RamblinRebel wrote:The Master here seems to be enacting what happens to Pilate in purgatory with every full moon, when he becomes completely distraught and tortured. We don't learn this until a few chapters later though. But if that much is true, then the next question for me becomes, is the Pilate we meet in Purgatory the Pilate of the Master's creation? Or is the Master "living" what the real Pilate is actually experiencing? Did Woland "show" him just then, what was going on with Pilate? If the Pilate set free at the end of the book is the Pilate of the Master's creation, then perhaps the resurrection of the manuscript takes on additional significance in that it is all part of the plan to "make things right" for the Master.
Well, clearly one of the central themes of the book is cowardice. And if we consider the two cities/two times as mirror images of each other, then Pilate and Master echo each other. We see cowardice in two varieties.
So, now what I think about Bulgakov's ending, what he is finally saying.
Pilate sees himself as a coward and does something about it, whereas the Master falls head-first into cowardice,and can't extricate himself. Margarita wins Pilate his freedom because of her great compassion for all beings, good or bad. Pilate earns light because he accepts the tag of coward, yet strives on: he is conscious that he has to change. The Master, the more I think of it, is a very incomplete character, not 3 dimensional as Margarita is. So he's what is called an archetype, he symbolizes a whole class of individuals: writers in Russia. He doesn't yet understand what he's supposed to do next.
And many writers in Russia were stuck just as the Master was, immobilized by both fear and rejection. (Every writer wants to be recognized for his contribution, won with so much effort. Even if the recognition comes from a dubious source.) So the Master, like these other writers, is not conscious of the fact that it is necessary to complete the thought, say the thought, live it. Maybe Bulgakov's book is kind of a "guide to writers" -- with the story pointing the way to peace, to light.
Margarita broke two log jams. She freed the Master to complete the tale; she freed Pilate to join the Light. Once the Master recognized that completing the story, even an unaccepted story, finishes the thought, makes the statement -- I guess he understood enough to grant himself peace. I think both Pilate and the Master ended up where they wanted to be.
There's no doubt in my mind that Margarita surmounted both men, jumped or flew or them perhaps. She chooses peace instead of light because it's where she wants to be.
Perhaps Ivan, in his dreams, recreates over and over the dilemma of the Master, and then calms down when he realizes the Master is at peace after all.