Woland is the novel’s central character. He is Satan, choosing to adopt the form of Woland for his visit to Moscow. A paradoxical figure, Woland is both manipulative and honorable, ruthless and generous. His physical… (read full character analysis)
Margarita is the heroine of the novel, a woman of around thirty years of age. Though she is married to someone else, her true love is the master, though she does not know if he… (read full character analysis)
The master is one of the two titular characters. He is a weary man who has given up on life. The reader learns most of his back story when the master clambers through Ivan’s… (read full character analysis)
Pontius Pilate is the fifth procurator of Judea and the subject of the master’s novel. His story represents the counterpoint narrative to the main action in Moscow, and centers on his decision to approve… (read full character analysis)
Levi is Yeshua Ha-Nozri’s only disciple during the Yershalaim narrative. Levi tries to shorten Yeshua’s suffering by stabbing him but can’t get close enough to the execution; once Yeshua does die, Levi cuts down… (read full character analysis)
Ivan is a young, misguided poet. The novel both starts and ends with him. In the novel’s opening, Ivan discusses a recent poem of his with Berlioz, who is telling him that the poem… (read full character analysis)
Berlioz is the chairman of Massolit, the writers’ union and the editor of a literary journal. He is a middle-aged man and prides himself on his atheism, rationality, and learnedness. Berlioz appears in the novel’s… (read full character analysis)
On the second day of the novel, Styopa, the director of the Variety theater, wakes up in the apartment he shares with Berlioz nursing a terrible hangover. He is flabbergasted to see Woland sitting in… (read full character analysis)
Nikanor is the chairman of the tenants’ association asked with overseeing apartment no. 50, Berlioz’s property that is taken over by Woland and his entourage. Nikanor tries to behave in an officious manner and… (read full character analysis)
Koroviev is Woland’s right-hand man. He usually wears a pince-nez, a jockey’s cap and chequered clothes. Koroviev is adept at manipulating the Muscovites into showing the worst of themselves, for example, by convincing Nikanor… (read full character analysis)
Behemoth is huge black cat who can do everything that a human can do, including talking and walking on his hind legs. He is the most devilish of Woland’s crew and delights in causing… (read full character analysis)
Azazello is a key member of Woland’s entourage. He is described as a short, fat, and broad-shouldered man whose mouth shows a single fang. His hair is flaming red and he often wears a… (read full character analysis)
Hella is a beautiful redheaded succubus and part of Woland’s entourage. She is a vampire and almost always appears naked. Administering care is part of her role in the group: she rubs Woland’s injured… (read full character analysis)
Natasha is Margarita’s devoted housemaid. When Margarita turns into a witch and leaves her old life behind, Natasha uses Azazello’s cream to become a witch herself. She then rides a hog—actually the neighbor… (read full character analysis)
Nikolai is Margarita’s officious neighbor (where she lives with her husband, not the master). When Natasha becomes a witch by using Azazello’s cream (as Margarita has already done), Nikolai is astonished by… (read full character analysis)
Abaddon shows up late in the novel and is one of Woland’s demons. He represents destruction incarnate and is described by Woland as having a “rare impartiality”; that is, his destruction is not tempered… (read full character analysis)
Rimsky is the financial director of the Variety theater. He tries to find out where Styopa has gone but nearly meets a terrible end when Hella and Varenukha, now a vampire, try to attack… (read full character analysis)
Judas is a young man who works in a money-changing shop. He meets Yeshua and under false pretenses tricks him into criticizing the state authorities (who are lying in wait to arrest him). Judas is… (read full character analysis)
Joseph Kaifa is the high priest of the Jews. He is insistent that Yeshua must be executed, instead choosing to pardon Bar-Rabbin (it is customary to pardon one prisoner on the eve of Passover). It… (read full character analysis)
Banga is Pontius Pilate’s faithful dog, one of the only sources of joy in the procurator’s life. When Pilate waits for two thousand years to be set free from the torture he feels for… (read full character analysis)
