saviors Of God. The old married couple in the above passage are also representative of humanity by their dual natures of mind and heart. Heracles, Odysseus' hero, represents not only service to humanity, but its salvation as well. In a further parallel to the myth of Heracles, J.E. Cirlot writes: As a hero, Heracles became a symbol of the individual freeing itself in the quest for immortality, expiating his sins and errors through suffering and "heroic striving." In this way he was able, for his own sake and for that of his brother, to conquer, exterminate or master all monsters (symbolic of plagues, vices and the forces of evil within the ordered and gradual process of evolutionary struggle). 57 Similarly, Odysseus' heroic striving parallels that of his forefathers as he also must conquer monster; however, his are more psychological in nature than the twelve labors of Heracles or his Homeric counterparts. In this way, Kazantzakis combines 57 J.E.Cirlot. A Dictionary of Symbols (New York, Dorset ,1991) 51

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his philosophical, religious and political beliefs with mythological symbolism to recreate the modern version of Odysseus' spiritual struggle. In Book X, Odysseus becomes involved again in politics with the rebellion in Egypt against hunger and exploitation. After suffering a head wound, he is thrown into the Pharaoh's dungeon with three other revolutionaries: Scarab, Nile, and Hawkeye. They invite him to join their revolution and "Odysseus replies he does not know whether he loves the bestial peasant or whether he simply no longer wants to side with the decadent nobles, but a cry in his heart urges him to join the revolutionaries." When Odysseus is freed he tells the Pharaoh that a new race of barbarians is taking over his land and that the ruling class in Egypt is doomed. This section of The Odyssey retells human history and reveals Kazantzakis' socialistic sympathies. When Odysseus is finally let go and the crew sail to*wards Thebes, "Odysseus realizes that beast and god have always warred in man, as the spirit sought to evolve into light throughout dark atavistic 52

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roots. He knows now that the ultimate destination is to free God as far as possible from the beast toward more and more salvation."58 This realization reflects a certain understanding of his Dionysian and Apollonian natures while marking a shift in his own psychic transformation toward the spiritual and creative and giving service to mankind. While Tantalus relentlessly pushes Odysseus toward new trials and discovery, Prometheus reveals and illuminates his mind and vision. On the fourth day on the mountain: he sees his third Fate, Prometheus nailed to a rock, and addresses him as father of flame and brain, as the brave mind of god-battling man, as one who stabilized man on earth and yet impelled man's mind toward the sun .... Odysseus now plunges beyond his particular race and into a feeling of brotherhood for all races, realizing that he and all men are units in the evolutionary stream of all mankind.59 Just as Prometheus gave the gift of fire to mankind, he also enlightens Odysseus' primordial senses further with the realization of his synchronous relation to nature and the whole human race. Still, Odysseus continues the journey that further tests and refines his soul: 58 Friar, 789. 59 Friar, 796. 53

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This insistent struggle toward purer and purer refinement some call Love, some God, some Death, and some an Outcry. The soul now seems to Odysseus but a wick which the flaming spirit consumes as it yearns for other kindling, that it might burn a more rarefied light. He vows to build an ideal city that will embody his vision forever. Singing with joy, Odysseus suddenly sees a vision of God undergoing many forms: as Tantalus, as Heracles, as Prometheus, as charging armies that symbolize the military campaign of the spirit, and finally as an old vagabond, an outcast constantly scorned and persecuted, in whom may be seen the savage bitterness, the spite, the unfathomed eyes/the flickering flames that glittered in his eyes like snakes,/the bloodstained road he climbed with grief. Odysseus is wrung with compassion, and then filled with serenity as the setting sun and the full moon glow simultaneously on opposite sides of the horizon. GO The military campaign of the spirit, Tantalus, Prometheus, and Heracles are the catalytic agents which lead Odysseus in struggle and spiritual conflict towards transformative revelations. At this point in The Odyssey, after seven days on the mountain in meditation, Odysseus has reached a certain level of conciliation between the warring factions of his mind and heart, and his primordial and spiritual nature, symbolized by "the setting sun and the full moon glowing simultaneously on opposite sides of the horizon." Tantalus, Heracles, and Prometheus, as the charging armies of the spirit, along with the old vagabond who is the GO Friar, 79 7. 54

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persecuted outcast, collectively represent humanity while Odysseus awakens to his synchronous connection to them. Apollonian inspiration leads Odysseus to build an .. ideal city .. as a gift to his new found sense of humanity. The passages of Odysseus through Dionysian and Apollonian realms of flesh and spirit can be drawn from Kazantzakis' text and from Friar's synopsis. Yet, what is equally striking and perhaps more significant, is the collective motifs representative of humanity and the journey itself representing the life of mankind. 55

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CHAPTER 4 TEXT ANALYSIS: BOOK XVI-XX In Book Sixteen, Nietzsche's ideal of tragic optimism bears out as Odysseus' crew and new community prepare to celebrate the completion of his "ideal city." After harsh seasons of labor, the gay and festive mood of the people contrast an ominous and foreboding sky as the city awaits its Christening by their leader. Even though Odysseus is not Christ-like, neither is he the seething desperado who left Ithaca. His forefather Tantalus spurred him on, yet now Odysseus takes on the benevolence of Prometheus towards his fellow man. At this point however, he is still somewhere between Dionysian wildness and Apollonian reason. His manner and severity are reminiscent of Moses: "Brothers, our fingertips flash fire like God's own; when our hands touch the world, the world's face is transformed. Each soul holds round itself its special threshing floor of passions, dreams, and thoughts, of mortals, beasts, and trees. Forward, my brothers, free them and you free your souls! If you're a worker, plow the earth, help her to bear; if you're a soldier, throw the sharp spear ruthlessly 56

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for its your task to kill, though others may show pity. God smothers in the foe, he chokes and cries out, "Help! 0, kill this body, Son, that I may climb still further!" If you're a woman choose your mate with extreme care, yoke tight the strongest man like a great ox with smiles and tears to sow you children in your fecund womb; the female God within you chooses him, not you! [ 476-77] Whether male or female, Odysseus' ideal of god/woman/man is not a passive one. In Odysseus' "ideal city" the meek do not inherit the earth or heaven. In Odysseus, Kazantzakis conjures up the image of Moses laying down the law with the passion of fire and brimstone. Unlike Moses however, Odysseus proclaims that it is man's duty to continually free the god within himself: When the archer saw the sun, he seized his chiseling tools and walked about his city walls to carve new laws, loud voices and commands tormented his dark head ... Sparks flew until his slabs of stone caught fire, his beard and hair filled with blue smoke and flying chips, but he bent low and hewed his God to bind him tight in thick and mystic snares that he might never flee ... He chiseled ten dark slabs of rock with ten commands: "God groans, he writhes within my heart and cries for help." "God chokes within the ground and leaps from every grave." "God stifles in all living things, kicks them, and soars." "All living things to right or left are his co-fighters." "Love wretched man at length, for he is you my son." "Love plants and beasts at length, for you were they, and now they follow you in war like faithful slaves." "Love the whole earth, and all its waters, soil, and stones; on these I cling to live, for I've no other steed." "Each day deny your joys, your wealth, your victories, all." 57

