The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The professor’s story comes to an end as the main narrative returns to Moscow. Berlioz tells him that, though his story is interesting, it doesn’t coincide with what’s in the Gospels. The professor dismisses the Gospels. He leans in and whispers that he knows the story better as he was actually there. Ivan and Berlioz, perplexed, notice that the professor has one “totally insane” green eye and one “empty, black and dead.”
Berlioz is right that the story differs from the gospels. One big difference is that Woland’s account leaves out Pilate asking whether Yeshua considers himself the “king of the Jews.” Woland’s “dead” eye associates him with evil and the “void” of death.
Themes
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
Berlioz asks the professor where he intends to stay during his visit to Moscow. The professor, winking, says he’ll be staying at Berlioz’s. He asks Ivan if he believes in the devil. Ivan, distressed, cries out that there is no devil, and tells the professor to “stop playing the psycho!”
Accommodation in the Soviet Union was not easy to come by, with foreign visits requiring registration and appropriate documentation. The reader doesn’t yet know that Woland is Satan himself, but the irony of Ivan denying the devil’s existence to the devil himself is not lost.
Themes
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
Berlioz decides to sneak off and make a phone call to the “foreigner’s bureau” to report the professor. The latter then implores him to believe in the devil, adding that Berlioz is about to witness “a seventh proof.” As Berlioz hurries off, the professor calls to him to ask if Berlioz would like a telegram sent to his uncle in Kiev. Berlioz is confused, as he does have an uncle in Kiev but there’s no way the professor would know.
Berlioz tries to be an upstanding citizen, considering it his duty to inform the authorities of the strange professor. The “seventh proof” is Berlioz’s predetermined death, which will make it seem much less likely that the professor is merely a madman. The reader will meet Berlioz’s uncle later in the story.
Themes
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
Walking off, Berlioz notices the same man that had seemed to be levitating earlier (Koroviev), dressed in checkered trousers and mustachioed. This man directs Berlioz to the turnstile and, taking off his jockey cap, asks Berlioz to spare some change.
Bulgakov carefully delays the revealing of Woland and his gang’s identities—the man that Berlioz encounters is Koroviev. He wears a strange outfit, marking him out too as a “foreigner.”
Themes
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
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Berlioz steps through the turnstile to cross over the tram tracks but notices a tram racing towards him. He moves back to safety but, as he does so, slips and tumbles into the path of the tram. With the female driver unable to bring the tram to a stop, Berlioz looks at the moon for the last time and is decapitatedd.
Berlioz dies in exactly the manner that Woland had predicted, developing the sense of mystery surrounding Woland and adding credibility to everything else he has said (particularly his claim to have been present in Yershalaim). The particular method of death is important too, signaling a severing of the brain—mankind’s site of rationality that Berlioz, until recently, held so dear.
Themes
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon