Handout 3

April 28, 2009

Madness and Civilization 2                                   

Instructor: Svitlana Kobets, PhD

Class 3:

The Master and Margarita (discussion)


1. 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 (Homeless) and the Master.

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

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

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

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

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

7. 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)

8. What is the role and place of Variete show in the novel? What other “shows” can be paralleled with this one?

9. Analyze the imagery of execution in the novel. Who and why is executed? How important is this theme?

10. Compare Woland’s omniscience to that of other novel’s power figures?

11. Why in your opinion was the novel Master & Margarita not published in 1930s, the time when it was written? What pointers to the Era of Terror do we find in this narrative? 

12. Discuss the imagery of fire in the novel. What is set on fire? What is consumed by fire? What is the connection between various episodes containing fire and burning?

13. How does one resist Evil? Are the soviet citizens unique in their conformity to the demands of the soviet state?

14. After having read Master & Margarita, would you agree that it is a satirical work? Why or why not? What place does satire occupy in this novel? What instances of satire did you find the most memorable?



© 2018 by Svitlana Kobets. All right reserved.