Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov wrote the book ‘The Master and Margarita,‘ which was originally released in 1967. The novel is renowned for its rich and complicated cast of characters, who are all related to the book’s overall themes of corruption, power, and truth.
Each of the characters in ‘The Master and Margarita‘ represents a distinct dimension of the human experience and is complicated and multifaceted. Each character is crucial to the novel’s examination of power, truth, and corruption, from the sorrowful Master to the cunning Behemoth.
The Main Characters in The Master and Margarita
Woland is the focus of the story. He is Satan, and during his trip to Moscow, he decided to assume the identity of Woland. Woland is a paradoxical character who is cunning and honorable, brutal and kind. He has the “foreigner” look, frequently wearing a black robe, and has eyes of many colors that symbolize the complexity of his nature.
One of the things that connect Woland to the devil figure in Goethe’s Faust, along with his Germanic-sounding name and the novel’s epigraph, is that he frequently walks with a stick adorned with a figurine of a poodle’s head. Woland is very different from the typical conception of the devil in that he seeks to bring out the worst in people rather than torture them for his amusement.
The image of the artist as someone who holds up a mirror to society is strikingly similar to his job in this regard. He is a supporter of acknowledging and comprehending the role that evil plays in the world, not of evil per se. Near the book’s conclusion, Jesus best articulates this to Matthew Levi by saying that just as people and things cannot exist without casting a shadow, neither can good and evil. He is thus a sort of intellectual figure, a real “foreigner” from outside of human moral realms, whose rule is to draw attention to the hypocrisy and foolishness of humankind’s haughty actions.
The protagonist of the book is a woman named Margarita, who is in her late 30s. Although she is married to someone else, the master is her genuine love, even if she is unsure of his state of life. Margarita does not appear in the narrative until about halfway through, but it is then that her significance becomes clear. Margarita has a long history of feeling mistreated by reviewers and editors, so when Azazello’s cream transforms her into a witch, she decides to ruin Latunsky’s residence, one of the master’s fiercest detractors.
She stands for resolute faith and steely determination. She accepts the responsibility of serving as a hostess at Woland’s (Satan’s) Ball with daring and tenacity because she thinks that by aiding the devil, she might be able to win back her master. Margarita finds out that the “Margarita” who hosts Woland’s ball every time is related to French royalty, which explains why the ball’s attendees refer to her as their Queen. Margarita can save the master and spend all of her time with him thanks to her assistance to Woland (leaving their earthly bodies behind).
Many academics argue that Elena Sergeevna Shilovskaya, Bulgakov’s third wife, served as the inspiration for the character of Margarita. The Master and Margarita is a startling example of how art may imitate life: it was only made possible by Elena’s perseverance, just as Margarita persistently backs the master’s Pontius Pilate novel.
The master’s book is about Pontius Pilate, the fifth procurator of Judea. His choice to sanction Yeshua Ha-Nozri’s execution in the city of Yershalaim is at the heart of his story, which serves as the counterpoint storyline to the major event in Moscow. Pilate is in a position of authority and cannot be viewed as weak. Nevertheless, he is intrigued by Yeshua’s special personality, which is founded on compassion and empathy, and over time, this interest grows more and stronger in his heart. Pilate attempts to atone for his error in allowing Yeshua to die by assassinating Judas of Kiriath, the person who planned Yeshua’s imprisonment.
Pilate spends the next two thousand years in a kind of limbo, gazing up at the moon with his devoted dog, Banga, by his side. However, this doesn’t provide him with any real resolution. To reverse his decision to approve the execution, Pilate longs to be with Yeshua. When Woland convinces the master to finish writing his novel by releasing Pilate, Pilate is eventually released for free. At this point, the confused Pilate leads his dog up a moonlit path and finds Yeshua. Therefore, Pilate stands for human authority in opposition to Yeshua’s divine authority; his millennial suffering results from the recognition that the latter is more significant than the former.
One of the two titular characters is the master. He has given up on life and is a worn-out man. The majority of his backstory is revealed to the reader when the master scales Ivan’s window at Stravinsky’s clinic, where he is also a patient. He discusses the two most significant aspects of his life—his love for Margarita (whom he won’t name) and his failing novel—in low tones. The master says that despite both of them previously having husbands, Margarita and he fell in love at first sight. She then pushes him to start writing his novel on Pontius Pilate, to which he devotes his entire soul and is funded by money from the master’s lottery victory.
The psychological suffering caused by the novel’s rejection by editors and the vicious dismissal by critics, however, forces the master to leave the apartment he shares with his girlfriend after it is done. He decides that he is crazy and resolves to remain at Dr. Stravinsky’s modern clinic forever after walking for miles to get there. He is shocked to see the love of his life when Margarita, who served as a hostess at Satan’s ball, requests for the master to return to her.
Woland is surprised to find that his novel is still intact (the master had burned it in the fire). Yeshua Ha-Nozri grants the master eternal peace and releases Pontius Pilate from his tormented limbo before the master spends eternity with Margarita in a tiny house (both of them have left their earthly bodies behind). The master stands for genuine artistic expression and, via his persecution, the hardships faced by artists in the Soviet Union under Stalin. By himself, Mikhail Bulgakov offers the blatant archetype for the master’s character.
Jesus of Nazareth is known as Yeshua in Aramaic. Despite having a crucial role in the story, Yeshua doesn’t get much screen time. Yeshua is brought before Pontius Pilate on charges that he intended to foment an uprising and destroy the temple of Yershalaim (having been set up by Judas of Kiriath). Yeshua maintains that he has been misrepresented and that this was not his intention. He exhibits a kind of extreme sympathy and thinks that everyone is “good.”
