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Old 06-17-2011, 02:57 PM   #5
fantasyfan
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I'll start with some reflections about the novel and then discuss one of my favourite parts of the first book.

With the exception of Chapter 2, the first 11 chapters didn’t really draw me in. I found the characters simply too flat and uninteresting. This was particularly true in the case of Homeless (at that point the principal human) who was unsympathetic and just didn’t act in a manner that was believable. For me, things livened up by chapter 12 and once the Master enters and the love for Margarita is developed I found that the novel came to life. And when Margarita takes over . . . . WOW!

Where did the text draw me in? Certainly in chapter 2 I found that the author engaged in a powerful dramatisation of the problem of corruption and power. Yeshua--in this chapter--is really only a focal point for a power struggle between Pilate and Kaifa--one which starts as a ritual and becomes transformed into a dialogue of naked hatred by the time the men finally part.

Another aspect of the essential injustice of power is seen when Pilate finally does condemn Yeshua. Pilate {and Rome} could tolerate a harmless idealist, but not one who shows an unwillingness to compromise ideals and identity to placate a power structure.

And what of that structure? The ultimate horror of it is dramatised in Pilate’s vision of the obscenity that Tiberius has become. In the image of the hideous emperor we see the ultimate ugliness of corruption stripped of its majesty.

Interestingly, Pilate has an odd infirmity “hemicrania” in which one side of his head is subjected to a terrible headache. This seems a reflection of the bilateral quality of Woland. One could possibly assume that the Procurator is one representative of the “Dark” --though in the end it isn’t really quite that simple.

The character of Pilate is vivid, believable, and engrossing. The brilliance of Chapter two kept me going through those earlier sections of Book 1 which I found less engrossing.

And it was worth it.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 06-17-2011 at 03:04 PM.
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