About the Book

Book Protagonist: Margarita
Publication Date: 1967
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Philosophical Fiction

Plot Summary

The Master and Margarita

By Mikhail Bulgakov

In his book 'The Master and Margarita', Mikhail Bulgakov describes how the Devil, posing as Professor Woland, and his entourage arrives in Soviet Moscow. Pontius Pilate, who meets Yeshua Ha-Nozri (Jesus Christ), and Margarita, a conflicted writer divided between her love for the Master and her loyalty to Woland, are two characters whose tales are intertwined in the book. The book makes fun of Soviet culture and examines the nature of virtue and evil.

Mikhail Bulgakov’s book ‘The Master and Margarita‘ is set in Moscow in the 1930s. The tale, which blends fantasy, comedy, and social commentary, centers on the exploits of the Devil, who enters Moscow in the guise of Professor Woland, and his band of cunning goons. Woland stirs up mayhem in the metropolis, revealing the moral decay and dishonesty of Soviet society.

The Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, and his confrontation with Yeshua Ha-Nozri is one of the novel’s main plotlines (Jesus Christ). Bulgakov criticizes both the importance of religion in influencing people’s lives and the brutality and injustice of political authority via the lens of this tale.

The connection between the Master, a struggling author, and Margarita, his loving muse, is another significant focus of the book. The Master experiences writer’s block and depression as a result of the literary establishment’s skepticism and rejection of his novel about Pontius Pilate. On the other side, Margarita struggles with choosing between her devotion to Woland and her love for the Master. Margarita develops into a strong, independent woman as the plot goes on, and she finally makes a sacrifice to save the Master. The book is a critique of the oppressive aspects of Soviet society as well as a commentary on the nature of love, creativity, and freedom.

Summary of Part 1 of The Master and Margarita

‘The Master and Margarita’s’ first chapter introduces the scene and a few of the important characters. A discussion between Berlioz and Bezdomny, two members of the Moscow Literary Society, is shown in the chapter’s opening scene. The editor of a literary journal, Berlioz, does not believe Bezdomny when he says he saw the Devil in the park. Berlioz dismisses the notion and advises Bezdomny to see a psychiatrist.

As Berlioz exits the park, the Devil and a black cat appear out of nowhere and startle him. Berlioz is scared and confused after this experience, and he attempts to warn people about the Devil, but no one believes him. As Berlioz’s actions get more erratic, he eventually passes away from a heart attack and collapses in the street. The Devil, Woland, is also introduced in this chapter. He is an enigmatic figure who travels to Moscow with a cast of bizarre characters, including the cat Behemoth, the black magic expert Azazello, and the poet-necromancer Koroviev. These individuals are represented as naughty and disorderly, upsetting Moscow’s established order.

The chapter concludes with the introduction of Margarita, a stunning woman in love with the Master, a struggling author who is going through writer’s block. In a society marked by moral decay and hypocrisy, Margarita is portrayed as a supporting and loyal muse who stands in for goodness and purity.

Woland and his retinue of oddball characters arrive in Moscow. When they get to the translator’s large flat, Ivan Homeless, Woland immediately starts to raise trouble and commotion in the neighborhood. The reader is also introduced to Ivan Homeless, a writer who is portrayed as being disenchanted with life and society. He is a cynical and caustic character who is quick to point out the moral decay and hypocrisy in the world.

Later in the book, Woland and his pals arrive at the headquarters of Moscow’s literary club. The reader is introduced to several new characters, including the club’s director, the poetess Nadezhda, and the literary critic Ivan Homeless. Woland and his friends perform a magical act for the literary club’s members, who are both amazed and perplexed by it. The show features a variety of illusions and magic feats in addition to Behemoth, a talking cat. The spectacle serves to highlight the mysterious aspects of the story and emphasizes how Moscow is being held captive by an eerie, supernatural power.

Woland makes his way to the theater to watch a performance of the play “Faust” with the help of his band of demons and his black cat. Woland’s magical abilities, which he employs to sabotage the play and cause mayhem, astounded the theatergoers. He uses his supernatural abilities to control the performers and the stage, forcing them to commit ludicrous and weird behaviors that leave the audience in shock. The audience is astounded by Woland’s capacity for foresight, which he uses to further perplex and confound them. The theatergoers become terrified as a result of Woland’s conduct and attempt to flee the premises but discover that the doors are closed. He then addresses the crowd, revealing that he is the prince of darkness and the ruler of the underworld and the hereafter. He discloses that he is there to evaluate how effectively the play “Faust” has been performed and to give people who have led good lives a glimpse of the hereafter.

