LITERATURE: The Master and Margarita – Plots Unraveled

These last two chapters relate back to the story of Pontius Pilate and the execution of Yeshua, supposedly the story rewritten by the Master, the novel that was partially destroyed by fire and salvaged by the devil at Margarita’s bequest.

The most interesting point of the story is the twist of Judas’ part in the betrayal of Yeshua, and his death–not by self-hanging, as in the Bible, but through an intricate plot by Pilate to assuage his own guilt for the part he has played in Yeshua’s death.

Just as interesting to me is the marvelous writing out of this plot by Pilate.  The chapter titled "How the Procurator Tried to Save Judas of Kerioth" is completely tongue in cheek. As Pilate orders a trusted follower to "prevent" the murder that night of Judas, he is in fact telling him to commit that murder.  The dialogue in which this plan is transmitted from one man to the other, and the subsequent report of its success is cleverly woven.  The reader, believing just the opposite of what is being said can only hope that the men understand each other as well.  There is even a "guess" by Pilate that perhaps Judas has killed himself, to which his guest  assures him why this isn’t possible.

One more little tie-in with what I believe to illustrate a theme of betrayal is the meeting between the visitor and a young woman named Niza who follows instructions to lure Judas to the desolate garden at Gethsemane where he is to be assassinated.  Niza is a married woman, evidently having had an affair of sorts with Judas, just as Margarita with the Master.  The coup de grace of the devil Woland’s performance at the theater was to expose the sexual dalliances of a respected member of the audience.

We wonder now about Margarita, and if despite her deal with the devil, she will remain true to the Master.

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