English > Characters > Demonic characters > Hella


In chapter 10, after Ivan Savelyevitch Varenukha, the administrator of the Variety Theatre, has been tackled rather harshly by Behemoth and Azazello, a completely naked woman with red hair and fiery phosphorescent eyes appears before him in the hall of Sadovaya 302 bis. She towards him, and places the palms of her hands on his shoulders. «Let me give you a kiss», the girl says tenderly, and there are shining eyes right in front of his eyes. Then Varenukha faints and never felt the kiss.

When Varenukha later turns up before financial director Grigory Danilovich Rimsky, the latter notices that Varenukha casts no shadow anymore. He became a vampire and, together with the naked red, he starts terrorizing Rimsky, who was only just saved because the cock trumpeted, announcing that dawn was rolling towards Moscow from the east.

The name of the girl is not revealed before the end of Book One, when Korovyev shouted: «Hella, see him out!», aiming at Andrey Fokich Sokov who was visiting Woland.

Woland introduces Hella to Margarita as his maidservant: efficient, quick, and «there is no service she cannot render». The beautiful Hella was smiling as she turned her green-tinged eyes to Margarita, without ceasing to dip into the ointment and apply it to Woland's knee. In the preparation of the ball Hella, assisted by Natasha, had washed Margarita with blood.

Hella participates to the merry supper in Woland's apartment after Satans' ball and exchanged smacking kisses with Margarita when she returns to the basement with the master, but after that we don't hear of Hella anymore.


Hella is a female vampire. From his annotations we know that Bulgakov found her name in the Энциклопедический словарь Брокгауза и Ефрона [Entsiklopedesky slovar Brokhauza i Efrona] or the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, a work containing 86 volumes, which can be considered as the Russian equivalent for the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Under the keyword Чародейство [Charodeystvo] or magic or witchcraft, he found that Empuza, Lamia and Hella were the names given on the Greek island of Lesbos to premature girls who became vampires after their death.

In the earlier versions of The Master and Margarita, however, this рыжая голая [ryzhaya golaya] or red naked had a different name. She was called Marta.

The Russian psychologist and translator Valery Konstantinovich Mershavka (°1957) believes that this Marta was inspired by Sofia Lvovna Perovskaya (1853-1881). Perovskaya was a prominent member of the socialist revolutionary organisation Народная воля [Narodnaya Volya] or The Will of the People, and she participated in three attempts to murder Tsar Alexander II (1818-1881). The last attempt was successful, after which Perovskaya was sentenced to death by hanging. This way of executing could explain the багровый шрам [bagrovy shram] or the red scar in her Marta's - and later Hella's - neck.

Her words «come let me give you a kiss» are reminiscent of the woman-vampire in the story Упырь [Upyr] or The Vampire, written in the year 1841 by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy (1817-1885), a nephew of the better known Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910). The woman-vampire kisses one of the heroes and turns him into a vampire.

Where is Hella?

Like Abaddon, Hella is not present when the demonic characters return to hell in chapter 32 of The Master and Margarita, and we don't hear of her anymore. According to Elena Sergeevna Shilovskaya (1893-1970), Bulgakov's third wife, it was because the author could never finish his novel properly. The literary critic and novelist Vasili Yakovlevich Lakshin (1933-1993) remembers what happened when he draw her attention to the fact that Hella was not at the flight: «Elena Sergeevna looked at me with confused eyes and suddenly she cried out with an unforgettable expression: 'Миша забыл Геллу!' [Misha zabil Gellu] or 'Misha forgot Hella!'»

On the other hand, it's not unlikely that Bulgakov kept her from the scene deliberately. Her role in the Variety Theatre, Sadovaya 302 bis and Satans' ball is a «supporting act». Vampires traditionally belong to a lower category of the evil spirits. They don't belong in hell. Maybe she became an ordinary dead girl again after having accomplished Woland's mission.

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