In the closing years of his life as a secondary school pupil, Nikos first came into contact with art, scepticism, action and sexual love. The first play he saw was a performance of Schiller’s Die Räuber held in a yard in one of Heraklion’s poor neighbourhoods; shortly after this, he played Creon in a school performance of Oedipus Rex.
If art captivated him, knowledge gave him his first disappointment. The scientific theories he was taught shook what he had taken as certainties and gave rise to agonising questions. He dedicated himself to study for a while, but later abandoned this to carouse in the cabarets of Heraklion.
At the same time he felt attracted by the idea of taking action against injustice and social inequality. Together with a group of friends, he thus founded a new “Friendly Society” (named after the secret society behind the Greek independence movement), the aim of which was to create a better world. Lastly, in the summer of 1902 he had a brief affair with Kathleen Forde, the Irish woman who taught him English.