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"The greatest virtue on earth is not to become free but to seek freedom in a ruthless, sleepless strife." He seized the last rock then and carved an upright arrow speeding high toward the sun with pointed thirsty beak; the last command leapt mutely on the empty stone to the archer's joy as though he'd shot his soul into the sun. [477-78] Odysseus' ten commands and building the "ideal city" as his duty and gift to mankind, symbolize his attempt at uniting humanity and himself with the spirit of God, "as though he'd shot his soul into the sun." Still the "ideal city" cannot be a reality and Odysseus' faith crumbles just as his buildings do. Odysseus glorifies in the attempt, but loses faith when he sees the whole city vanish into nothingness. He cannot fathom Nietzche's "exaltation of tragedy as the joy of life," yet later he will. Kazantzakis' entrancing imagery contrasts mankind's hopes and dreams in the building and subsequent destruction of Odysseus' "ideal city": The air grew more ethereal, smelled of mountain musk ... The lone man's full heart danced, his spreading city gleamed, white and untouched, like a bull-calf just born that lifts its large eyes slowly to the world for the first time. When in his brain he'd hatched it like an egg, he had not thought such a bright, wide winged hawk would burst in air. 58

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always the soul casts up high, unexpected peaks! The archers eyelids fluttered with great happiness: "0 my bright city, shield of God, my body's thought" A heavy heat and stifling clouds rolled down, rocks broiled, the lead sky slowly melted in thick sweating drops and not a single tree leaf rustled or wing moved ... [480] [480] In ironic contrast to the heavy and ominous skies, the city down below is a bustling with joy and preparing for a bright future: The bride-wreathed streets and byways smelled of flowering boughs, and noisy childfilled courtyards chirped like poplar trees that, as the sun sets, sing with nests and fluttering wings. In all the women's quarter, new-baked wheaten bread swelled in the ovens and filled all hearts with fragrant scent, a plump maid who would soon give birth, heaved a deep sigh ... The archons proud eyes filled with tears of brimming joy. Give birth, increase on earth, lie in each other's arms ... He murmured, then stopped in joy before a curly boy who swaggered proudly by in the conceit of youth, his bold eyed slashed by inexpressible deep dreams. The young man swung like a cock, and every lane burst into bloom, the cobbles shone like precious stones, the rooftops sprang like banners, young girls cast their musk, and even the humble hungry hen plumed like a peacock; Death held a crimson rose and waved it in his hand. [482] A crimson rose symbolizes the beauty and passion of life, and here it is surrounded by burgeoning images of humanity: babies being born, bread baking, and young girls casting their musk around swaggering young men. Then, Death waves a crimson rose 59

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and Odysseus' ideal vision turns to ashes: "The suffering man watched how the leprous shadow ate the full moon's cool refreshing face that rose with calm till only the white brow remained like a lean scythe. Night swooped on earth with greedy lips, stars burst to view, and silent flashes flickered at the sky's dark rim" (483). The annihilation of Odysseus' ideal city symbolizes the destruction of hope in the midst of awesome beauty. Odysseus rages against God: 0 ungrateful wretch! ... Never shall I forgive and bend down to that vain, that senseless dark which blots the holy light of man! Then he trashed out with rage against his ruthless god "You fool, how in your greatest need can you abandon most glorious man who lives and fights to give you shape? You fill our hearts with cries and vehement desires, then sink your ears in silence and refuse to listen; but man's soul will fight on, you coward, without your help!" His heart leapt high, spurned Death, and in the black air cut a thousand roads to fly through. on a thousand wings, then, screeching like a hawk, strove to unwind what fate had woven. [485] Odysseus' rage at God is also "Everyman's" rage and frustration in the face of terrible pain and desolation. Odysseus, like Christ, accuses God of abandoning humans. Like Odysseus and Tantalus, 60

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"Everyman" has wondered and been tormented by desires that go unfulfilled and prayers that seem unheard. Victory and defeat can be compared to the journey and the destination. It is the undaunting and valiant effort that makes the journey victorious and this is the great affinity that Odysseus shares with humanity. In spite of his apparent dejection, he attains new vitality and direction. While the survivors curse God as the destroyer who burned away their loved ones, along with all hope, Odysseus' hair turns white as he witnesses the carnage and suffering around him: "I see new seed before me and a new race of men. He spoke and once again their shriveled hearts grew bold." (493) The rejection of God and Odysseus' reference to a "new race of men" reflects the existentialist influence of Nietzsche and the Promethean aspirations of his second forefather. Nietzche's "new race of men" parallels Prometheus' intention when he stole fire from Zeus so that humans could have intelligence. For Prometheus' indescretion against the gods, he was cast out and bound to a mountain. Similarly dejected, Odysseus and what is 61

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left of his crew approach the existential abyss: "From now on Death and God are one! May they be cursed!" God seemed to him a crocodile in the sea's midst that shuts its cunning black eyes and pretends to sleep; then man takes courage, climbs its scaly back, grabs trowel, clay, and stone and builds his tall dream-town, then couples on the savage scales and fills his cradles; but when the brainless monster suddenly flicks its back; all, souls and rocks and swaddling clothes, roll in the waves. [494] The primitive crocodile is a metaphor and image often used by Kazantzakis to portray the savage power of God who also reflects nature as well as man himself. The metaphor symbolizes an impersonal God who is also like the power of nature itself. When Granite later finds Odysseus sitting cross-legged on the ground, "his white hair like dandelion fluff was plucked and swept in the sun and wind" ( 49 5 ). Granite panics at the thought that his captain might be giving up: "Great Captain, rise! The earth is good, don't leave her now, take up your arms, become your people's guide once more and cleave new roads!" These words surged up and hung on Granites trembling lips but his voice choked in his tight throat, he staggered back, for the lone man turned slowly, speared him with his dark eyes as his mind marched beyond all sorrow, joy, or love -desolate, lone, without a god-and followed there deep secret cries that passed beyond even hope or freedom. 62

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[495] From the depths of despair, Odysseus regains the strength of Heracles as Kazantzakis' illustrates his renewal with dramatic nature imagery. His recovery is portrayed as a metamorphosis: Untamed Odysseus raised his head on high and hung above the chasm and sank into the terror of thought. The contours of his brain glittered like mountain peaks ... his soul cut cleanly from the worm, became all silk, and slowly wove its fine cocoon in the empty air. As the fierce sun grew dim, his memory grew sweet, leopards passed by like sighs, and the worlds holy myth like an enchanted prince was drowned in the swift stream. The inner rose burst into bloom and sucked his heart, his mind grew light, and the starved flesh turned into spirit. [496] In Odysseus' rejection of God as "the world's holy myth," he turns more toward an existentialist reality and embraces the Dionysian and primal spirit in nature and himself: Now, the great forest sups and clacks its tongue with greed, varied sweet fruit perch on its palate, slowly melt, and on its bitter lips bees drip pure wild honey. Far off a pomegranate softly burst and flung its fruit and the archer's breast was filled with pomegranate seed. His nostrils quivered as he smelled deeply in woods fragrance of rotted leaves, waters, and steaming soil, white hidden jasmine sprays that blossomed in dark wells, until the great ascetic's eyes brimmed full of tears and his brains smelled of laurel, thyme, and golden furze, his fingers dripped with the thick musk of too much love .... As days and nights plucked off their hours like daisy petals Odysseus questioned all like a great lover in pain. 63

