The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

This Russian work has the merit of having endearing, funny and numerous characters. We get attached to the personality of the latter while they are presented as evil in person. 


Behemoth, who is a huge black cat, is one of the funniest characters in the novel. The faithful friend who goes hand in hand with Behemoth is the character of Koroviev.  By his various personalities sometimes, translator, sometimes actor, he shows himself as the nicest of the gang, but whose slyness recalls why he works for the Devil. Contrary to these burlesque characters, there is Azazelo embodying violence in its purest form, but whose kindness comes out somewhat in certain scenes. Finally, Woland, who is the Devil, as well as the leader of the gang, is represented as a friendly and sly old gentleman, which contrasts with the image one might have of Satan.


Indeed, whether the Devil or his acolytes do not represent the clichés attributed to the forces of evil. Even if, when they arrive in Moscow, they sow destruction by burning a good number of buildings and madness by sending a hundred citizens to a psychiatric hospital, we only feel sympathy for them. Despite the apocalypses caused by the Devil’s team, there is no breaking of moral codes as one might attribute to Satan. We can even feel a macabre and diabolical satisfaction when Professor Woland derides Muscovite citizens because it remains “moral”. There are no macabre crimes, only mockery and jesting.


It is necessary to underline the arrival of the real main characters of the novel, namely Margarita and the Master, who only arrive in the middle of the story. It is so surprising for the reader to see the protagonists arrive so late. However, this delay is not felt in the course of history. Indeed, the reader is so absorbed by the adventures of Woland and his magic tricks that we forget the title of the novel and the real characters.

“Reader, you are getting distracted! Follow me!…” If you thought you were doing two things while reading this novel, you would be call to order by the author himself.

Margarita and the Master can be associated with Bulgakov and his wife. Indeed, the story of the Master resembles exactly of the author’s. Victim of censorship, Bulgakov fall seriously ill, which is linked to the sickly state of the Master. Moreover, it was the author’s wife who helped him finish the novel. Indeed, the second part is written by the latter thanks to the dictation of her husband. There is thus a thread that binds Marguerite to Bulgakov’s wife because they never let their lover down and they were always present in painful moments. However, the most important similarity is the one on “eternal rest”. Indeed, Bulgakov wrote this novel in the last moments of his life. He knew he would never see the apparition of his book. But that did not stop him from addressing societal issues and denouncing the Stalinist regime. He left behind a masterpiece denouncing everything he had on his heart. He thus, like the master, found eternal rest by writing this book.


Maud Jaquet



Related Articles