The Master and Margarita (1928-40) - Published in installments in 1966 and 1967 in the journal Moskva. - The large novel takes place on three levels, each of which provides a commentary on the others. Historical narrative is set in Jerusalem, where Pontius Pilate condemns to death a man, Jeshua, whom he knows to be innocent. Contemporary narrative is set in Moscow, where the Master and Margarita live and where the Master has written a novel about Pilate. The third, fantastic level introduces the devil, who steps out of Goethe's Faust. He appears in Moscow with a retinue that includes an enormous black cat. The devil, Woland, is unconventionally seen more as an agent for good. Moreover, the character of Jesus, called Yeshua, in not very Biblical. The philosophical and religious themes and examination of the freedom of art circulate around the intrusion of the devil into the life of modern Moscow and the crucifixion of Christ. Interacting and competing discourses from the realms of science, religion, literature, history, and politics, complicate further the narrative. Master burns his manuscript and retires to a madhouse. Margarita's love for the master drives her to a pact with Satan.
we live for nothing. we die for free
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