Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita Essay

Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita Essay

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The vast interpretations and multiple meanings that lie within Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita cannot be limited or reduced to just a singular point or explanation. It would be ludicrous for one to simply classify Bulgakov’s work as just a religious, ethical, social or political tract because the enforcement of only one of these points of view would hinder the reader’s insight into the depth of the entire novel. However, it is possible to be able to grasp the many themes and meanings of The Master and Margarita by the examination of one of the novel’s central characters, this character is found in both narratives of the novel and his name is Woland or, as he is also known, the devil. Woland is the most important character in the novel because he entices the people of Moscow, whether they want to or not and whether they are conscious of it or not, to rebel against the order of which they are accustomed too and to gain a new found sense of liberation. Colin Wright, in his work Mikhail Bulgakov: Life and Interpretations, writes, “And here we find the key to the whole book for, as we have seen, it is the individual non-conformists who are Bulgakov’s heroes, those who rebel – whether against God or man” (270). It is understandable that Bulgakov, having written this work in an oppressive surrounding that limited what he could and could not write, creates a hero who is in fact a rebel and other characters that are rebellious against those who stifle artistic freedom. In Vladimir Tumanov’s essay, Diabolus ex Machina: Bulgakov’s Modernist Devil, the author writes, “In this respect the modernist qualities of Bulgakov’s novel acquire a new dimension because Master i Margarita becomes a kind of artistic devil, fulfilli...


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...ivision of humanity into good and evil is no longer useful and the transcendence of the need for retribution is the goal” (362). With Woland, Bulgakov sends the message that humanity falls into a grey area and that one needs to show compassion to their fellow human beings instead of always seeking vengeance.



Works Cited

Bulgakov, Mikhail. The Master and Margarita. London: Picador, 1997.
Franklin, Simon. Introduction. The Master and Margarita. By Mikhail Bulgakov. 1992. Great Britain: Everyman’s Library, 1992.
Proffer, Ellendea. Bulgakov the Magician. Afterward. The Master and Margarita. By Mikhail Bulgakov. 1995. London: Picador, 1997.
Tumanov, Vladimir. Diabolus ex Machina: Bulgakov’s Modernist Devil. Vol. 35. Scando- Slavica, 1989.
Wright, Colin. Mikhail Bulgakov: Life and Interpretations. Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1978.

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