The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Margarita gets the hang of flying the broom, relishing the sense of freedom that comes with being both airborne and invisible. Flying around the city, she comes across a plush marble building. Looking closer she sees that it is “Dramlit House”—“House of Dramatists and Literary Workers”—and counts the critic Latunsky as one of its inhabitants.
In granting Margarita the freedoms of flight and invisibility, Azazello gives her the immunity to take revenge on the Massolit writers on behalf of the master. Latunsky, of course, was the worst critic of all.
Themes
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Latunsky,” shrieks Margarita, “he’s the one who ruined the master!” She flies through an open window into his apartment; he is not at home, attending Berlioz’s memorial gathering. She wrecks the apartment completely, smashing up Latunsky’s piano with a hammer and flooding the place with water from the bath.
Events seem perfectly orchestrated to grant Margarita the opportunity to wreck Latunsky’s apartment. The destruction of the piano is symbolic: the instruments represents Soviet culture, and, in being such an expensive item, also stands for the corruption of those willing to sell their art form in exchange for material reward.
Themes
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The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
Related Quotes
As neighbors from below rush up to Latunsky’s apartment, Margarita flies out of the window. She smashes the windows of the other apartments, causing panic on the street below. Peeking through a third-floor window, Margarita notices a young boy, evidently scared; she reassures him it’s just some other boys playing with a slingshot, and that he’s just having a dream.
The destruction of the apartment represents a kind of ablution, a temporary cleansing of artistic corruption. Margarita’s efforts to reassure the innocent boy—in between her acts of vandalism—show the complicatedness of her character. Yes, she is vengeful—but she is also fundamentally caring.
Themes
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The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
Margarita flies away from the city, climbing higher and higher. She zooms past entire towns, before slowing down a little to enjoy the experience. Suddenly she is overtaken by something which seems to make the sound a “woman’s guffaw”—it’s Natasha.
The way Margarita “zooms out” from the city is a physical manifestation of her distancing herself from her previous life. Both her and Natasha see this as a joyful experience, an escape from the confines of Soviet society.
Themes
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The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
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Natasha is riding a “fat hog” which is clutching a briefcase. She shouts through the air: “I confess I took the cream! […] Forgive me, my sovereign lady, I won’t go back, not for anything!” Jabbing the hog, Natasha reveals it to be Nikolai Ivanovich, the neighbor. Heading to Margarita’s room to return her falling clothing, Nikolai, amazed at Natasha’s sudden youthfulness, had propositioned Natasha in Margarita’s room, offering her money for sex. Natasha had dabbed him with the cream, which turned him into a hog.
Nikolai Ivanovich’s transformation into a pig is a darkly comic rendering of the greed that has been shown throughout the book by previous characters (e.g. the Massolit writers). The briefcase is a hilarious depiction of Nikolai’s absurd commitment to being a “dutiful citizen.” He is clearly morally compromised, and in a biblical sense guilty of the deadly sin of lust. Woland, of course, doesn’t really mind—he just enjoys showing that these sins are alive and well. The cream seems to turn people into what they deserve to become; Natasha and Margarita are evidently “good.”
Themes
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As they fly over the forest down below, Margarita promises to do whatever she can to help Natasha stay as a witch. Margarita lands near a secluded river and takes a swim. A drunken fat man appears from a bush, addressing her as “Queen Margot.”
In this parallel supernatural universe, Margarita is not a depressed woman stuck in an unhappy marriage, but a Queen. The fat man’s use of the term indicates the central role that Margarita will play in the events of the following chapter.
Themes
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Margarita notices a party on the opposite bank and heads over. A march is being played in her honor, and amidst the gathering are naiads, naked witches, and a goat-legged creature who gives her champagne. This creature informs her that Natasha is on her way to Moscow to “warn them that Margarita would soon arrive and to help prepare her attire.”
The ceremonial gathering for Margarita pays respect to her newfound authority. The goat-legged man is a satyr, and, like the naiads, originates in Greek mythology. Bulgakov enjoys mixing biblical content with mythology and folklore from other spheres, increasing the sense of universality in the novel and lending Margarita’s story a sense of timelessness.
Themes
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The “goat-legged one” asks why Margarita travelled by broom, saying that it’s an “inconvenient” way to travel. Making a telephone out of two twigs, he orders a car, which arrives almost instantly. The driver is a rook “in an oilcloth cap and gauntlets.” Margarita is helped into the car, which then soars up towards the moon—and Moscow.
In many cultures, the rook is considered an omen of bad luck. But as Margarita is embracing her involvement with Satan, the category of “bad” does not really apply.
Themes
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