Pilate finds this intriguing, but the procurator lacks the guts to prevent Yeshua from being put to death (though he does try to persuade Joseph Kaifa, leader of the Jews, to pardon him). Near the end of the book, Yeshua makes another “off-stage” appearance when he sends Matthew Levi to Woland with a message: Yeshua has read the master’s novel and commands Woland to grant him peace. This proves that Yeshua stands for the highest authority in the spiritual hierarchy contained in the text.
Mikhael Alexandrovich Berlioz
Berlioz is the editor of a literary publication and the chairman of the authors’ union Massolit. He is a middle-aged man who takes great satisfaction in his atheism, reason, and intelligence. In the novel’s opening scene, Berlioz makes an appearance and reprimands the poet Ivan Homeless for making Jesus seem too real in a previous poem. A weird foreigner who poses as a professor but is Woland interrupts Berlioz as he discusses why Jesus did not exist. Berlioz believes the visitor is insane because he says that Jesus was genuine and that he was present when Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to death.
Berlioz, who obediently follows routine and never for a second entertains the possibility that anything might be outside the bounds of his intellect, therefore stands in for Soviet officialdom. Woland foresees Berlioz’s impending demise; the chairman is struck by a tram and killed moments later. Woland uses Berlioz’s severed head as a ceremonial cup later in the book and drinks blood while at the ball.
Woland’s right-hand man is Koroviev. He typically dresses in checkered patterns and dons a jockey’s cap and pince-nez. Koroviev is skilled at persuading the citizens of Moscow to exhibit their worst traits. He did this by persuading Nikanor Ivanovich Bosoy to accept a bribe on Woland’s behalf. Unlike the other members of Woland’s group, he never openly engages in acts of violence despite having a piercing, nasal voice, and unpredictable temperament. He prefers to plan scenarios that cause confusion and mayhem.
Behemoth is a huge black cat that has human-like abilities, including the ability to talk and walk on its hind legs. He is the nastiest member of Woland’s squad and enjoys wrecking things. The Sadovaya street apartment building and Griboedev’s were both destroyed by him in the last chapters of the book due to his propensity for starting fires. At the conclusion, his true identity is revealed to be “a slim youth… the best jester the world has ever seen.”
Azazello is an important member of Woland’s support group. He is described as a short, chubby, broad-shouldered man with one fang protruding from his lips. He frequently sports a bowler hat and has flaming red hair. He demonstrates his exceptional shooting skills by shooting a playing card under a pillow while holding the gun behind his back. He is given the task by Woland of finding Margarita and persuading her to accompany them to the ball while simultaneously displaying a penchant for violence. The fallen angel “Azazel” is displeased by God’s creation of humans in the Bible. The killer-devil, the demon of the waterless desert, is revealed to be his actual form towards the conclusion.
Hella is a stunning redhead succubus who travels with Woland. She almost always appears naked and is a vampire. She assists Margarita in getting ready for Satan’s Ball and applies ointment to Woland’s damaged knee as part of her position in the gang. She mysteriously does not show up in the scene where Woland and his party, along with the master and Margarita, ride away from Moscow on horses.
Margarita’s devoted housekeeper is Natasha. Natasha uses Azazello’s cream to transform into a witch after Margarita transforms into a witch and abandons her previous existence. She then gets on a hog, which is her neighbor Nikolai Ivanovich, and meets up with Margarita once more. She asks to be permitted to continue being a witch at the book’s conclusion, and her request is granted.
Andrei Fokich Sokov
The Variety theater’s bartender and buffet manager is Andrei. Following Woland’s “black magic séance,” theater patrons spend their ticket money at the bar and buffet. Andrei visits Woland when this money subsequently turns into torn-up paper, and Woland casually informs Andrei that he would soon pass away from liver cancer. Professor Kuzmin sees Andrei, and a few months later, Woland’s prophecy comes true.
When the master was admitted to Dr. Stavinsky’s clinic, Aloisy was the one who moved into the master’s previous residence. Koroviev removes Aloisy’s name from the apartment registration after Woland summons him to appear before them, allowing the master and Margarita to reclaim their former residence. Aloisy is an interesting example of a loose end in the book. Bulgakov had the master explain to Ivan in an earlier draft. He was so homeless that Aloisy had denounced him for having illegal material. This would have been an action driven by a desire to obtain the master’s residence, which would explain why Woland later threw him out again.
Who is the most fascinating character in ‘The Master and Margarita‘?
Woland, sometimes known as Satan, is one of the book’s most intriguing characters. Despite being the novel’s main adversary, he is shown in a sophisticated and nuanced way that makes him a fascinating and alluring figure. Woland is a rich and nuanced figure who is intelligent, endearing, and occasionally even sympathetic rather than merely a straightforward incarnation of evil.
Woland pulls off a variety of miraculous deeds that both the reader and the book’s protagonists find difficult to believe during the course of the story. He utilizes his authority to put right wrongs and punish those who deserve it while exposing the hypocrisy and corruption of Soviet society.
Who are the protagonists in ‘The Master and Margarita‘?
There are two prominent protagonists in ‘The Master and Margarita,’ namely, The Master and Margarita. The Master is a writer who published a book on Jesus’ crucifixion, but the Soviet authorities banned it. He is overcome by loneliness and despair, but his love for Margarita gives him inspiration and hope. Margarita, the Master’s muse and lover, is a courageous and self-reliant lady who is not afraid to take chances and give up what she loves for those she cares about.
What is the central idea behind ‘The Master and Margarita‘?
The story investigates the idea of good and evil and contends that they are not always black and white. In the book, the characters are nuanced and frequently possess both good and evil traits. Good and evil, according to Bulgakov, are frequently entwined, and it’s crucial to see past outward manifestations to comprehend the nuanced character of people.