Themes, style and form
The configuration of The Master and Margarita - three stories connected to each other in a very peculiar way, of which the protagonists meet each other eventually -, and the style - a menippean satire in an ordinary colloquial language -, create a rich cocktail putting the reader into a flush from which he only wakes up at the end. It's Bulgakov's merit that he succeeds to tell his complex story - or better: stories - in such way that the reader doesn't get lost and even understands the message and the hints.
In this part of the website you can learn about the style Bulgakov uses to reach that effect, and how he gets there without even having been able to finalise a definitive authorial text. And we look more into detail to some recurring themes - Faust, poetry and music - which flavour the novel and almost make it a ready-to-use film script.
In various scenes Bulgakov refers to musical works, ranging from classics like Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Charles Gounod (1818-1893) and Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), to Russian folk songs and even an American foxtrot.
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.