LITERATURE: The Master and Margarita – Theme

One of the themes I see in this novel is the one of good versus evil; obvious, since both the devil and Jesus Christ are metaphorically referenced.  But there is more to the repression of Russia’s common folk than temptation and human weakness.  What little they have of opportunity to enjoy life’s little sins is attacked and held up to full view.

In the theater, the devilish trio ended the show with the exposition of a high-ranking official’s liaison with a mistress. His wife having accompanied him makes it a bit more embarrassing, yet she stoically attacks his attackers.

Margarita is "married to an outstanding specialist who made an extremely important discovery of national significance.  Her husband was young, handsome, kind, honest, and adored his wife. Margarita Nikolayevna and her husband occupied the entire upper floor of a beautiful house in a garden on one of the small streets near the Arbat.  An enchanting spot!" (p. 185)

Why then the folly of attaching herself to the Master, a starving novelist?  Then again, who can question the whys of love.  I am not particularly sympathetic to the lovestruck Margarita, only because of her rather selfish ways.  Bulgakov takes it further:

Margarita hung up the phone, at which point something wooden-sounding started bumping around in the next room and began knocking at the door.  Margarita opened the door, and in flew a dancing broom, brush-end up.  It tapped a few beats on the floor with its handle, gave a kick, and strained toward the window.  Margarita squealed with delight and jumped astride the broomstick.  Only then did she remember that in all the confusion she had forgotten to get dressed.  (p. 199)

So naked, greased up with a magic cream given her by one of the unholy three which makes her ten years younger looking, she hops astride the broom and flies out the window ready to meet the devil in the hopes of finding her lost love, the Master. The broom appearing upside-down intrigues me.  The traditional manner of witches’ flight is interesting.  The loss of years is interesting in that Margarita was only thirty to begin with, and thirty at the time of her affair.  There appears to be a touch of the Cinderella fairy tale mixed in with Bulgakov’s story, though our Margarita is certainly no Cinderella in her lifestyle.  Perhaps the reversed stance of the broom is an indication that Margarita does make a transformation, but from riches to rags…or in this case, to no clothes at all.

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