The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita

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 opening scene, in which he chastises the poet Ivan Homeless for making Jesus appear too much like a real person in a recent poem. As he explains why Jesus never existed, Berlioz is interrupted by a strange foreigner, who claims to be a professor (it’s actually Woland). The foreigner insists that Jesus was real and that, furthermore, he was there when Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus to crucifixion, leading Berlioz to think the visitor is a madman. Berlioz thus represents Soviet officialdom, faithfully adhering to protocol and not for a moment entertaining the thought that anything might lie outside of the realm of his understanding. Woland predicts Berlioz’s imminent death; minutes later, the chairman is decapitated by a tram. Later in the novel, Woland uses Berlioz’s severed head as a ceremonial cup, drinking blood from it during the great ball.

Mikhael Alexandrovich Berlioz Quotes in The Master and Margarita

The The Master and Margarita quotes below are all either spoken by Mikhael Alexandrovich Berlioz or refer to Mikhael Alexandrovich Berlioz. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Random House edition of The Master and Margarita published in 1965.
Chapter 1 Quotes

The foreigner sat back on the bench and asked, even with a slight shriek of curiosity:

‘You are - atheists?!’

‘Yes, we’re atheists,’ Berlioz smilingly replied, and Homeless thought, getting angry: ‘Latched on to us, the foreign goose!’

‘Oh, how lovely!’ the astonishing foreigner cried out and began swivelling his head, looking from one writer to the other.

‘In our country atheism does not surprise anyone,’ Berlioz said with diplomatic politeness. ‘The majority of our population consciously and long ago ceased believing in the fairy tales about God.’

Page Number: 12
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Chapter 5 Quotes

Any visitor finding himself in Griboedov’s, unless of course he was a total dim-wit, would realize at once what a good life those lucky fellows, the Massolit members, were having, and black envy would immediately start gnawing at him. And he would immediately address bitter reproaches to heaven for not having endowed him at birth with literary talent, lacking which there was naturally no dreaming of owning a Massolit membership card, brown, smelling of costly leather, with a wide gold border – a card known to all Moscow.

Page Number: 56
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Chapter 9 Quotes

At the deceased’s desk sat an unknown, skinny, long citizen in a little checkered jacket, a jockey’s cap, and a pince-nez... well, in short, that same one.

‘And who might you be, citizen?’ Nikanor Ivanovich asked fearfully.

‘Hah! Nikanor Ivanovich!’ the unexpected citizen yelled in a rattling tenor and, jumping up, greeted the chairman with a forced and sudden handshake. This greeting by no means gladdened Nikanor Ivanovich.

‘Excuse me,’ he said suspiciously, ‘but who might you be? Are you an official person?’

‘Eh, Nikanor Ivanovich!’ the unknown man exclaimed soulfully. ‘What are official and unofficial persons? It all depends on your point of view on the subject. It’s all fluctuating and relative, Nikanor Ivanovich. Today I’m an unofficial person, and tomorrow, lo and behold, I’m an official one! And it also happens the other way round – oh, how it does!’

Related Characters: Nikanor Ivanovich Bosoy (speaker), Koroviev (speaker), Mikhael Alexandrovich Berlioz
Page Number: 96
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Chapter 23 Quotes

‘Mikhail Alexandrovich,’ Woland addressed the head in a low voice, and then the slain man’s eyelids rose, and on the dead face Margarita saw, with a shudder, living eyes filled with thought and suffering.

‘Everything came to pass, did it not?’ Woland went on, looking into the head’s eyes. ‘The head was cut off by a woman, the meeting did not take place, and I am living in your apartment. That is a fact. And fact is the most stubborn thing in the world. But we are now interested in what follows, and not in this already accomplished fact. You have always been an ardent preacher of the theory that, on the cutting off of his head, life ceases in a man, he turns to ashes and goes into non-being. I have the pleasure of informing you, in the presence of my guests, though they serve as proof of quite a different theory, that your theory is both solid and clever.