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[498] Odysseus revels in the sensations of his own flesh and then rejects the painful distortions aroused by the dichotomy of the mind and body: "What do I want with the mind's hollow satisfactions, why should I seek god in the clouds." (500) Here, Odysseus realizes the essence he gives to his own existence in contrast to the delusion of it descending out of the clouds. Kazantzakis' existential metaphor, of Odysseus giving essence and divinity to himself rather than seeking it from God, is enlivened through his use of evocative and sensual imagery: One morning as his body glowed rose-red in the sun, and all his senses, his five bronze-etched weapons, shone, he fondled his lean sides, his loins, his armored head, and its hide shuddered to recall all it had borne and joyed in---sun, rain, sea-drift, women, wounds-until he suddenly felt a tender love for his maligned, most faithful body, raised his hands and blessed it wholly. with his swift dancing till it dwindled and cast sparks like a shy bride surrendering in a man's wild arms ... 'I rise high on the shores of time, I shape, reshape with water, blood, and sand the adventures of all man ... When the great dancer had danced his fill, he shrank like fire, the burning stones grew calm, the world stood still once more, and as he panted, the brain sucking man could hear his blood leap frothing through his flesh from head to toe. 64 [498] [51 7]

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The ever present "flesh" in Kazantzakis' rhapsodies reflects Odysseus' existential identity embodying Dionysian sensuality. As the existential hero becomes more enlivened, The Odyssey paradox becomes even more distinct. Odysseus, now the existential ascetic, is still mired in flesh: His soul hung over the cliff, all phallus and all womb. I'm the warm womb that gives me birth, the grave that eats me. The circle is now complete, the snake has bit its tail. He felt he tossed the sun and moon in both hands. It must be an ascetic who dwells in flesh of flame! It must be an ascetic who cools his soul in fire. [51 6] [51 8] [51 8] [51 8] [523] By Book XVII, Odysseus the ascetic has acquired a following that reveres him as a messiah. Still there is something of the warrior and the heritage of Heracles that stays with him as he fights another war inside himself: "Always a sweet light drunkenness impels my heart. I've passed through mountains, countries, seas, I've conquered towns I've juggled women's heads and breasts high in the air, and through my open fingers blood-rubies flow, but still my hearts not gorged, nor are my hands replete. I always think I've touched a girl for the first time. 65

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climbed up a castle for the first time or held it tight like a red apple, cooled my hand for the first time. My heart strains like a ships sail and my body creaks, black women wave from beaches with white lotuses." [528] The striking image of black women and white lotuses illustrates Kazantzakis' continuing motif and paradox of humanity: the flesh and the spirit. The black and white images also figure as vivid symbols for the Dionysian and Apollonian conflict. "Mind" and "War" are also evidenced in the paradox of humans which Odysseus reconciles in the following passage: for in his heart the brother's Mind and War embraced, and he stood still to enjoy the whole conciliation ... which was he-the first son, War, or darling Mind, then laughed, knowing that this was but an ancient myth, and that both Mind and War, frail thought or sturdy deed, feather of peacock or the war's unpitying blade, changed places freely in his juggling hands, just as he pleased. [549] Odysseus' newfound sense of conciliation between the warring factions of his soul, mind, heart, and flesh allow him to finally feel at home in the world. In Book XVIII, Odysseus dreams of a Dionysian festival: small hairy demons danced with horse-tails stiffly straight and beautiful brown-haired Nereids reeled in flowering fields. Two girls with heads thrust back in rapture beat their drums, 66

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an old potbellied satyr dragged a lean he-ass with cackling cries, a wineskin slung across his back. A shaggy youth danced in the lead and held aloft a fertile phallus, that full-weaponed head of hope; bare-bosomed maenads danced, and flaming apples clashed and clashed again in apple trees and glowed in night. A red-haired maiden loosed her hair till flames rushed down her back, another spread a leopard hide and placed her virgin thighs as offering to the lurid sky. The wedding pomp passed through the glen like a swift stream till youthful Greece's azure seashores gleamed and glowed as gentle light dripped softly on old olive trees. [556] Here again, Odysseus is enraptured in the the sensual delights of nature and Bacchus and all that is Dionysian. He is nostalgic, especially for his youth and for his home, Greece, which are both portrayed in a dreamy mood of eroticism. When Odysseus awoke from his dream of Greece, he was weak from hunger. A young negro pitied him and gave him some food to eat. Odysseus' experience of Africa is a metaphor for the most primal and atavistic aspects of mankind's heritage of devouring and insatiable Tantalean desires: In Africa, night growled like a tall virgin forest where stars in darkness mutely glowed with dreadful eyes as though fierce lions, leopards, tigers lay in wait while scorpio coiled and dripped its venom on the world. Sometimes night seemed like a black rose that drove men wild, and Death like a small honeydrop lodged in its heart. 67 [559]

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Death, fear, and survival are the primal motivations in the wilds of Africa and in the essential nature of mankind. Darkest Africa, in its wildness, also represents the darker and bestial nature in Odysseus. His mind then becomes a metaphor for his ship and the darker nature of the flesh. "Good voyage, brimming mind of salvation! Go! The poor poets of our wretched earth can't hold you now; and do not deign, 0 Free Heart, ever to return-its sweet to scatter in the dream of nonexistence." The full-rigged mind then turned and sweetly smiled in shade. [560] Odysseus is about to realize a great sense of freedom when he is approached in a dream by the Black Tempter. The episode is reminiscent of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the desert: "The earth has hatched the flame of freedom much to quickly; I'll rise and smother it with clouds of dust!" It spoke and a small Negro boy sprang from the ground with carmine painted nails and gold bells round his throat, who crawled toward the tree's bole and held in his plump hands some heavy dust to cast on the loan man's soaring flame. [559] Odysseus is now referred to as the savior. Like Christ, Odysseus suffered in his existence and now wants to ease the suffering of mankind. His gift to humanity is the truth that brings freedom 68

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from ignorance and suffering. Odysseus rejects the Black Tempter: "Ah, old arch-cunning comrade, my mind's ancient cloak ... my mind has climbed earth's highest peaks and knows this truth: I am the savior, and no salvation on earth exists!" The cooling flame of freedom wrapped him like a cloak, life and death merged as though he gently held jasmine and April roses till their fragrance mingled. He gleaned within him the double joys of man and god; in the same luscious meadow, dreams and firm flesh browsed, his hands rejoiced in fondling all the upper world and yet his mind rejoiced to scatter it far and wide. His backbone then began to play like a long flute; "My house is azure atmosphere, the stones are clouds, my two town gates are sun and moon, the rafters dreams, and in my minds green pasture s all thoughts graze like flocks; my slaves, the gods, stoop low and fetch me fantasies and in my fingers glow the castles keys, the flame! Freedom ascends like smoke and holds up the whole world, my children are the lightnings flash, the winds, the seas, and death is a bitten apple, an unfolded rose which I press to my chest till my mind faints with fragrance. The hornet has lost his pain packed sting, his yellow goad, and flies on my white-flowered head. all in my brains distill to quintessential pith, a puff of blue green smoke, the secret of the world." [562] [562] The secret of the world is Odysseus' gift to mankind, yet he does not quite realize the essence of it himself. In a caravan, a prince called Motherth seeks out Odysseus, the ascetic and savior. Prince Motherth's story parallels that of the 69

