Abaddon only shows up in the novel at the beginning of Woland's ball. According to Woland he is «of a rare impartiality». He sympathizes equally with both sides of the fight. Owing to that, the results are always the same for both sides. He emerged from the wall as the figure of some gaunt man in dark glasses.. Especially these glasses produced a strong impression on Margarita. Abaddon is blind, in order to avoid sympathizing. He shows up only a few times, and only for a short while. Because «there has never yet been, and never will be, an occasion when Abaddon appears before someone prematurely».
At the ball he is not always visible, only for some short moments, and surroundend by others who resembled him - all dark-haired and young. When Baron Meigel was accused by Woland for being a stool-pigeon and a spy, Abaddon stood in front of him and took off his glasses for a second. At the same moment something flashed fire in Azazello's hand, something clapped softly, the baron began to fall backwards, crimson blood spurted from his chest and poured down his starched shirt and waistcoat.
Woland mentions the name of Abaddon for the first time when he and Margarita contemplate his special globe. Margarita leaned towards the globe and saw the little square of land spread out, get painted in many colours, and turn as it were into a relief map. It was the Spanish Civil War of that period (1936-1939). Margarita made out a small female figure lying on the ground, and next to her, in a pool of blood, a little child with outstretched arms. «That's it,» Woland said, smiling, «he had no time to sin. Abaddon's work is impeccable».
Bulgakov was strongly committed with the Spanish Civil War. He wrote many letters about it. In the twelve years that he worked on The Master and Margarita, the scene with the special globe only showed up in 1937, when this war was on the radio daily. Woland's observation on the news on the radio is a referral to this daily reports. Bulgakov was convinced that wars could not be ended by words of indignation, but only by armed violence against the agressor.
Abaddon comes from the Hebrew אבדון. This is pronounced as avaddon, which means destruction or destructor . In the Book Job 26:6, 28:22 of the Old Testament it's another name for Sheol, the place of the dead. In the Book Revelation 9:11 of the New Testament Abaddon is called the «angel of the abyss». In the Greek mythology his role is played by the god Apollo.
Abaddon is not present when the demonic characters return to hell, and we don't hear of him anymore. Which is good, since he only shows up when his presence is required.
Your guide through the novel
In this section are explained, per chapter, all typical notions, names of people and places, quotations and expressions from the novel with a description of the political, social, economical and cultural context.