The biblical story of Pontius Pilate being on the horns of a dilemma when he has to decide on the faith of Yeshua Ha-Nozri or Jesus of Nazareth covers four of the thirty-two chapters of the novel. It's been told in three separate parts.
The first part is told by Woland to Berlioz and Ivan during their unexpected meeting at Patriarch's Ponds. The second part is in the dream of Ivan Bezdomny after he got an injection in doctor Stravinsky's hospital, and the third part, spread over two chapters, is read by Margarita.While the Master is in a deep sleep on a sofa in the small adjoining room, after their reunion, she takes the manuscript that Woland returned to them.
Bulgakov supposes that the reader knows the Bible a little. He bases his story about Yeshua on the gospel of Matthew. But he uses the Aramaic names, which are historically more accurate: Yeshua instead of Jesus, Yershalaim for Jerusalem, Kiriath for Karioth, he investigated it thouroughly.
There are many references to the Soviet system in the novel. Caesarea Stratonova refers to the luxury dachas of the Sovjet apparatshiks, and the progress of the establishment of the ratification of Yeshua's death penalty reminds of the arranged interrogations and verdicts in the Stalin era.
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.