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Buddha before he finds enlightenment. The prince is haunted by the harsh realities of human existence, such as suffering and death. Here again, Buddhist ideology is reflected through Odysseus. Buddhist philosophy says that the root of mankind's suffering is his desires. Odysseus also points this out: "Forward! Saved now from the heart's passions, the minds ills, we freely hang upon this crackling flaming air all mankind's joys, and write his burning history there! Some crackpots search for God, thinking perhaps he lurks somewhere amid the branches of the flesh and mind; some squander precious life, chasing the empty air ... But others, great brain-archers, know the secret well: By God is meant to hunt God through the empty air! These tread the high peaks, these hunger satiates; such border-guards fight bravely on despair's sharp edge. [573] Odysseus relieves Prince Motherth's despair, yet the contradiction of Tantalean desires and Buddhist thought remains unresolved, except for a sense that the hero attains a growing acceptance of his nature, in all its aspects. As Odysseus and Prince Motherth enter the next village, Kazantzakis draws another parallel with the .. world famous.. courtesan Margaro and her equally famous biblical counterpart Mary Magdalene. Odysseus says to Margaro: 70

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Beloved fellow warrior of my dreadful strife, I saw you somewhere as I fought with shadows once; I thirsted, you scooped water in your slender palms and I knelt down like a shy fawn and drank until I sprouted many-branched and manly horns from joy; my dear, I shall descent to eat in your cool cool garden shades. [575] Odysseus makes love to Margaro in the same way Kazantzakis portrays Jesus being tempted by Mary Magdalene in The Last Temptation of Christ. The elaboration here, however, is far more erotic and sensational: As the sun dropped on earth like a lush honeyed fig, the mortal wedding pomp stopped at an arched door with shameless and erotic signs on its red lintels, and the old athlete leapt like a youth in the whores court ... His lustrous hand slid slowly on her new-washed hair then softly licked her temples, ears, her lips, her cheeks, lingered upon her fluttering lashes, then once more ascended slowly smoothly to her fragrant hair till all at once her lovely face grew thin and faded as though the unsated fingers ate without compassion The strong soul-snatcher looked at her with pain then raised his flesh devouring hovering hand above her head: "Salvation may be sought by seven secret-paths, and you, Oh much-kissed body, are the most occult. May the soft mattress of your labors be thrice blessed, for in your deep refreshing gardens' azure shades your worldly-wise, forbearing body all night long draws back the bolts of our salvation with caresses. Some bring the earths salvation with the mind's bright toys some with the fruitful drudging goodness of the heart or with a high proud silence and child bearing deeds ... or with the grey horseman, war the murderer. 71

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But you take lover's lane, open your door with stealth, clench myrtle sprays between your teeth, place Lethe's flower a blue bloom on the cliff, within your bosoms cleft. You merge all bodies into one. [576] Odysseus redeems Margaro and Kazantzakis once again glorifies the outcast and desperado. In this manner Odysseus also redeems humanity as the outcast of what is believed to be divine and virtuous and upholds the ideal of spiritual grace even within the "debased flesh." In Odysseus' encounter with Margaro and Prince Motherth he again reflects the Buddhist influence. Odysseus is often referred to as the godslayer which parallels the Buddhist saying "if you meet the Buddha on the road, slay him." This idea also reflects the premise upheld in the Renaissance Humanist movement of the divinity of humans. Odysseus tells Margaro, "there's no you or I, for Life and Death are one!" Buddhism has it that there is no separation in "you" or "I" and "Life" and "Death." Odysseus goes on to say: Seven well hidden paths lead to salvations grace and I shall take the path of black despair and empty my heart of sorrows passions, joys. forswear, Motherth, all virtues, glories, deeds and minds! 72

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Foreswear earth's creations they are but fantasies. [575] Here, earth's fantasies relate to the world of delusions which Buddhism refers to as unenlightened human perception. Earlier, Odysseus also refers to the seven paths leading to salvation which parallel Buddhist ideology in its Eightfold Path and the eight classes of consciousness from birth to death. 61 With this infusion of Buddhist influence into The Odyssey, Kazantzakis portrays Odysseus as a man who ultimately embraces the flesh as well as the mind/spirit because essentially they are all one, according to Eastern thought. The delusions and despair that human's suffer are the result of their own conceptions of "debased flesh" and their mind's distorted preconceptions of how to act and seek spiritual grace. The Buddhist influence here is important because it allows Kazantzakis to draw from a . '= philosophic ideal and impart it to his hero so that he thereby is enabled to embrace the flesh, as well as the spirit. By the end of Book Eigbteen, Odysseus prepares to depart from 61 Philip Kapleau. The Three Pillars Of Zen ( New York :Doubleday Publishing Group, 1965) 247. 73

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his sensual surroundings and matters of the flesh: As the soul snatcher crossed the young whore's garden plot he stood upon the threshold with resounding heart and dragged all things in his eyes for the last time: the fragrant body of the maid, the downy youth ... For a brief flash his eyes grew glazed, he pitied man ... Behold how here, in Margaro's wide court, my word leapt up like fire, a pomegranate tree whose boughs hang heavily down with seven different kinds of fruit .... the sensual whore strains hard to pluck the one most sweet, but the sad prince would choose with pride the bitter fruit ... "But soon that day will come when freedom and despair wild brother, savage sister, will meet beneath my word .. and seven varied fruits will merge in one whole fruit" .. He was once more alone, and turned his white haired head, nor did his feet know now what road to take, nor did his mind, that great road-pointer, know what to command; his soul spread like an open sea, and roads ran everywhere. [581-82] "his soul spread like an open sea," and roads running everywhere relates to the Buddhist idea of Oneness. Odysseus gains this sense of a synchronous relationship between others and himself through these exchanges with the world around him. Odysseus transforms Margaro and Prince Motherth, as well as himself, through these encounters. For Margaro, Odysseus points out that she also, in her own way, gives a loving service to humanity and is worthy of salvation. Prince Motherth is inspired by their 74

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meeting and sheds his princely garments and crown to become more like the ascetic Odysseus. At the crossroads once again, after meeting the prince and prostitute, Odysseus continues his journey alone. In Book XIX, Odysseus begins to confront Death in various guises: "I see a dragon in the sky with thrashing tail, he swoops with open mouth to swallow sun and all!" "That is no dragon friends, that is no raging storm, I see Death dash across the fields on his black steed!" Thus did the eagles quarrel on airs tumultuous peak while down below on flimsy earth's worm eaten crust Odysseus stood erect in the fresh dawn and watched ... He had no God or master now: the four winds blew, and in his chest his compass-heart led on toward Death The lone man's mind grew vast, he took a new road then hung a carnation on his ear and bit his lips as life flared up and faded on his salty gills and Death perched like a cricket on his shoulder blade ... Push on toward the blue sea, 0 slayer! I'll greet you there!" The sea rose in his loins and flooded all his mind ... Thus did Odysseus push on toward his mother, the sea. [586] Odysseus' descent out of primitive and Dionysian Africa, back towards the sea, symbolizes the hero's metamorphosis of flesh and spirit: "All Flesh had to turned to spirit now, all soul to flesh, all to swift dance and counter dance led by the mind until he trod 75

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on earth no more but like the wrath of a dead saint danced without wings above his head." (586) The theme of transmutation and dancing continue to illustrate Odysseus' catharsis and spiritual evolution. Along the way, back to the sea, "to the vast womb," Odysseus nurtures his encounters with humanity. The motif of the sea and the womb reflect further the Buddhist thought. In the Three Pillars of Zen, Roshi Philip Kapleau states: "This life is not unlike a wave on the vast ocean; its brief existence seems apart from the ocean; and in a sense it's not the ocean-but in substance it is not other than the ocean, out of which it arose, into which it will recede, and from which it will emerge again as a new wave. In just the same way individual consciousness issues from pure consciousness and in its essential nature is indistinguishable from it.62 Kapleau goes on to say that their common element is the Void. Odysseus has yet to fully embrace the Void, which also involves facing his own immortality. On his way back to the sea, Odysseus' next human encounter is 62 Kapleau, 362. 76

