Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Spring Ball of the Full Moon

If you were following the ventures of Margarita, you must be knowing that she is now getting ready for the so-called Spring Ball of the Full Moon (or the Ball of the hundred kings) held by the devil himself, Woland. Margarita is told by one of his servants to be a mistress there, Queen of the Ball. This is the price she has to pay for returning her Master. I won't be getting into the implication of the name of the ball. You can read about it  hereI would like to see the novel as a completely magical composition right now. The ball is held at the midnight and Margarita is led by Koroviev and cat Begemot to the dark hall, where she steps into the swimming pool and is bathed in blood and rose oil,  then rubbed with some green leaves. "A force picked her up and placed in front of the mirror, and the Queen's diamond diadem glittered in her hair. Koroviev appeared from somewhere and hung on Margarita's breast a heavy, in the oval frame, picture of the black poodle on the massive chain. This jewelry has burdened Queen immensely. The chain started rubbing a neck suddenly , the image drawn her to bend. But something rewarded Margarita for all these inconveniences, which were caused by this chain with the poodle.  This was that reverence Koroviev and Begemot began treating her with". Then someone makes rose petal shoes for Margarita, which lock with golden buckles on their own.
The first detail of this transformation of Margarita into Queen of the Ball is an oval-framed picture of the poodle which is hung on her neck. This is a reference to the Goethe's Faust, where Mefistopheles appears to Faust as a  poodle. She wears the poodle picture as she is the Woland's mistress at the ball. Koroviev suggests her to give special attention to each of the guests, as they may feel hurt otherwise. "You have to love, love him, Queen. The mistress of the ball will be handsomely rewarded for this!"
   The ball at Satan's, as described by Bulgakov, is the most fascinating I have ever read about in literature and I doubt there is another one. It began with the cat Begemot's scream "Ball!".  Music and different flavors suddenly fell on Margarita and she saw herself in the tropical garden. Margarita followed Koroviev and Begemot along the wall of the white tulips which appeared all of a sudden. She saw an empty hall, with "the columns made of some sparkly yellowish stone". All the musicians in the orchestra stood up to greet Queen and  the kapellmeister "bowed low with wide spread arms, and, Margarita smiling, waved..." Later she gets to know that the kapellmeister is Johann Strauss... 
Her walk is not over, and the next hall she flies into, has three fountains, which are pouring champagne into the pools. Finally they arrive onto the platform where Margarita stands beside the low amethyst pillar under her left hand.  One of the black-skinned boys lays a cushion embroidered with a golden poodle under Margarita's feet. An invisible force bends her knee and puts her right foot on the cushion. Now she has to meet the arriving guests and let them kiss her knee. The guests are not common as they are those who went to Hell after their death. They are mostly murderers, thieves, sinful women...
Margarita, Queen of the Ball, cat Begemot and Koroviev
 The Margarita's mission on the Ball in the novel never leaves readers indifferent. She becomes pale as blood is streaming under her diadem and the oval-framed poodle image draws down more and more, her knee swells because of the numerous kissed from devilish guests, still she remains strong and replies that everything is all right when asked by Koroviev. She has to accomplish the duty with grace. Neither cut off head of Berlioz turned into a skull chalice which is filled with baron Meigel's blood, nor all those scary guests can make her change her mind. 
Margarita's truly queen nature saves her from faults as she internally senses what and how to speak with Woland. After Margarita's duty is fulfilled she is asked by Woland what does she want in  return, but even now she leaves her selfishness and asks for one of the guests Freida to be freed from the punishment of putting a handkerchief, with which she strangled her baby, beside her bed every morning as a reminder of her crime. Woland says that Margarita is just too generous and that this doesn't count, she can now ask for herself. Obviously that this time she requests to give her Master back and he suddenly appears in front of her, straight from the mental hospital... Further destiny of Master and Margarita is not  a "happy end" in mundane impression, it is something like eternal life without others around and peace...
Woland is not pictured as "good evil" which helps two lovers to finally be together. Woland is cruel, firm, he is testing mortals in the worst situations for them to check their greed, lust, in one word, provoking them to sin.  He succeeds as the people haven't changed much since the times of Jesus...
Margarita becomes witch because of the "misery and despair" as she herself explains it. Being a part of a dark side she now in fact can see the light, can see purpose of life in protecting her master and living with him in peace. Bulgakov doesn't mean that the dark side has to be your choice, he doesn't say it about the light as well, but he promotes values of human life like love, passion,dedication, honesty, and one of the main themes of the novel as freedom of spirit, freedom of  expression. 

Yours Sincerely,
Witchcraft and Literature

1 comment:

  1. My husband already thinks i am crazy so you are not alone there.
    Love and light!