Between Goethe's Faust and Bulgakov's inspiration and interpretation of it, I can see similarities and differences.
I want to mention what are for me the two strongest similarities: the presence of Lucifer, and the final outcome of redemption.
a) In Faust, there is Faust, while in M&M the hero is distributed throughout the characters that achieve redemption: Homeless, the Master and PP. Somehow one could count among them Margherita also. She goes through the enchantment of Lucifer and she also achieves a form of redemption. And I could assume that the final outcome of the story gives her what she desired all along: take care and guard over the man she loves.
b) the objectives of the two "Fausts" are different. Goethe's Faust strives for knowledge, and power. Bulgakov's "Fausts" strive for peace, all of them, that is finding who they are and being that. Margherita just for being: she already knows who she is and what she wants. In a way these are existential quests. Homeless. Master and PP, even more of the other two, through the novel live existential torments. That is the common core of their stories.
That is where the difference with Goethe lies. In Goethe's times the most coveted ideals were understanding and knowledge and the unity of theme and character was still central. The existential problem belongs to Bulgakov's times.
The artistic movements in Bulgakov's times were marked by the dissolution of unity. They were the times of cubism, of futurism, just to mention one cultural movement that in Russia found great development. I find it natural that an elegant author like Bulgakov, immersed and protagonist of the culture of his time might have resorted to a sophisticated and surreal approach. The idea that Bulgakov fragments the Faust transposition in different characters does not disturb me. On the contrary.
Last edited by beppe; 06-22-2011 at 03:34 PM.