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with Captain Sole who parallels Cervante's Don Quixote: "Alas, I've studied well our master's air-brained skull: it billows like an empty gourd with not one seed. If he goes off his bean, my lads, and takes a shine to war, and comes to unhook us from our cobwebbed nails, then farewell bedbugs, idle comforts, beds of dust, for no soul shall escape our master, Captain Lankiest!" The battered shield once more poked out its timid head to urge with gallant speech that all withstand their lord ... He was lean, gangly, gawky, his head flat as a pie, his hair was matted and his ancient scars were dyed; ... in the sun a bony ancient camel wheezed. 'Lightning, rise up, we're off to war! Let the world flash." [61 8] Captain Sole tells his old mother that he's off to war: "Mother I pity mankind and I hate injustice. I'm off to bring bread, love and freedom to all mankind." Instead of mistaking windmills for dragons as Don Quixote does, Captain Sole mistakes a flock of sheep for the enemy: But he still flailed his rusty sword in the wilderness then cupped his eyes against the sun and strained to see whether the foe or white sheep gleamed on the mountains ridge. He perked his ear and gaped, yet could not quite make out whether he heard the clash of arms or a flocks bleating "Follow me lads, attack! Cut them to shreds! Assault Lightning take wing, lets reach that manly threshing floor!" But his old camel reared, then fell flat on her face, and the bold rider tumbled, stumbled, sprained his ankle. [61 9] When Odysseus comes upon old Captain Sole he knows that he has 77

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met a kindred spirit. While he admires the old man's fighting spirit, he can't abide his impracticality. Odysseus rescues Captain Sole from cannibals and still the old man wants to fight them. Odysseus tells the old man: "You're a disarmed old fool! Let well enough alone!:" But the old codger raged: his dreamy eyes flashed fire: "So long as slavery, fear, injustice rack the world, I've sworn my friend never to let my sharp sword rest." [623] Captain Sole represents another image of human virtue. In spite of his unwitting actions, he reflects the human capacity for righteous fortitude. Finally, Odysseus admires his friend and says goodbye: "You know that you will burn and fade in flame one day but you assault the deep abyss, turn flame to wing! Good luck to you, my friend, may your mind know no better for you are the earth's crimson wing, the only one she has!" [p.#] The "earth's crimson wing," Captain Sole, also represents purity and freedom in his incorruptible battle of justice for humanity. In Books XIX and XX, the encounters with the prostitute, the prince, Captain Sole, and the hedonist demonstrate patterns of human nature and levels of spiritual potential. The meaning of 78

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these encounters reflects aspects of Odysseus himself, as well as the world at large. The pattern of meaning in these encounters is left for Odysseus to ponder and understand as he makes his way out of the forest and back to the sea. In this final passage, Odysseus encounters others who illuminate more positively the potential for divinity in the human spirit. The Lord of The Tower, however, demonstrates the opposite potential. Captain Sole makes a striking contrast with Odysseus next human encounter: The Lord of the Tower. The Lord's surroundings tell much about the condition of his soul: sunk in foul stagnant waters, drowned in warm quagmires, "How can the soul of man live in such vile morass?" the lone man mused, and longed to meet the tower's lord. to see what human soul's become in flowering bogs. [628] The Lord of the Tower represents the stagnant decadent aspects of human potential. In contrast to Captain Sole who possessed purity of spirit and passion for justice, The Lord of the Tower is devoid of human virtue: this man nor loved nor hated, all great passions passed and were refined to nothing in his barren heart; he was earth's final shriveled bloom, the sterile chaff. 79

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[629] The Lord of the Tower invites Odysseus to a cockfight to study his reaction. The cockfight is bloody and gruesome and draws the human parallel of war and man's inhumanity to man. Odysseus is disgusted by the Lord and his bloody demonstration: "Time is a clinging shirt of flame that wraps my soul; for you it's but a cooling muck in which you sink. slowly with pig like pleasure till all joy is smirched; aye, lord of mud, farewell, my slim flame says goodbye." he felt his shaken head pulse as though with cares, as though he'd seen the last excrescence of the world; when earth would grow diseased and strength disperse like smoke, such sallow shriveled souls would slowly molt in loom. [631] Odysseus is sickened by his encounter with the Lord of the Tower and gladly resumes his seaward destination. Since the destruction of Odysseus' _Ideal City, his ascetic wanderings through Africa have provided a universal composite of human types and potentials. First, there was Margaro, the prostitute. For Odysseus, she represented the flesh and the primal Dionysian side of himself. Yet, he also realizes the Apollonian side that even she possesses. Margaro gives of herself in a way that involves more than flesh and sex. She gives comfort which is 80

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also a form of love, as Odysseus sees it. In his encounter with the prince, who represents the young Buddha, Odysseus reconciles the young prince to the realities of suffering in the world, so that he may go on towards his path of enlightenment. Like the teacher or healer, Odysseus affirms to those he encounters truths that he also is trying to realize. With Captain Sole/Don Quixote, Odysseus recognizes a soulmate in the comic knight's fighting spirit. Even though Kazantzakis calls him Captain Lackwitts and Odysseus recognizes the impracticality of his mission, their fight for humanity is performed in all sincerity. The next encounter with the hedonist contrasts everything Captain Sole exemplifies, although he can barely stand. Still, Odysseus can not help but know that this creature too (the hedonist) is also a part of humanity and a part of his own atavistic nature to some degree as well. They reflect multidimensional humanity with its polar capacities for Apollonian and Dionysian manifestations. Odysseus consumes the heritage of his forefathers: Tantalus the unsated, Prometheus "father of flame and brain," and Heracles the tireless 81

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warrior of the spirit, thereby transforming himself along with the humanity he encounters and shares. He absorbs and reflects his impressions of these encounters in their synchronous relation to the wheel of life and freedom, as it is either enhanced or diminished depending on the nature of their heart and actions. 82

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CHAPTER 5 TEXT ANALYSIS: BOOKS XXI-XXIV In Book XXI, Odysseus finally reaches the sea again and his final homecoming. The sea reminds him of his mother, and later, while playing in the waves, Odysseus remembers his faithful dog Argus, from Homer's original epic. The holy voyage once more formed in the archer's mind, and as he watched the emerald wash in the ships wake ... The white-haired athlete smiled, took up the road once more .. and he dashed down toward the sea, his mother's breast .. He dashed down to the sea shore, caressed the frothing mane, recalled the other faithful dog, dark eons past, who in his sullied courtyard wagged its hairless tail and in defiance of the suitors dashed to greet him. "Argus !" he cried out in his mind, and the dog leapt from his far grave, besmirched with mud, and wagged its tail ... He played and shouted with the waves a long time ... he slept by the sea's foam for many hours .... perhaps his sleepless thoughts like arrowy shuttles sped from East to West and wove the embroiders he desired. The embroiders of East and West symbolize the still divided [651] aspects of Dionysian and Apollonian longings and the atavistic and spiritual qualities he still desires to hold on to. Not all aspects of the dualities are desirable or abhorrent; e.g., the 83