Baron Meigel is an employee of the “Spectacles Commission” who offers Woland assistance in Moscow. Woland suspects him of espionage, however, and lures him to the Satan’s Ball. Here, Baron Meigel is shot by Koroviev… (read full character analysis)
Frieda is a guest at Satan’s Ball. Her soul is damned because she suffocated her baby boy with her handkerchief. The child, however, was probably the result of a rape by the owner of a… (read full character analysis)
Bar-Rabban is the criminal due to be executed alongside Yeshua Ha-Nozri and two others. Because it is Passover, it is customary for the Jewish leadership to set one man free. Though Pontius Pilate tries to… (read full character analysis)
Riukhin is a poet who helps transport Ivan Homeless from the restaurant at Griboedov’s to Stravinsky’s clinic. Ivan, distressed from his experience with Woland and Patriarch’s Pond, tells Riukhin that he thinks he is… (read full character analysis)
Poplavsky is Berlioz’s uncle, who comes to Moscow from Kiev after receiving a strange telegram from his nephew informing his uncle that his funeral will soon be taking place. Poplavsky travels to Moscow more… (read full character analysis)
Arkady is the smug and rotund chairman of the Moscow Theaters’ “Acoustics Commission.” He appears during Woland’s Variety performance, demanding from his seat that the magicians explain what they are doing. Koroviev informs the… (read full character analysis)
Aloisy is the man who took over the master’s old apartment when the master was admitted to Dr. Stavinsky’s clinic. Woland makes him appear before them; Koroviev deletes Aloisy’s name from the apartment… (read full character analysis)
Archibald is the manager of the restaurant at Griboedev’s. At the end of novel, when Koroviev and Behemoth visit the restaurant, Archibald tries to have them captured by the authorities. This fails, and they burn Griboedev’s to the ground.
Ivan Savalyevich Varenukha
Varenukha is the administrator of the Variety theater. When he tries to find out what’s happened to Styopa, he is ambushed and beaten by Behemoth and Koroviev. Hella then kisses Varenukha, turning him into a vampire.
Stravinsky runs the psychiatric clinic at which both Ivan Homeless and the master are patients.
Ratslayer is the cruel and disfigured centurion (soldier) most favored by Pontius Pilate. He is known for his brutality and unflinching lack of emotion.
Aphranius is the shadowy figure that serves as Pontius Pilate’s head of secret police. Practically nothing happens in Yershalaim without him knowing about it. He helps orchestrate the scenario in which Pilate can murder Judas, revenge for Judas turning in Yeshua to the authorities.
Niza is the woman who, on Aphranius’s instruction, lures Judas outside of Yershalaim so that he can be murdered.
Dysmas is one of the other men executed at the same time as Yeshua Ha-Nozri.
Gestas is one of the other men executed at the same time as Yeshua Ha-Nozri.
Zheldybin is Berlioz’s assistant at Massolit, the writers’ union. When Berlioz dies, Zheldybin harbors the ambition that he can take over the top job.
Grunya is the housemaid of Styopa Likhodeev. However, she never actually appears in the novel, having been made to disappear by Woland.
Anna is Prokhor Petrovich’s secretary, understandably distraught when her boss is turned into a walking, talking suit.
Prokhor is the chairman of the “Commission on Spectacles and Entertainment of the Lighter Type.” He is, in a way, most notable for his absence: Behemoth turns him into an empty—but still talking and gesturing—suit.
Bengalsky is the master of ceremonies at the Variety theater. He is temporarily decapitated by Behemoth as part of the black magic séance show. Bengalsky has a breakdown from the distress and ends up in Dr. Stravinsky’s clinic.
Annushka is the old woman who inadvertently causes Berlioz’s death by spilling sunflower oil near the tram line. She lives below apartment no. 50 and, late in the book, tries to steal the jeweled horseshoe that Woland gifts to Margarita.
Latunsky heads up the editorial board that rejects the master’s Pontius Pilate novel (in the master’s back story). Latunsky also published an article damning the master’s work. Margarita takes revenge on Latunsky when, turned into a witch, she flies to his apartment and wrecks it.
Vassily Stepanovich Lastochkin
Vassily is the Variety Theater’s book-keeper, surprised to find himself in charge of the theater when everyone in positions above him goes missing.
Professor Kuzmin is the doctor who treats Andrei Fokich Sokov when he is told by Woland that he will soon die of liver cancer. After Andrei’s visit, Woland and his gang play tricks on Professor Kuzmin.