However, one theory is as good as another. There is also one which holds that it will be given to each according to his faith. Let it come true! You go into non-being, and from the cup into which you are to be transformed, I will joyfully drink to being!’

Woland raised his sword. Straight away the flesh of the head turned dark and shrivelled, then fell off in pieces, the eyes disappeared, and soon Margarita saw on the platter a yellowish skull with emerald eyes, pearl teeth and a golden foot. The lid opened on a hinge.

Related Characters: Woland (speaker), Margarita, Mikhael Alexandrovich Berlioz
Page Number: 273
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Mikhael Alexandrovich Berlioz Character Timeline in The Master and Margarita

The timeline below shows where the character Mikhael Alexandrovich Berlioz appears in The Master and Margarita. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1. Never Talk with Strangers
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...Patriach’s Ponds one spring evening in Moscow. They are the plump and pompous Mikhail Alexandrovich Berlioz, editor of an important literary journal and chairman of Massolit (the Moscow writers’ union), and... (full context)
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The two men buy refreshments from a kiosk. Berlioz is disturbed by the sight of an extremely tall, thin and apparently “see-through” citizen who... (full context)
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Berlioz talks about Ivan’s latest poem, an “anti-religious” consideration of Jesus. In Berlioz’s opinion, the entire... (full context)
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...black knob shaped like a poodle’s head,” sits down on the next bench down from Berlioz and Ivan. As Berlioz continues to chastise Ivan for making Jesus seem “that he really... (full context)
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As Berlioz and Ivan try to figure out where he is from, the stranger expresses his amazement... (full context)
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The stranger asks Berlioz for his opinion on the “five proofs of God’s existence.” Berlioz dismisses these; Ivan exclaims... (full context)
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As they discuss the issue of mortality, the stranger seemingly predicts how Berlioz will die, telling him that his “head will be cut off … by a Russian... (full context)
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...stranger address him by his name. The man explains that he has read Ivan’s poems. Berlioz and Ivan pull aside to discuss whether the stranger might be a spy. They consider... (full context)
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Having somehow comprehended what Berlioz and Ivan were saying, the stranger produces his passport, invitation to a consultation in Moscow,... (full context)
Chapter 3. The Seventh Proof
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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... (full context)
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Berlioz asks the professor where he intends to stay during his visit to Moscow. The professor,... (full context)
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Berlioz decides to sneak off and make a phone call to the “foreigner’s bureau” to report... (full context)
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Walking off, Berlioz notices the same man that had seemed to be levitating earlier (Koroviev), dressed in checkered... (full context)
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Berlioz steps through the turnstile to cross over the tram tracks but notices a tram racing... (full context)
Chapter 4. The Chase
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Hearing the commotion, Ivan rushes to the turnstile and sees Berlioz’s head bouncing on the pavement. He overhears two women discussing what happened, learning that a... (full context)
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...happened, concluding that the professor can’t have been insane and, furthermore, must have set up Berlioz’s death. He goes back to the bench, and finds the strange man still sitting there,... (full context)
Chapter 5. There Were Doings at Griboedov’s
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Griboedov’s is the beautiful building that houses Massolit, the literary society headed up by Berlioz, and boasts a fancy restaurant. Photographs of Massolit members adorn the walls. Each room deals... (full context)
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It’s evening, and in one of the offices of the Massolit building twelve writers wait Berlioz to arrive. They complain about Berlioz being late and talk about the writers’ retreats. Some... (full context)
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Increasingly annoyed, the writers call around Moscow to try and find Berlioz—who is, in fact, lying dead on two tables at the morgue, his head on one... (full context)
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...bustle with dancing diners. Suddenly, Archibald Archibaldovich, the restaurant manager, rushes in with news of Berlioz’s death. Grief briefly takes hold of the diners, but quickly subsides. It would be a... (full context)
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...making little sense to anyone in the restaurant. He tells them that the professor killed Berlioz, but on being asked the professor’s name can only remember that it begins with a... (full context)