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hedonist and merciless savage at one extreme, and the passionless and cold ideal of an ordered and disciplined existence at the other extreme. The spectrum allows for a maze of dimensions and possibilities contained in the paradox of human duality and mythological metaphor: "By God, at times the whole world seems like a strange myth, the mind like a bewitched and pallid prince who flings the hundred gold gates of a haunted palace wide, all doors adorned with different knockers, varied signs, but the mind holds key-clusters, opens and walks through." [654] Before Odysseus ends his own myth, he savors his last earthly pleasures with a black woman on the beach: "Let this be my last fondling of a woman's flesh!" ... He smiled softly and fondled the earth within his mind. When the snow-captain took his fill of the girl's hugs, he placed about her ankle a bronze ring for thanks. After this last encounter with a woman's flesh, he becomes [655] hungry and heads for the town harbor for food. Along the way he is touched by an old man tending his orchard: an orchard bloomed where the old gardener stooped and stroked with tenderness the mane of a bent pine and pulled it gently down that it might fall with grace like a large peacock's emerald tail and deck the ground; 84

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with an unpitying love, with gentle stubbornness, the old man swerved and tamed the wild pine's destiny, until Odysseus marvelled at the mystic strife: "if only by such fondling I could turn the course of Death!" the lone man thought, watching the old man battle the dreadful powers with patience and mute joy. Just like a skillful, pitiless, erotic hand he thought, fights with our hearts, and some men call it God, some fate and humbly bow, but I call it a man's soul that now has freed itself and takes what shape it wills. [660-66] Odysseus reveres the "mystic strife" of the old gardener irt his blooming orchard and admires the deftness by which he takes hold of the world around him. The garden symbolizes nature itself with its dreadful Dionysian powers and the gardener symbolizes a Godlike human with a "skillful, pitiless, erotic hand." As Odysseus passes through the town walls, he finds :H:i'rnself amid "crooked and expensive lanes of lust": The sun had set, and rutting males came down in drives like sting cocks puffing out their glistening feathered chests, and giggling women waited, row on naked row. Like shiphead gorgons covered with bright heavy paints, each stood firm-breasted by her door and laughed as sweat ran down and thick rough cracked on their wet cheeks, and dripped. "Well met, my painted sisters! Your good health and joy!" Odysseus shouted, right and left, with a wide grin, but the young hens played shamelessly with his white hair and the whole district clacked with goading jeers and laughs: "Welcome to grandpap! Hail to his empty saddlebags!" The laughter rolled along the lanes like tumbling stones 85

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and lone Odysseus felt ashamed, sought where to flee, like a rhinoceros pecked by myriad goldfinch flocks. An ancient hag with sagging dugs stood by her door and held to bursting pomegranates in her hands, an old, old warrior of love who still could fight with gallant strive on her worn mattress, old Dame Goody; and now she ran to help the archer escape the jeers: "Forgive them, they're still young, old man; youth knows no pity; here, take these pomegranates to refresh your soul." [661] Dame Goody illustrates another desperado/picaro who possesses grace in the midst of decadence. Again, Kazantzakis presents the paradoxical juxtaposition of human grace in the face of its most primal appearance. In this sense, Odysseus' experience of the human tapestry of dualities encompasses the whole Dionysian/ Apollonian paradox. However, his transformation by these experiences is not quite finished. Odysseus continues on his way through the village as a beggar and, with bowl in hand, he receives some bread from a new bride. This gives him enough strength to begin building his new ship the next day: He hacked away three days to pile wood for his ship, and the blue sea washed in and out and drowned his mind. Dear God, to build one's coffin, to heap high the logs, to come close swiftly to your tomb with each ax cut, to carol like a bridegroom blithely, to sink down together with the sun and swim in the cool sea! He thought how on sun-haired Calypso's distant isle 86

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he had once swiftly built a ship to reach his home. [665] Soon he will cast off for his final home, yet he still has one last encounter with a young Negro fisherlad who represents the Christ figure. The young man says: "Blessed be the grace of God, our eternal father! It's He who from His love created fish and sea. It's He who brims our nets and fills our hearts with joy." (672) Odysseus' encounter with the Christ figure is like the meeting of an old sea wolf with a lamb. An angry young man says: "If an unjust man would strike me hard on my right cheek what is my duty then, 0 fool? 0 then my brother, turn your other cheek, and smile!" The archer listened and with terror shook; he'd never heard on earth before so sweet a voice, but his mind mocked, denied those gentle words, and mused: He crept behind the youth, then raised his hand and struck the unsuspecting lad hard on his tingling cheek ... "0 white-haired brother strike again to ease your heart!" But the sun archers hand hung down in shame: Forgive me, friend, I longed to measure your strange mind. [675] Odysseus is deeply moved by the encounter which parallels Christ in the Bible, yet he resists the words of the Christ-like fisher lad, who also represents Apollonian ideals. Still Odysseus is prideful in how he has lived his life: 87

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"To think I hastened with swift pace to leave this world!" Time passes now, the North Wind blows, my swift ship leaps but yet I keep my passions reined and can't drink deep enough of your strange words that herald love and peace. I fought on earth, the zigzag path I took was drenched in blood, I conquered till my backbone glowed with light, and now I hoist red sails to keep my tryst with Death, [p.#] Odysseus converses with the Negro fisher lad about the ideals of their own myth. Finally, Odysseus tells him: "You love that giddy golden finch, the soul of man, that's caught in the lime twigs of flesh and flaps its wings high toward the empty airbrained sky and strives to flee but I love man's sad flesh, his mind, his stench, his teeth, the mud-soaked loam I tread upon, the sweat I spout, but best of all that dreadful hush when war has ceased. Farewell!! Our meeting was most good, and good your words, but better still the parting which will last forever." In this moment, Kazantzakis reveals that there has been no synthesis of flesh and spirit for Odysseus, as criticism has suggested. Rather, Odysseus' journey has transformed and transmuted his mind's gleaning and apprehension of the God within who possesses a Dionysian predeliction and also a spirit of Apollonian longing. Yet, they are not synthesized. Odysseus' metamorphosis is like a patterned mosaic that encompasses chthnonian and erotic nature and the spiritual 88 [677]

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longings of the ascetic and creative ideals of Apollo. He is like a lusty ascetic who wants the best of both worlds. By the end of Book XXI, Odysseus casts off for the South Pole and says farewell to Dame Goody who has come with an apron full of pomegranate for his last journey: "Ahoy how I love this last gift which earth hands me now! ... Your health, dear friend! The fruit is good! Hail and Farewell!" The old recruit of kisses heard her praises told, and her Joins filled with joy, her sagging dugs grew firm, her long life glittered like a pomegranates tree, her bed clashed like a war-shield in the strife of love, like a young girl she danced among her garden blooms and all the contours of her face glowed with loves flame. Odysseus leapt into his skiff, a youth renewed ... gripped all the landscape with his reaching glance, then loosed his minds fine tentacles and fondled all the earth. An octopus in rut. who flings a tenacle on his unmoving mate with slowly sucking pores, then draws it softly back and casts another arm and strokes her mutely in the depths for hour on hourthus did the dying man's long mind reach out to stroke the earth with all his smell, his touch, his taste, to clasp her tightly in his arms and speak his last farewell ... The sun sank and the face of the widowed earth grew dark as though she wept because her lover was now leaving. [679] As Odysseus sails from earth and all that flourishes there, he sets out on the vast abyss of water he has come to love so well. Chthonian, fluid, and explosive Dionysian nature, however, 89

