Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

by Mikhail Bulgakov

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby Liz » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:01 pm

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.


I said that we'd save these questions until later....and later has arrived. Take into consideration RR's questions above when answering the following:

What did you think of how Bulgakov wrapped up the story?

NOTE: Just because this is about the ending doesn't mean it's the final question.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 28501
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Online

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:19 pm

My ideas about and my understanding of this book have been an evolution as this discussion went along. I think at this point I believe the Pilate at the ending is the Pilate of the Master's book. With the Master going to a place of eternal peace, the torture he went through with the manuscript had to come to an end, and with Pilate set free so was the Master.

I am still not sure how I think the real Pilate of the Bible and the Pilate of the Master's book relate to each other -- they may have been one and the same person.

RamblinRebel
Posts: 608
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:24 pm
Location: Chicago or thereabouts

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:45 am

Well, when I first read the book the ending left me completely befuddled – asking more questions. Why? Why no light for M&M? If the Master didn't earn the light because of cowardice, what about Margarita? She was no coward. Why light for Pilate? Which Pilate was that? Certainly the only one fit to free the hero of a novel is the novel’s author. But yet he’d been there waiting for 2000 year. But yet that action brought the Master peace. (Although the Pilate questions didn't cross my mind until our discussion). And what about Ivan? Why did he accept the rational explanations? Is rationality a requirement for sanity? For living peacefully? Or is he somehow a failure? A coward? I really could go on and on and on… And of course, the big one, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN??? :bawl:

But THAT, in a nutshell, is why I LOVED this book. The story line had very nice closure. But my brain had none. :biggrin: And honestly, without this discussion I would not have gotten much further than general befuddlement.

As to my earlier questions about which Pilate that was, after thinking it through I’m agreeing with Nebraska and I’m going to say that they were probably one in the same – both the Pilate in the Master’s novel AND the real Pilate. But of course by “real” Pilate, I mean the Pilate of Bulgakov’s novel, not the really real Pilate who lived 2000 years ago. I think. Oh now I’ve spun myself in a circle again! :spin: How many times can that happen with one novel? :harhar:

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 28501
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Online

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby nebraska » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:30 am

RamblinRebel wrote:: And honestly, without this discussion I would not have gotten much further than general befuddlement.


Absolutely! :highfive: Without ONBC I would have tossed the book after a few pages and I most certainly wouldn't have understood any of it on the level that you have all taken me to -- and I am sure my mind is merely grasping the surface of what is truly there.

User avatar
fireflydances
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 3207
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: under a pile of books
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby fireflydances » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:34 pm

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.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

User avatar
Buster
Posts: 810
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:07 am

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby Buster » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:59 pm

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.

I agree, firefly

And the whole book ends in moonlight...in mystery and magic and wondering where exactly we've been...

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby Liz » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:55 pm

Holy Moly! ;-) These answers are soooooo good. :applause:

RR you captured everything I was thinking as I read the ending. I was like, "what the :censored: was that all about?" :bigwink:

Nebraska, a couple years after I left my former local book club they decided to read it, unbeknownst to me. They couldn't get past Ch. 3 and gave up. That was a first for a book club that had been in existence for 17 years. My current local book club read the book a year ago - 2 months before I joined (unbeknownst to me until last weekend). Same thing. They couldn't get past the 3rd chapter.

So pat yourselves on the back for making it through. :highfive:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby Liz » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:58 pm

fireflydances wrote: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.

Here's a thought. Could the Margarita be the Savior in this story?

fireflydances wrote: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.

I like that. :-)
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

RamblinRebel
Posts: 608
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:24 pm
Location: Chicago or thereabouts

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:14 pm

firefly wrote: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.
Buster wrote:
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.

I agree, firefly
Yes, I think that sums it up very well!

Buster wrote:And the whole book ends in moonlight...in mystery and magic and wondering where exactly we've been...
:yes: moonlight again. mystery. magic. :yes: well put! :-)

Liz wrote:RR you captured everything I was thinking as I read the ending. I was like, "what the :censored: was that all about?" :bigwink:
:harhar: or that. I think I was more here. :lol:

Liz wrote:
fireflydances wrote: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.

Here's a thought. Could the Margarita be the Savior in this story?

:-O Well now there's a thought! She certainly saved the Master, and by saving him, she in turned saved Pilot. Hmmmm.

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 28501
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Online

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:45 pm

Liz wrote:Holy Moly! ;-) These answers are soooooo good. :applause:

RR you captured everything I was thinking as I read the ending. I was like, "what the :censored: was that all about?" :bigwink:

Nebraska, a couple years after I left my former local book club they decided to read it, unbeknownst to me. They couldn't get past Ch. 3 and gave up. That was a first for a book club that had been in existence for 17 years. My current local book club read the book a year ago - 2 months before I joined (unbeknownst to me until last weekend). Same thing. They couldn't get past the 3rd chapter.