Chapter 6. Schizophrenia, as was Said
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...stopping to catch his breath, Ivan explains all about the strange professor—how he knew about Berlioz’s death before it happened, and that he had spoken personally with Pontius Pilate. Ivan, sensing... (full context)
Chapter 7. A Naughty Apartment
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Styopa Likhodeev, Berlioz’s flat mate and director of the Variety theater, wakes with a terrible hangover. The narrator... (full context)
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Styopa, suffering under the weight of his headache, tries to call out for Berlioz to bring him aspirin. He opens eyes, shocked to discover a strange man in his... (full context)
Chapter 8. The Combat Between the Professor and the Poet
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...Pontius Pilate in person. Ivan explains that the professor had mentioned “sunflower oil” well before Berlioz had slipped on that same substance and fallen under the tram.  (full context)
Chapter 9. Koroviev’s Stunts
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Shortly after news of Berlioz’s death gets around, Nikanor Ivanovich Bosoy, the chairman of the tenant’s association for the Sadovaya... (full context)
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Nikanor heads up to Berlioz and Styopa’s apartment, which is no. 50 and on the fifth floor. Using his own... (full context)
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...heads back to his apartment, briefly considering how it was that Koroviev gained access to Berlioz’s study when it had been sealed. Meanwhile, Woland tells Koroviev that he doesn’t want Nikanor,... (full context)
Chapter 11. Ivan Splits in Two
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...is frightened now, and how calmly he looks on what happened, even the most terrifying parts—Berlioz’s severed head, the demonic cat, and so on. Ivan feels one part of himself letting... (full context)
Chapter 13. The Hero Enters
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...together “prayerfully,” saying “Oh, how I guessed it! How I guessed it all!” Hearing of Berlioz’s grim death, the man says he wishes it had been the critic “Latunsky.” He tells... (full context)
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...get upset, the guest tells him that yesterday Ivan met “Satan.” He expresses surprise that Berlioz, being a learned man, didn’t realize. On the other hand, says the man, Woland is... (full context)
Chapter 18. Hapless Visitors
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Berlioz’s uncle, the industrial economist Maximilian Andreevich Poplavsky, heads from his home in Kiev to Moscow,... (full context)
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Poplavsky heads to the management office on Sadovaya Street that looks after Berlioz’s building. There, he asks an anxious-looking man if he can see the chairman. Getting nowhere,... (full context)
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...on a chair. Koroviev comes into the hall from the study. Learning that Poplavsky is Berlioz’s uncle, Koroviev pretends to be distraught at the theater director’s death, tears streaming down his... (full context)
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Poplavsky asks if Koroviev had sent the telegram, sure that it could not have been Berlioz posthumously. Koroviev points to the cat, saying “he did!” Behemoth admits sending the telegram, asking... (full context)
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Behemoth looks at the passport, insults Poplavsky and rescinds his invitation to Berlioz’s funeral. He summons Azazello, the red-headed man with the yellow fang, and asks him to... (full context)
Chapter 19. Margarita
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...suddenly answer by a man by her side, who informs her that the deceased is Berlioz, chairman of Massolit. This man (Azazello) is short, red-haired, and has a fang. Berlioz’s head... (full context)
Chapter 21. Flight
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 23. The Great Ball at Satan’s
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...and a clock seems to strike midnight. Azazello holds a decapitated head on a platter—it’s Berlioz’s head, seemingly still living. (full context)
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Woland addresses Berlioz’s head, talking about Berlioz’s theory that when a person dies they go into “non-being.” He... (full context)
Chapter 24. The Extraction of the Master
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...moments before. These revolve around Annushka, the woman who spilled the sunflower oil that caused Berlioz to slip under the tram. (full context)
Chapter 27. The End of Apartment no. 50
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...They interview Ivan, but he longer seems interested in helping to catch Woland or avenging Berlioz: his “eyes looked now somewhere into the distance.” Instead, he daydreams about Yershalaim. The departing... (full context)
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The investigators theorize that Berlioz was made to kill himself through hypnosis. When Styopa returns and tells his story, they... (full context)