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flourishes at sea as well as on earth. Still, the sea remains a symbol of the spiritual journey and Apollonian search for higher knowledge. On this last leg of the journey, Odysseus' mind shifts to thoughts of his impending death and how his spirit has driven him. In Book XXII, as Odysseus sails closer to death, he is not without fear for the state of his spiritual grace: 0 Virtue, precious and light sleeping daughter of man, how you rejoice when, all alone, biting your lips, poor, persecuted, thrust into the desolate wastes, you find no friend on whom to cling, no straw to clutch ... He sailed in his coffin all day, all night long. [680] Yet, on the seventh day when sharks begin to circle his boat, he hollers: "'Farewell!, Turn to your prey, I'm not yet food for sharks,' the boatman mocked, and cast off fish and birds like old soiled clothes, and breathed the crystal solitude, stripped bare." (681) Later, fear disappears: In that black whirlpool hour of parting when the soul clutches the body in great fear and won't let go, the lone man's savage heart quailed not, his mind shook not, but in the just scales of his inner pride he weighed his soul well, wing and claw, and found it was not wanting ... 90 [681]

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"I've no quarrel with the world, and if the mind at my last breath, grow suddenly weak and start to curse, don't listen. Life, the wretch is mad; may you be blessed with all your laughter, all your tears!" [683] As Odysseus leaves life behind and reflects on all that it has been, he has nothing to repent. There are no regrets for his savage actions or remorse for his Dionysian lust for life. Still, as Odysseus drifts and waits for death, in between salty gales and delirious dreams, he grows physically weaker and vacillates in his courage and steadfastness: Odysseus shuddered one cold dawn, for in his mind the swift thought flashed: this was no current or plain sea but an unleashed mute whirlpool that now swirled toward death. "Ahoy, my gallant soul; didn't wimper, swift-eyed girl; life's but a song, sing it before your throat is cut." "What is life, what secret governs it? There was a time I called it lavish longing God, and talked and wept and battled by his side and thought he too, laughed and wept and battled beside me, but now I suddenly feel I've talked to my own shadow! God is a labyrinthine quest deep in our heads; weak slaves think he's the isle of freedom, and moor close, all the incompetent cross their oars, then cross their hands, laugh wearily and say, 'The Quest does not exist' But I know better in my heart, and rig my sails: God is wide waterways that branch throughout man's heart." "Life, you've a thousand faces, and I love them all!" 91 [688] [689] [693]

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In "wide waterways that branch through a man's heart," Kazantzakis essence and divinity to Odysseus in the existential sense whereby his hero finds God and spiritual virtue in the relationship between himself and existence. Yet, his atavistic and Dionysian heritage is not deminished nor is it synthesized. The paradox remains even though Odysseus has undergone a metamorphosis of spirit. The Odyssey is like the sculptor or the old gardener who prunes and sculpts the orchard so that it may possess grace. The trials of the journey have tempered Odysseus, but they have not tamed his passion. For Odysseus, the journey enlivened his hunger and thirst for knowledge in the Apollonian and spiritual sense. In Books XXIII and XXIV, Odysseus dies slowly as he drifts between atavistic and delirious dreams of the past and fond memories of family and friends and crew. As death encroaches in his final moments, his friends and crew suddenly appear, dreamlike and back from the dead, to bid him one last farewell: "all faithful forms I've loved, all hearts and souls come ... Broad-buttocked Kentaur squirmed, his bones knit once again ... "Don't weep, my wimpering friend, I don't smell of the grave though worms drip from my eyebrows still and from my hair ... 92

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friend don't get lost, don't question, follow your dream only." [746] Then appears Captain Sole: "Captain Sole stopped benignly by the seashore's rim, grasped lightly his long empty sheath with his left hand and place his right hand on his chest to show esteem." (749) His old crewmate Hardihood also pays his respects: "If it's true murderer, that you called, and that I leapt out of my grave, I'll seize the sword once more and stand at your right side to burn that famous town once more." (749) The next to pay their respects were Dame Goody and Margaro, the old prostitute and the younger courtesan: "Our great Beloved called and we leapt from our graves and now rush swiftly to adore his bloody feet. Thus the two women swiftly passed with heads held high and old age slowly fell from them like fetid moss." ( 7 51 ) The two whores conversed: "I praised God because he gave me breasts and womb. Aye, Margaro, I've studied love in this world well, there's much on earth I've suffered, yet I don't repent and now that lifes come back, I'll take the same road twice!" Then came were Rocky and Granite. Odysseus thought he must be drowning, still he embraced 93

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them both. Even Helen came to say goodbye: "When Helen turned and laughed, the earth swayed like a rose, the old man broke in a dance, the earth's dust swirled." (775) Diktena and the old sea wolf Captain Clam also came: "Captain Clam broke in smiles and strode over the earth scattering his Cretan ashes right and left in the wind." (77 5) Finally, Rail and Motherth arrive to give their last farewells. Odysseus tells Motherth: "Alas you've tasted the lotus' forgetful fruit." Motherth replies: "This sage, my friend, seems like a greater Dionysus; sober amid earth's wine vats now, ruthless and sweet; for blood within him turns to soul and lucid light." But as Motherth was sinking in the cellared ground he suddenly heard a dread cry tear the sky above him a swift noose seized and hung him for a moment high, his soul and body hovered in the darkling air, the faithful shrieked and when they raised their eyes, they saw a dread spread eagle soaring, screeching, through the sky, and their great sage hung dangling in the grip of savage claws. [769] Odysseus, released, falls down to his ship where his three great forefathers, Tantalus, Prometheus, and Heracles stand as the ship's masts: And the great body of the world-roamer turned to mist, and slowly his snow-ship, his memory, fruit and friends 94

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drifted like the fog far down the sea, vanished like dew. and the great mind leapt to the peak of its freedom ... soared high and freed itself of its last cage, its freedom. All things like frail mist scattered till but one brave cry for a brief moment hung in the calm benighted waters: "Forward, my lads, sail on, for Death's breeze blows in a fair wind!" [775] 95

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CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION Odysseus' journey, metamorphosis, and death symbolize the human striving for meaning and freedom in a paradoxical world of Dionysian and Apollonian forces. Kazantzakis' text, Odysseus' journey, and all the desperado characters and episodes reflect the expressions and conflict of Apollonian and Dionysian nature. Odysseus, like his crew and most of the personal encounters, is a picaro and desperado figure who represents the Dionysian ideal. Kazantzakis' text overflows with erotic Dionysian nature imagery. The nature of Dionysus is chthonic, fluid, and cataclysmic.63 Like Kazantzakis' rhapsodies, Odysseus' journey is filled with stunning images and erotic adventures. In the beginning, Odysseus illustrates the most savage and vulgar aspects of Dionysus when he slaughters all the suitors and later provokes Bacchanalian mayhem with his crew. The less sinister aspects of their Dionysian behavior are playful 63 Camille Paglia. Sexual Personae (Yale University, 1990) 94. 96

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drunkenness and wantonness at night. By day, however, as the crew build their ship, they become more serious and Apollonian minded. Also, once they set sail, they become more Apollonian as they must function in an orderly fashion to reach their destination. Nietzche calls Apollo "the marvelous divine image of the principium individuationis, god of individuation and just boundaries. "64 In this sense, Odysseus' slaying of the suitors is more than Dionysian; the act also echos Nietzsche's Apollonian reference of "just boundaries." While Dionysian influence dominates the beginning of The Odyssey, Apollonian ideals slowly begin to surface as the journey progresses. Odysseus' three ancient forefathers combine the attributes of both Dionysus and Apollo. Certainly Tantalus is the most Dionysian, with his insatiable appetites. Yet it is Tantalus who provokes Odysseus onward in his journey. Prometheus is the most Apollonian of his forefathers with his prominent emphasis on the "light" of the mind and higher learning. In Camille Palliates' chapter on Apollo and Dionysus, out of Sexual Personae, she 64 Paglia, 71 97

