• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov - A review.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov A review Set in Moscow during the darkest period of Stalin's regime, in the 1930s after the Russian Revolution, The Master and Margarita is a piece of literary alchemy. It is a fusion of Geothe's Faust, fragments of autobiography, an alternative version of the crucifixion of Christ, a tale of political repression and a meditation on the role of an artist in a society bereft of freedom and individuality. The book does not have a readily describable plot as the narrative structure is intricate and complex, with several stories nestled in one; inside one narrative there is another, and then another, and yet another. The Master and Margarita begins by inter-weaving two apparently unconnected tales and later introduces a third which unites the other two narratives at the end. The first narrative concerns a visit to Moscow (1930) by the devil in the disguise as a professor of black magic, Professor Woland. Woland and his infernal retinue, including a hit man with appalling dress sense Koroviev, a vampire maid, Hella and a six foot black cat, Behemoth who walks on his hind legs, drinks vodka and eats caviar, wreck havoc and chaos in Moscow. They upset the literary world of Moscow and disrupt the life of ordinary Muscovites by putting up a black magic show. In the magic show, Woland showers the audience with tempting gifts of money which later changes to strips of paper and tempts the ladies with Parisian gowns and shoes which later disappear. ...read more.

Middle

The recurring motif of betrayal seems to reflect Bulgakov's doubts about his own artistic integrity and the strength of his artistic will. So the theme of betrayal and redemption in The Master and Margarita seems to be rooted in Bulgakov's coming to terms with the compromises he'd made to ensure his artistic expression. The Master and Margarita does not just protest against Socialist realism, it voices a disgusted mockery of the attempts by the Soviet authorities to control art and the attempts to define what art is and the role of art. Bulgakov mocks the blind conformity of the Muscovites to the ideals pre-packaged by the Soviet spin doctors. When Woland and his retinue visit Moscow, the grimmest and most hilarious fates are reserved for the hypocrites, of the city's theatrical and literary establishment, the writers of "acceptable" literature. Early in the book, Berlioz, chairman of the MASSOLIT literary association is spectacularly decapitated by a tram and Latunsky the literary critic who publicly criticized the Master's novel has his apartment ruined by Margarita in revenge and one by one, the prominent figures in society are driven insane or publicly humiliated. One can almost detect a certain tone of relish as Bulgakov describes the hilarious bizarre fates that Woland and his gang deal to these prominent figures who conform to the authorities. The Master and the Margarita makes a bold statement about the ability of literature to endure throughout the ages. The Master's novel, despite mockery, persecution and rejection gains everlasting life that can endure even the test of fire. ...read more.

Conclusion

Human nature is also mocked when Woland and his gang wreck havoc in the streets of Moscow. He takes joy at seeing Muscovites at their weakness. He knows that money and possessions will appeal to them and they play right into his hands by making fools of themselves to acquire these worthless things. He makes a mockery of all that man desire in life as the material processions disappear into nothing. He shows that money and processions are of no real value, they are what the foolish, greedy and shallow minded care about. Only art and love are eternal. The love that the Master and Margarita have is so strong that they transcend the sometimes absurd world of politics and corruption, not to heaven, but to a world of two. Thus in conclusion, The Master and Margarita shows just how important freedom and individuality are and the power of literature to surpass any human attempts to control it. It concludes that blind conformity to any notion or ideal is the ultimate evil. Arenberg states that "the Master demonstrates that each man's salvation lies within himself" and that "Bulgakov recognized that men follow the path of least resistance, denying their own imaginative capabilities in favour of institutionalised ideologies, organized religion and conventional morality". The book serves as a monument to all courageous authors who in Salman Rushdie's words "attempt radical reformations of language, form and ideas, those that attempt to do what the word 'novel' seems to insist on: to see the world anew." ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Art & Design section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Art & Design essays

  1. Does Religious Art have any Relevance in Today's Society?

    What kinds of people come to visit these exhibits? Sandra- Oh... Uhm... I mean like, from a religious standpoint. Sandra- Erm, well it varies really em I'd say our biggest, em, audience are from other countries so they are like, tourists and that would incorporate a lot of you know,

  2. Line " the essence of art, the language of free expression.

    was highly inspired by the impressionist and post-impressionist artist during his stay at Paris. Edvard Munch (1863 - 1944) is one of the greatest expressionist artists, and his prime era was during 1892-1908 in Berlin. Munch was one of the greatest inspirations for the German Expressionist Movement, as Munch's style

  1. Wang Wei: Master of Jintishi

    By creating these parallelisms and juxtaposing the images, Wang Wei was instilling them with deeper meaning, placing the human world as a part of the natural world rather than the uncultivated wild being separate from the world of villages and neatly kept gardens made by man.

  2. Brandind the Future

    A lot of people have even stopped going to pubs altogether, preferring to stay at home with a nice glass of wine. This is why Carling has started to drop the blokey double-act that dominated its TV adverts for so many years, in favour of a more surreal gender-neutral approach.

  1. Discuss some of the ways that postmodern photographic practice questions, critiques, or opposes Modernist ...

    It can be said that Newton plays with our response to a sexually charged photograph. As seen above it was in changing camera angle, lighting and pose that Newton confronted the male gaze. The idea of Futurism and capitalism as a positive thing were two important narratives of the Modernist age.

  2. General Franco ordered the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica on 26 April ...

    At the breakup of his marriage, Picasso virtually abandoned painting for a period and issued forth his emotions in a number of drawings and etchings. Sometimes the savageness of the bull dominated, or the figures breakup into a cubistic style with bull, horse, and matador in a distorted fashion.

  1. Design a poster to promote transport

    With the train on top of it and looking like it is heading into the distance it looks as if it is going towards the places on the track. Instead of stations on the map we have the capitols of the European countries.

  2. Gustav Stresemann, the most influential German politician from 1923-1929 helped Germany, in many ways ...

    Alternatively, some artists, such as Hannah Hoech were members of new movements. She was a member of a group, which believed that the absurd should be considered normal, much of her work was in the form of collage, assembled from smaller parts, including photographs.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work