Ironic Parallel Between Afranius And Margarita

876 words - 4 pages

In The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov creates a world of parallel narrative planes with intriguing similarities between characters in each plane. One of the most interesting such doubles is the example of Margarita and Afranius. Although this connection may be surprising at first, there is plenty of compelling evidence to prove the conclusion that Bulgakov purposefully intended these two characters to be a pairing. I will show that this evidence is found both in the parallel between the similar surroundings of each character and in the striking parallelism of the two characters' function in the novel.
In chapters 24, following the midnight ball, Margarita and Woland are relaxing in Woland's bedroom. The first time Margarita met Woland, he had been lying down; however, he is currently “sitting in his nightshirt on the bed” (236). Woland asks Margarita if “they [wore] you out completely,” but she denies it. Woland nevertheless insists that she “drink up” and “sit down” to restore her strength. After Begemot's little scene, Woland and Margarita resume their business, which is right now for Woland to reward Margarita for her services at the ball the previous evening. Later in the chapter, Woland offers a prophecy in which he tells the Master that the Pilate novel will surprise him, but that nothing terrible will happen. The prophecy, of course, hints at Woland's own intentions. Finally, just as Margarita is about to leave, Woland surprisingly takes the gold and diamond horseshoe from under a pillow and insists Margarita take it, even though she refuses at first.
In chapter 25, which not-coincidentally follows the previous scene, Bulgakov shifts to Jerusalem, where Pilate is waiting for Afranius to return from the execution. Whereas he had been sitting in his chair before, he is now lying on the couch. There is food and drinks on a table next to the bed. The broken pottery and the wine spilled on the floor reminds us of the shattered glass that the Master had dropped in the last chapter. When Afranius arrives, Pilate insists that he change into dry clothes. Although Afranius refuses at first, Pilate insists again just as Woland had done in the last chapter, saying “I won't hear of it” (257). He also insists Afranius “sit down and have some wine” before getting down to the business of Afranius's report of the execution. Pilate is pleased and and rewards Afranius by telling him that he intends to mention his hard work in a report to Rome. Later on in the chapter, just as Woland had done in the previous chapter, Pilate offers a prophecy in which he reveals that Iuda will be murdered that night. Finally, just as Afranius is about to leave, Pilate...

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