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writes: The quarrel between Apollo and Dionysus is the quarrel between the higher cortex and the older limbic and reptilian brains .... In the west, Apollo and Dionysus strive for victory. Apollo makes the boundary liines that are civilization but that lead to convention, constraint, oppression, Dionysus is energy unbound, mad, callous, destructive. Apollo is law, history, tradition, the dignity and safety of custom and form.65 Even Prometheus was not completely Apollonian because he also broke the laws of the Olympians by stealing fire from Zeus so that humans might have knowledge. It is Heracles, however, Odysseus' third forefather who evidences a more balanced possession of both Apollonian and Dionysian aspects. He possesses strength and energy in his legacy for Odysseus, yet he also bestows to him spiritual and numinous longings. Odys_seus' great forefathers are like his ship's masts, as they influence the way of his journey and metamorphosis. The crew, Captain Clam, "broad-buttocked Kentaur," and Granite are "bumptious vulgarians. "66 Even Odysseus, in the beginning is not much better. Odysseus' first adventure leads to the second abduction of Helen and the betrayal of his friend and 65 Paglia, 96. 66 Paglia, 65. 98

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fellow warrior Menalaus. Even though Helen goes along willingly, Odysseus' unvirtuous behavior towards his friend does not concern him. Odysseus and Helen sail to Crete and become involved in the orgiastic bull rituals of the decadent King ldomeneus, and then later participate in his kingdom's overthrow. Initially the Dionysian elements evolve in the bull rituals; later Apollonian justice prevails in the kingdom's uprising and overthrow of the decadent monarch. In this manner, Apollo represents society. In later episodes, Odysseus again becomes involved in revolution and joins the starving and oppressed rebel slaves in Egypt. These involvements lead Odysseus towards a more conscious awareness of human injustices and suffering and touch on the Apollonian connection of society and religion. Thus, the experiences of Odysseus' journey enliven a new affinity for God, humanity, as well as nature. Even as these affinities interrelate with Apollonian and Dionysian attributes, for Odysseus they do not fuse or synthesize. His most bitter experience of this occurs when he tries to build his "ideal city." 99

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The Apollonian ideal built it and Dionysian nature destroyed it. Odysseus' reconciliation of the downfall leads him toward ascetic wanderings and encounters with the Mary Magdalenes, Don Quixotes, messiahs, and hedonists of humanity. The flesh and the spirit, the Dionysian and the Apollonian are all intermingled in this colorful menagerie representing humanity and Odysseus himself. Yet, his metamorphosis through The Odyssey is Dionysian. Plutarch said: dismemberment is a metaphor for Dionysus' metamorphoses ... into winds and water, earth and stars, and into the generations of plants and animals ... Dionysus shifts through all forms of being.67 Similarly, Odysseus shifts through all of Kazantzakis' characters, from messiah to whore and from Don Quixote to the hedonist. In Kazantzakis' Dionysian nature rhapsodies he also Odysseus' communion with Plutarch's "earth and stars" and "plants and animals." Ultimately, Odysseus embraces them all. His lust for living was more like Zorba's than the messiahs. Still, Odysseus had come a long way from the savage dragon that murdered and debauched throughout the night. Odysseus' 67 Paolia. 95. 100

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metamorphoses neither synthesizes the flesh and spirit nor what is Dionysian or Apollonian within him. In the end, his Dionysian predilection remains, yet he is tamer. The ascetic seeker of numinosity has evolved in Odysseus, and somewhere in the pattern of his wings, there is Apollo also. However, Apollo's designs could never be the dominant ones for Odysseus or else he never would have found his freedom. Odysseus' journey and gift to humanity is the message to "rig your sails," take courage and action, embark on your own Odyssey of self-discovery, and honor the senses and divinity you find there. "0 Sun, my quick coquetting eye, my red-haired hound, sniff out all quarries that I love, give them swift chase, tell me that you've seen on earth, all that you've heard, and I shall pass them through my entrails secret forge till slowly with profound caresses, play and laughter, stones, water, fire, and earth shall be transformed to spirit. and the mud-winged and heavy soul, freed of its flesh, shall like a flame serene ascend and fade in the sun." 101 [777]

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Books Bien, Peter, and Edmund Keeley. Modern Greek Writers. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972. Bryfonski, Dedria, and Sharon K. Hall. Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Vol.2. New York: Gale Research Company, 1979. Cirlot, J.E. A Dictionary of Symbols. Translated by Jack Sage. New York: Dorset, 1991. Friar, Kimon. Introduction and translation of The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1958. Grimal, Pierre. The Dictionary of Classical Mythology. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986. Homer. The Odyssey. Translated by Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Anchor, 1974. James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York: Viking Press, 1982. Jung, Carl. Psyche and Symbol. New York: Doubleday, 1958. 102

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Kazantzakis, Helen. Nikos Kazantazkis: A Biography. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968. Kazantzakis, Nikos. The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. Translated with Introduction by Kimon Friar. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1958. Kazantzakis, Nikos. Report to Greco. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965. Kazantzakis, Nikos. Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises. Translated with Introduction by Kimon Friar. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960. Kazantzakis, Nikos. The Suffering God. Translated by --.: Ramp. New York: Caratzas Brothers, 1979. Kazantzakis, Nikos. Zorba The Greek. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952. Kapleau, Philip. The Three Pillars of Zen: New York: Doubleday Publishing Group, 1965. Larrabee, Harold. Selections from Bergson. New York: Appleton Century-Crofts, 1 949. 103

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Lea, James. Kazantzakis: The Politics of Salvation. University: University of Alabama, 1979. Levitt, Morton P. The Cretan Glance. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1980. Paglia, Camille. Sexual Personae. New York: Random House, 1990. Politis, Linos. A History of Modern Greek Literature. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974. Prevelakis, Pandelis. Nikos Kazantzakis and His Odyssey: A Study Of The Poet and The Poem. Translated by Philip Sherrard. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952. Stanford, W.B. The Ulysses Theme: A Study in the Adaptability::of a Traditional Hero. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1963 Articles Bien, Peter. "Zorba the Greek, Nietzsche, and the Perennial Greek Predicament." The Antioch Review 25 (1965) :147-63. Bien, Peter. "Nikos Kazantzakis" Columbia Essays on Modern 104

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Writers Pamphlet No. 62 (1972) :41-3. Block, Adele. "The Dual Masks of Nikos Kazantzakis." The Journal of Modern Literature 2 (1972) :189-98. Flay, Joseph. "The Erotic Stoicism of Nikos Kazantzakis." The Journal of Modern Literature 2 (1972) : 293-302. Levitt, Morton P. "The Cretan Glance: The World and Art of Nikos Kazantazakis." The Journal of Modern Literature 2 (1972) :163-88. Newton, Rick M. "Homer and the Death of Kazantzakis' Odysseus." Classical and Modern Literature 9 (1989) : 327-339. Stanford, W .B. "The Ulysses Theme: A Study in the Adaptability of a Traditional Hero." Wilson, Colin. "Nikos Kazantzakis." The Mediterranean Review (Fall, 1970), 33-47. 105