Summary of Part 2 of The Master and Margarita

The trial of Yeshua Ha-Nosri (Jesus of Nazareth) at Pilate’s palace is the main topic of Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’ part two. Procula, Pilate’s wife, sends him a note at the beginning of the chapter cautioning him not to get involved in the case after she had a terrifying dream about the man being tried. But Pilate disregards her advice and continues the trial. Caiaphas, the high priest, delivers the case against Yeshua, accusing him of blasphemy and asserting that he is the son of God, which the Roman rulers saw as a threat. In his effort to free Yeshua, the Roman governor Pilate struggles between his convictions and his obligations to the Roman people. When he questions Yeshua, he is astounded by the man’s composure and the breadth of his knowledge. Despite Pilate’s efforts to clear Yeshua, the multitude and the high priest called for his execution. By a custom to free one prisoner during the Passover celebration, Pilate tries to do so with him, but the populace picks Barabbas. After then, Pilate abdicates his authority and cedes control of Yeshua’s fate to the crowd.

Meanwhile, The Master is being held hostage in a prison cell after the authorities accused him of blasphemy. The Master considers his past and his connection with Margarita, who had evolved into his muse and source of inspiration. After losing his wife and his source of inspiration for writing, he recounts how he first met her and how she assisted him in finding purpose in life. The Master comes to understand that Margarita is more than simply a muse; she is also a force that keeps him grounded in reality and provides him with a sense of purpose. Part 2 examines the recurring themes of love, sacrifice, and selflessness in the book and sheds light on the Master’s mental state. He thinks back on how their relationship has evolved and how he has come to understand that Margarita is more than simply a muse—she is a true friend and companion.

The last chapter of Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita,’ serves to tie up all the loose ends of the plot. The Master and Margarita are shown in the first line of the chapter finishing the last few sentences of their book on Pontius Pilate in the Master’s apartment. Knowing that he has finally accomplished the job that had consumed him for so long, he feels at ease and resolved as he writes. Margarita is getting ready to leave the apartment in the meantime, but not before she has one last talk with the Master. The novel’s events and the lessons they have discovered via their experiences are discussed by the two during their talk. While Margarita recognizes the transformative power of forgiveness and the necessity of letting go of resentment and wrath, The Master muses on the value of being truthful and the power of love. The picture changes to the last few seconds of the ball that was being held in the flats as Margarita departs. The visitors are gradually leaving, and the devil, who was posing as the enigmatic Professor Woland, is getting ready to leave as well. The devil’s last words to the visitors serve as a reminder of the value of keeping in mind the lessons they have learned through the novel’s events.

Epilogue of The Master and Margarita

The narrator declares in the novel’s epilogue that the events are “strange and wonderful,” but nevertheless true. The narrator then gives a brief recap of the novel’s events, including the devil’s arrival in Moscow, the protagonists’ many misfortunes, and the devil and his entourage’s eventual departure.

The novel’s themes are then briefly discussed in the epilogue, with particular emphasis placed on the notion that the devil’s entrance into Moscow acted as a metaphor for the moral deterioration and corruption of Soviet society. The narrator contends that the devil’s pranks and the characters’ varied disasters helped to illustrate the excesses and absurdities of Soviet life while also underscoring the more fundamental requirement for moral and spiritual rebirth.


What is the primary objective of Woland in ‘The Master and Margarita’?

The major antagonist of Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita,’ Woland, travels to Moscow to wreak havoc and upset the established social order. He is a supernatural character who personifies evil and dark powers. Woland uses his illusion and persuasion skills to mislead, intimidate, and corrupt the Moscow residents. He orchestrates a series of odd and frequently sinister pranks with the help of a peculiar assortment of associates, including a talking cat. Woland wants to expose the corruption and dishonesty of the ruling class by challenging the accepted norms and beliefs of Soviet society through these actions.

Who is Berlioz in ‘The Master and Margarita’?

Hector Berlioz is portrayed as a French composer who goes to Moscow to conduct his works in ‘The Master and Margarita.’ He is regarded as a conceited and egotistical person, and his music is said to have a demonic vibe. Several characters in the book, including Berlioz, are intended to stand in for the impact of Western culture on Russia. His part in the story emphasizes how significant art and culture can impact a person’s life, whether for the better or worse.

What is the writing style of ‘The Master and Margarita’?

Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’ is written in a style that combines absurdist humor, surrealism, and social criticism. The story alternates between many planes of reality while incorporating paranormal aspects and scathing depictions of Soviet culture. The author frequently uses poetic language that is evocative and powerful in metaphor and symbolism to convey his or her themes and ideas. The novel has a fractured narrative structure with numerous intersecting and overlapping storylines and characters.

Charles Asoluka
About Charles Asoluka
Charles is an experienced content creator, writer, and literary critic. He has written professionally for multiple reputable media organizations. He loves reading Western classics and reviewing them.
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