Handout 2

April 21, 2009

Madness and Civilization 2                                   

Instructor: Svitlana Kobets, PhD

Class 2:

1. Mikhail Bulgakov and his novel “The Master and Margarita” (lecture)

2. The Master and Margarita (discussion)

1. When Bezdomnyi and Berlioz meet Woland they think that he is a foreigner and suspect him of insanity? Why?

2. A number of the novel’s characters go mad. What are the reasons of their madness? How does their madness change their personalities? Discuss in this relation Ivan Bezdomnyi and the Master.

3. What is the role/function in the novel of the psychiatric hospital?

4. Who are the writers in this novel? What do they write?

5. Who of the novel’s authors write the truth? How does the truth influence the authors’ lives?

6. Who relates the events of Yeshua’s story?

7. Discuss the novel’s story about the wandering preacher Yeshua Ha-Notsri. Does it reflect the canonical story of Jesus Christ found in the four gospels? Do Yeshua’s life story and teachings reflect accepted Christian interpretations?

8. Does Yeshua’s idea that all people are good fall within Christian canon?

9. How does Bulgakov realize in his novel the parallel Moscow—Yershalaim?

10. How does the novel realize the connection between the masters and disciples? Are the latter capable to continue the cause of their teachers?

11. What kind of a person is Pontius Pilate? Does his image coincide with the one we know from the four canonical gospels and the historical sources?

12. Does Yeshua recognize Pilate’s position of power? What is his opinion regarding the secular power? What is the place of his ideas in the novel’s discussion of the theme of power?

13. Discuss Jushua’s words that cowardice is the worst of human vices.

14. Why does Pontius conclude that Yeshua is insane?

15. Discuss the novel’s epigraph, “and so, who are you after all?—I am part of the power which forever wills evil and forever works good.” (Goethe’s Faust)


© 2018 by Svitlana Kobets. All right reserved.