Woland Quotes in The Master and Margarita
First of all, the man described did not limp on any leg, and was neither short nor enormous, but simply tall. As for his teeth, he had platinum crowns on the left side and gold on the right. He was wearing an expensive grey suit and imported shoes of a matching colour. His grey beret was cocked rakishly over one ear; under his arm he carried a stick with a black knob shaped like a poodle’s head. He looked to be a little over forty. Mouth somehow twisted. Clean-shaven. Dark-haired. Right eye black, left – for some reason – green. Dark eyebrows, but one higher than the other. In short, a foreigner.
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.’
And then the bedroom started spinning around Styopa, he hit his head
against the doorpost, and, losing consciousness, thought: ‘I’m dying...’
But he did not die. Opening his eyes slightly, he saw himself sitting on something made of stone. Around him something was making noise. When he opened his eyes properly, he realized that the noise was being made by the sea and, what’s more, that the waves were rocking just at his feet, that he was, in short, sitting at the very end of a jetty, that over him was a brilliant blue sky and behind him a white city on the mountains.
Not knowing how to behave in such a case, Styopa got up on his trembling legs and walked along the jetty towards the shore.
Some man was standing on the jetty, smoking and spitting into the sea. He looked at Styopa with wild eyes and stopped spitting.
Then Styopa pulled the following stunt: he knelt down before the unknown smoker and said:
‘I implore you, tell me what city is this?’
‘Really!’ said the heartless smoker.
‘I’m not drunk,’ Styopa replied hoarsely, ‘something’s happened to
me... I’m ill... Where am I? What city is this?’
‘Well, it’s Yalta...’
Styopa quietly gasped and sank down on his side, his head striking the
warm stone of the jetty. Consciousness left him.
‘And so, now comes the famous foreign artist. Monsieur Woland, with a séance of black magic. Well, both you and I know,’ here Bengalsky smiled a wise smile, ‘that there’s no such thing in the world, and that it’s all just superstition, and Maestro Woland is simply a perfect master of the technique of conjuring, as we shall see from the most interesting part, that is, the exposure of this technique, and since we’re all of us to a man both for technique and for its exposure, let’s bring on Mr Woland!’
In a few seconds, the rain of money, ever thickening, reached the seats, and the spectators began snatching at it.
Hundreds of arms were raised, the spectators held the bills up to the lighted stage and saw the most true and honest-to-God watermarks. The smell also left no doubts: it was the incomparably delightful smell of freshly printed money. The whole theatre was seized first with merriment and then with amazement. The word ‘money, money!’ hummed everywhere, there were gasps of ‘ah, ah!’ and merry laughter. One or two were already crawling in the aisles, feeling under the chairs. Many stood on the seats, trying to catch the flighty, capricious notes.
At a huge writing desk with a massive inkstand an empty suit sat and with a dry pen, not dipped in ink, traced on a piece of paper. The suit was wearing a necktie, a fountain pen stuck from its pocket, but above the collar there was neither neck nor head, just as there were no hands sticking out of the sleeves. The suit was immersed in work and completely ignored the turmoil that reigned around it. Hearing someone come in, the suit leaned back and from above the collar came the voice, quite familiar to the bookkeeper, of Prokhor Petrovich:
‘What is this? Isn’t it written on the door that I’m not receiving?’
The beautiful secretary shrieked and, wringing her hands, cried out: ‘You see? You see?! He’s not there! He’s not! Bring him back, bring
Here someone peeked in the door of the office, gasped, and flew out. The bookkeeper felt his legs trembling and sat on the edge of a chair,
but did not forget to pick up his briefcase. Anna Richardovna hopped around the bookkeeper, worrying his jacket, and exclaiming:
‘I always, always stopped him when he swore by the devil! So now the devil’s got him!’
‘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.
‘But tell me, why does Margarita call you a master?’ asked Woland. The man smiled and said:
‘That is an excusable weakness. She has too high an opinion of a novel
‘What is this novel about?’
‘It is a novel about Pontius Pilate.’ Here again the tongues of the candles swayed and leaped, the dishes on the table clattered, Woland burst into thunderous laughter, but neither frightened nor surprised anyone. Behemoth applauded for some reason.
‘About what? About what? About whom?’ said Woland, ceasing to laugh.
‘And that - now? It’s stupendous! Couldn’t you have found some other subject? Let me see it.’ Woland held out his hand, palm up.
‘Unfortunately, I cannot do that,’ replied the master, ‘because I burned it in the stove.’
‘Forgive me, but I don’t believe you,’ Woland replied, ‘that cannot be: manuscripts don’t burn.’ He turned to Behemoth and said, ‘Come on. Behemoth, let’s have the novel.’
The cat instantly jumped off the chair, and everyone saw that he had been sitting on a thick stack of manuscripts. With a bow, the cat gave the top copy to Woland. Margarita trembled and cried out, again shaken to the point of tears:
‘It’s here, the manuscript! It’s here!’ She dashed to Woland and added in admiration:
‘If you’ve come to see me, why didn’t you wish me a good evening, former tax collector?’ Woland said sternly.
‘Because I don’t wish you a good anything,’ the newcomer replied insolently.
‘But you’ll have to reconcile yourself to that,’ Woland objected, and a grin twisted his mouth. ‘You no sooner appear on the roof than you produce an absurdity, and I’ll tell you what it is — it’s your intonation. You uttered your words as if you don’t acknowledge shadows, or evil either. Kindly consider the question: what would your good do if evil did not exist, and what would the earth look like if shadows disappeared from it? Shadows are cast by objects and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. Trees and living beings also have shadows. Do you want to skin the whole earth, tearing all the trees and living things off it, because of your fantasy of enjoying bare light? You’re a fool.’
Here Woland turned to the master and said:
‘Well, now you can finish your novel with one phrase!’
The master seemed to have been expecting this, as he stood motionless and looked at the seated procurator. He cupped his hands to his mouth and cried out so that the echo leaped over the unpeopled and unforested mountains:
‘You’re free! You’re free! He is waiting for you!’
The mountains turned the master’s voice to thunder, and by this same thunder they were destroyed. The accursed rocky walls collapsed. Only the platform with the stone armchair remained. Over the black abyss into which the walls had gone, a boundless city lit up, dominated by gleaming idols above a garden grown luxuriously over many thousands of moons. The path of moonlight so long awaited by the procurator stretched right to this garden, and the first to rush down it was the sharp-eared dog. The man in the white cloak with blood-red lining rose from the armchair and shouted something in a hoarse, cracked voice. It was impossible to tell whether he was weeping or laughing, or what he shouted. It could only be seen that, following his faithful guardian, he, too, rushed headlong down the path of moonlight.