The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita

Yeshua Ha-Nozri Character Analysis

Yeshua’s name is the Aramaic for Jesus of Nazareth. Yeshua is a vital character but actually does not appear much in the novel. Yeshua is brought before Pontius Pilate, accused of wanting to incite rebellion and bring down the temple of Yershalaim (having been set up by Judas of Kiriath). Yeshua insists that this was not his plan and that he has been misrepresented. He displays a kind of radical compassion, believing that all people are “good.” This intrigues Pilate, but the procurator doesn’t have the courage to save Yeshua from execution (though he does try to persuade Joseph Kaifa, leader of the Jews, to pardon him). Yeshua crops up again “off-stage” towards the end of the book, when he sends Matthew Levi with a message for Woland: Yeshua has read the master’s novel and orders Woland to grant him peace. This demonstrates that in the spiritual order embedded in the book, Yeshua represents the highest authority.

Yeshua Ha-Nozri Quotes in The Master and Margarita

The The Master and Margarita quotes below are all either spoken by Yeshua Ha-Nozri or refer to Yeshua Ha-Nozri. 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:
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
). 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 2 Quotes

‘And now tell me, why is it that you use me words “good people” all

the time? Do you call everyone that, or what?’

‘Everyone,’ the prisoner replied. There are no evil people in the world.’

‘The first I hear of it,’ Pilate said, grinning. ‘But perhaps I know too little of life! ...

Related Characters: Pontius Pilate (speaker), Yeshua Ha-Nozri (speaker)
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 16 Quotes

Yeshua tore himself away from the sponge, and trying to make his voice sound gentle and persuasive, but not succeeding, he begged the executioner hoarsely:

‘Give him a drink.’

It was growing ever darker. The storm cloud had already poured across half the sky, aiming towards Yershalaim, boiling white clouds raced ahead of the storm cloud suffused with black moisture and fire. There was a flash and a thunderclap right over the hill. The executioner removed the sponge from the spear.

‘Praise the magnanimous hegemon!’ he whispered solemnly, and gently pricked Yeshua in the heart. He twitched and whispered:

‘Hegemon...’

Related Characters: Yeshua Ha-Nozri (speaker), Pontius Pilate
Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 26 Quotes

He walked in the company of Banga, and beside him walked the wandering philosopher. They were arguing about something very complex and important, and neither of them could refute the other. They did not agree with each other in anything, and that made their argument especially interesting and endless. It went without saying that today’s execution proved to be a sheer misunderstanding: here this philosopher, who had thought up such an incredibly absurd thing as that all men are good, was walking beside him, therefore he was alive. And, of course, it would be terrible even to think that one could execute such a man. There had been no execution! No execution! That was the loveliness of this journey up the stairway of the moon.

There was as much free time as they needed, and the storm would come only towards evening, and cowardice was undoubtedly one of the most terrible vices. Thus spoke Yeshua Ha-Nozri. No, philosopher, I disagree with you: it is the most terrible vice!

Related Characters: Pontius Pilate, Yeshua Ha-Nozri, Banga
Related Symbols: The Moon/Moonlight
Page Number: 319
Explanation and Analysis:
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Yeshua Ha-Nozri Character Timeline in The Master and Margarita