So pat yourselves on the back for making it through. :highfive:

Seriously, Liz? :-O And even though you didn't know that not one but TWO book clubs had failed to even finish reading the book, you still brought it here to us?! That speaks volumes about your courage and your faith in us.

User avatar
Buster
Posts: 810
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:07 am

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby Buster » Sat Oct 13, 2012 4:23 pm

I am totally not ready for this discussion to end. Please, please, let's keep on reading stuff that challenges our preconceptions and inspires us to dig deep and think!

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby Liz » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:36 pm

nebraska wrote:
Liz wrote:Holy Moly! ;-) These answers are soooooo good. :applause:

RR you captured everything I was thinking as I read the ending. I was like, "what the :censored: was that all about?" :bigwink:

Nebraska, a couple years after I left my former local book club they decided to read it, unbeknownst to me. They couldn't get past Ch. 3 and gave up. That was a first for a book club that had been in existence for 17 years. My current local book club read the book a year ago - 2 months before I joined (unbeknownst to me until last weekend). Same thing. They couldn't get past the 3rd chapter.

So pat yourselves on the back for making it through. :highfive:

Seriously, Liz? :-O And even though you didn't know that not one but TWO book clubs had failed to even finish reading the book, you still brought it here to us?! That speaks volumes about your courage and your faith in us.

Don't give me too much credit here. I found out after we were committed. In fact, I only found out last week about my current book club. I couldn't believe that both book clubs had attempted it. What are the odds?

But I will add that I find our little book group here very open-minded and up for challenging reads. :highfive:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby Liz » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:37 pm

Buster wrote:I am totally not ready for this discussion to end. Please, please, let's keep on reading stuff that challenges our preconceptions and inspires us to dig deep and think!

It hasn't ended yet. :grin:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
fireflydances
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 3207
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: under a pile of books
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:30 pm

Liz wrote:
nebraska wrote:
Liz wrote:Holy Moly! ;-) These answers are soooooo good. :applause:

RR you captured everything I was thinking as I read the ending. I was like, "what the :censored: was that all about?" :bigwink:

Nebraska, a couple years after I left my former local book club they decided to read it, unbeknownst to me. They couldn't get past Ch. 3 and gave up. That was a first for a book club that had been in existence for 17 years. My current local book club read the book a year ago - 2 months before I joined (unbeknownst to me until last weekend). Same thing. They couldn't get past the 3rd chapter.

So pat yourselves on the back for making it through. :highfive:

Seriously, Liz? :-O And even though you didn't know that not one but TWO book clubs had failed to even finish reading the book, you still brought it here to us?! That speaks volumes about your courage and your faith in us.

Don't give me too much credit here. I found out after we were committed. In fact, I only found out last week about my current book club. I couldn't believe that both book clubs had attempted it. What are the odds?

But I will add that I find our little book group here very open-minded and up for challenging reads. :highfive:


I echo Liz's comments. Yeah, we are a persistent group of thinkers -- as opposed to opinion-holders -- honest in our reactions, and willing to consider a great variety of books. There is a degree of collegiality here that is very supportive. No one is perceived as "correct" -- which is a wonderful thing to say about any group of people. Anyway, it's all of us together. :)
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

User avatar
fireflydances
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 3207
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: under a pile of books
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Master and Margarita Question #27 - The Ending

Unread postby fireflydances » Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:12 pm

Liz wrote:
fireflydances wrote: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.

Here's a thought. Could the Margarita be the Savior in this story?

fireflydances wrote: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.

I like that. :-)


I didn't want two questions to get lost.

Yeah, I agree that Margarita could be considered a Savior. What interests me is her sensuality and her comfort level with it. Her spirit has more to do with things we consider "of the body" as opposed to things of the mind: tending a home, loving flowers, taking pleasure in her body. She is a very rooted person, embracing herself completely. This gives her an advantage over those who focus on ideas alone. If anything, she points the way back to an earlier Russia where people were connected to the land, to Nature.

Every society needs balance. Many dogmatic systems aim at purity of thought, as if we were only floating heads full of ideas. So if Margarita is a "savior" she is righting an unbalanced system where 'right thinking' has overwhelmed the culture, forgotten the need to be '"both/and."

I think religions can embrace both sides of people, and maybe Bulgakov used Margarita as a symbol of what was sorely missing from the Russia created by Marxist-Leninist thought.

With regard to Ivan and why he is who he is at the end of the book, I still find myself wondering. His degree of unease, of downright sickness. Why is that? Obviously understanding the Master is at peace helps him, but why does he remain in such great turmoil?
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies


Return to “The Master and Margarita”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest