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Woland As Satan And Stalin Essay

1591 words - 6 pages

The Devil in literature has taken many shapes and forms. Depending on the culture and the time period, there has been representation of the devil that has resulted today in a complex history of this character throughout literary works. There has even been a demonic hierarchy that has come to be, where sometime Satan and Lucifer can be two distinct characters. One is the representation of evil, while the latter is the fallen angel that has dared to defy God. In Russian literature though, Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov follows the paradigm of the Faustian genre. A deal with the devil, and the presence of demonic servants is present, but there are three worlds that are portrayed which end up to be inexplicably linked. Written between the years on 1928 and 1940 reflect the political and social turmoil that Russian society experience, especially with the rise of communist and Stalin. The character professor Woland is introduced in the first pages, but one quickly realizes who this individual actually is. Through a detailed expose of Woland’s physical description, it becomes clear that he is not only the devil named Satan, but also is an allegorical rendition of Stalin.

Using Woland’s physical descriptions, it can be deduced that he is not only a devil, but also rather Satan himself. Woland is first introduced when Bezdomny and Berlioz are arguing about the existence of Jesus, and hence God.

“The subject was lame in neither foot, and he was neither short, nor hugely tall, but simply tall. As for his teeth, the left ones has platinum crowns, the right - gold. He was dressed in an expensive gray suit and wore foreign-made shoes of the same color. A gray beret was cocked rakishly in his ear, and under his arm he carried a walking stick with a black knob shaped like a poodle's head… Right eye black, left - for some reason, green. Black eyebrows, but one was higher than the other.” (Bulgakov, 6).

Having Woland description begin by noticing he was ‘lame in neither foot’ brings in even greater attention to his legs. The handicaps in his legs will be later described in order to create a connection with the fallen angel, who becomes prince of Hell. By being ‘simply tall’, he should not be mistaken to be an ordinary citizen, but rather someone that is physically imposing and authoritative. Possessing platinum and gold crowns, an expensive suit, and foreign-made shoes denotes his socioeconomic status, hence being an individual with considerable wealth. The black walking stick later turns into a sword, that is a direct reference to Satan’s status as a warrior, and his battle in the heavens. The poodle head at the knob of said walking stick is an allusion to Mephistopheles’ form when he is first introduced to Faust, in Goethe’s Faust. Having it6 be a poodle creates a connection with the devil, but not necessarily with Satan; however, that is accomplished with the sword disguised as a walking stick. Placing a peculiar attention to Woland’s eye color...

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