The timeline below shows where the character Yeshua Ha-Nozri appears in The Master and Margarita. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2. Pontius Pilate
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
Love and Hope Theme Icon
A male prisoner, Yeshua Ha-Nozri, is brought before the procurator. He has been preliminarily sentenced to death for inciting... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
Yeshua, dressed in a white cloth and looking like he has been recently beaten, tries to... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
Love and Hope Theme Icon
Pilate interrogates Yeshua. The latter claims to be “alone in the world” and to have no “permanent home.”... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
Art and Authenticity Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
Pilate asks Yeshua to state accurately what he did say about the temple. Yeshua replies: “I said, Hegemon,... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
To Pilate’s shock, Yeshua tells him that that he, Pilate, has an insufferable headache and would rather just be... (full context)
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
Pilate orders Yeshua’s hands to be unbound. He suspects Yeshua of being a “physician,” which the prisoner denies,... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
Love and Hope Theme Icon
Pilate suggests that Ratslayer is a counter-example to Yeshua’s theory, but Yeshua says that Ratslayer’s cruelty is down to his hard life; Yeshua believes... (full context)
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The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
Just then, a swallow lands nearby. Pilate asks his secretary if Yeshua is accused of anything else. Reading Yeshua’s other charge, Pilate becomes disorientated, thinking “raced, short,... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
Love and Hope Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
Gathering himself together, Pilate asks Yeshua if it is true that he has said anything bad about the emperor, Tiberius Caesar.... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
...on Tiberius’ ultimate authority, shouting that the “kingdom of truth” will never come. He tells Yeshua to pray to his God. Yeshua, surprisingly, asks “why not let me go?” Pilate’s eyes... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
With Yeshua gone, Pilate is visited by Joseph Kaifa, the high priest of the Jews. In honor... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
...crowd. He names the four criminals who are set for execution: Dysmas, Gestas, Bar-Rabban, and Yeshua Ha-Nozri. He announces to the crowd that, in honor of the feast of Passover, one... (full context)
Chapter 13. The Hero Enters
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Art and Authenticity Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
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...her from believing that he is mad. Despite Ivan’s requests to hear what happened to Yeshua and Pilate, the master decides it is time to leave Ivan’s room, and promptly disappears. (full context)
Chapter 16. The Execution
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
Art and Authenticity Theme Icon
...the mountain. Earlier he had tried to break through the ranks of soldiers and reach Yeshua but was quickly beaten back. He curses himself and cries, clutching a knife hidden under... (full context)
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
Levi pleads with God to put Yeshua out of his misery and “send him death.” He is angry with himself for leaving... (full context)
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
Four hours later, Yeshua is still not dead. Levi demands an “immediate miracle” from God and curses him: “You... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
...differing conditions. Gestas is deranged and singing “a senseless song”; Dysmas suffers most, still conscious; Yeshua is fortunate to be intermittently blacking out. He is covered in flies and horseflies. (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
...orders one of the executioners to raise a wet sponge on a spear up to Yeshua’s lips, but Yeshua tells the executioner to give it to Dysmas instead. Just then, the... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
Love and Hope Theme Icon
Soon after, only Mathew Levi is left on the hill. He makes his way to Yeshua’s post and cuts him down, before cutting the others down too. Levi gathers up the... (full context)
Chapter 25. How the Procurator Tried to Save Judas of Kiriath
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The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
...to come here.” He especially hates the “feasts,” which attract “magicians, sorcerers, wizards”; he cites Yeshua Ha-Nozri as the latest example of these “fanatics.” He expresses a wish to return to... (full context)
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The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
Pilate asks Aphranius about the execution. Aphranius explains that Yeshua had refused the offer of water; Pilate calls Yeshua a “madman.” Aphranius reports that Yeshua... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
Pilate requests that Aphranius bury Yeshua’s body, along with the other executed men, in a secret location so that there will... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
...explains that Judas is to receive money from the palace of Kaifa for turning in Yeshua. The procurator says he has received information that Judas will be killed that night. Aphranius... (full context)
Chapter 26. The Burial
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
...house. Meanwhile, Judas visits the high priest Kaifa to receive his money for turning in Yeshua Ha-Nozri. Niza finds Judas near a market place and entices him to follow her, pretending... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
...into a blissful dream. In this dream, he walks up towards the moon accompanied by Yeshua. Pilate feels that “there had been no execution,” and that it would be “terrible” to... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
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Pilate, sobbing in his sleep, promises to Yeshua that he will throw away his career just to save Yeshua’s life, “for the sake... (full context)
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The conversation moves on to the burial of the executed bodies. Aphranius explains that Yeshua’s body was no longer on the hill, cut down and stolen by Matthew Levi. Some... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
...Pilate contemptuously. Pilate has Ratslayer bring in the knife that Levi used to cut down Yeshua. Levi says that he needs it back in order to return it to the bakery... (full context)
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Pilate orders Levi to show him the parchment scrolls on which he has written about Yeshua. Pilate can’t make sense of what he reads, seeing “an incoherent chain of certain utterances,... (full context)
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
The Ambiguity of Good and Evil Theme Icon
The Danger and Absurdity of Soviet Society Theme Icon
...Levi says that Pilate wouldn’t be able to look him in the face having ordered Yeshua’s death. Pilate retorts that Yeshua had said that “he did not blame anyone” just before... (full context)
Chapter 29. The Fate of the Master and Margarita is Decided
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Matthew Levi informs Woland that Yeshua Ha-Nozri has read the master’s novel and asks that Woland reward the master with peace.... (full context)
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Matthew Levi adds that Yeshua’s request extends to Margarita too; Woland agrees to this as well. As Matthew Levi disappears,... (full context)
Chapter 32. Forgiveness and Eternal Refuge
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
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...when he does fall asleep, he dreams of going up a path of moonlight with Yeshua Ha-Nozri, but can never join the path. Pilate also hates his “immortality and his unheard-of... (full context)
Epilogue
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...but once he is given his medicine, he imagines Pilate walking towards the moon with Yeshua Ha-Nozri. (full context)
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In this dream, Pilate implores Yeshua to tell him that the execution never happened. Yeshua promises that it didn’t. Banga follows... (full context)