Paulliver (paulliver) wrote in bookish,
Paulliver
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bookish

Freedom or Death

Nikos Kazantzakis’ “Freedom or Death” would not take much replotting to turn into a Klingon verses Romulan tragedy, except Klingons are more feminist. In Kazantzakis’ Crete, in which Christian natives are ruled by Turkish conquerors, all real men are happily brutal and win or die in battle. Your manliness is determined by where you stand on the spectrum from hen pecked school teacher to the martyrs for freedom and patriarchy. Despite the characters’ love for war and blood leading to Homeric praise of violence, Kazantzakis does not let the heroes off lightly. At one critical point the hero leads his men away from their posts on a mission of honor, and when they return the Turks have burned down the monastery the heroes were supposed to be defending. Guilt drives the hero’s patriotism to suicidal paths. The contrast between the virile prose and tragic plot makes it hard for me to suss out where the author’s belief’s lie.
Tags: author: k, genre: fiction, genre: historical fiction
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