Monday, November 28, 2011

Woland

As I was reading The Master and Margarita, I could not help but notice something about the character of Woland. On our sheet of discussion questions for the novel, there is one to the effect of "Is Woland evil?" I'd like to chip in my two cents on this interesting question. At first I thought that of course Woland is evil! He's Satan! I mean, how can Satan not be evil? I think that Bulgakov did a great job making Woland's questionable activities seem hilarious. At turns I didn't know whether I felt like laughing at his antics or screaming from horror at the possibility of these things actually happening. It was a confusing reading experience! As the story got further along and we were introduced to Margarita, I began to think that Woland might not be as evil as his title makes him seem. I don't think that he could truly be evil if he helped the Master and Margarita stage their own deaths and run away together with him. It can be argued that Woland did this only as payment for Margarita agreeing to act as his hostess at his party. To this I say that Woland could easily have just killed Margarita when he was done using her or told her to sod off. I think that this points to the fact that Woland and his cohorts really aren't as evil as they may seem. In addition to this is the fact that people benefited in a roundabout way from Woland's intervention in their lives. Take Ivan Homeless for example: it was by being put in the psychiatric hospital after his encounter with Woland that he realized that his poems were not very good after all. Nearly everyone Woland or his associates come into contact with are what could be considered low people. They are greedy, selfish, arrogant, or any number of other undesirable things. In my mind, some of them got their just reward. So maybe Woland isn't so evil after all, eh?

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