LITERATURE: The Master and Margarita – Demi-Climax

As I mentioned, the variety of characters, the different story paths were leading up to what the reader, as he learns more and more, comes to believe will be a momentous and telling part of the narrative.  The mysterious and prescient Professor Woland’s performance of black magic at the local theatre has been built up by Bulgakov not for its action necessarily, but for anticipation of the unexpected, based on the characters and their actions leading up to thte stage event.

"Tell me, dear Fagot," inquired Woland of the buffoon in checks, who obviously had another name besides Korovyov, "have the Muscovites changes, in your opinion, in any significant way?"

(…) "Indeed they have, Messire," was Fagot-Korovyov’s soft reply.

"You are right.  They have changed a great deal…on the outside, I mean, as has the city, by the way.  Apart from the obvious changes in dress, there are now these…what are they called…streetcars, automobiles…"

"Buses," Fagot chimed in, respectfully.

The audience listened attentively to this conversation, thinking it was the prelude to the magic tricks.  In the crowd of performers and stage hands backstage.  Rimsky’s pale, tense face could be seen.  (p. 101)

Lots of good stuff going on here.  First, we realize that the professor, his odd sidekick, Korovyov, and the vodka-drinking black cat are real enough to be seen by the entire audience, something I was mentally questioning.  This cracked me up: …who obviously had another name besides Korovyov..  That’s got to be one of the greatest authorly intrusions ever, as well as an hilarious comment on Russian tendencies in novel writing.

But the audience is confused–and here, the reader has a bit of an advantage, having learned a bit of these characters in the first one hundred pages.  The professor seems not to be pulling rabbits out of a hat but rather more interested in talking about society, politics perhaps. There’s got to be more entertainment–dangerous entertainment–brewing here and the reader may bring the experience and fantasy of his own knowledge to enhance the scenario.

Me, I see the theater doors slamming shut, locking.  The lights dim to total blackness and there, on the stage, the professor stands alone in the spotlight…

This entry was posted in LITERATURE and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.